Warner Brothers had a good morning in Hall H on Saturday, but then it was Marvel’s turn, and Marvel came ready to play. And play they did, basically conducting their panel like a rock concert, and even though they only released one trailer to the wider public, just the descriptions of the videos for Thor: Ragnarok, Spider-Man: Homecoming, and Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2 were enough to set off a frenzy. (Warners should start thinking seriously about changing up their schedule—they could have owned Friday, for instance.) Everything went over like gangbusters, but the Guardians got a huge, Avengers-sized welcome from the crowd, so you know Guardians 2 will be big next year.
It’ll be a while before we see the trailer for that movie—probably not till Doctor Strange comes out in November—and we may never see the footage used for Spider-Man: Homecoming, which showed off its John Hughes vibe. And the five-minute mockumentary Taika Waititi made of what Thor was up to during Civil War probably won’t be released until it’s on the special features of Ragnarok’s DVD. That video brought the house down—the nerd crowd isn’t really familiar with Waititi, so for many people in Hall H, that was their introduction. And it worked, because suddenly everyone is really into Thor: Ragnarok. (Doesn’t hurt that a prop display confirmed that elements of the popular Planet Hulk comic will be used in Ragnarok.) Just remember that I was there first.
So the only thing we have to look at from Marvel is a new trailer for Doctor Strange, which was the softest-received bit of their presentation. Some of that is that we’ve already gotten a look at Strange, and the other stuff was brand new, but some of it is that, like Ant-Man, Strange is not a movie driven by popular interest. The characters have their fans, but they are by no means the most popular Avengers. (Black Panther, for instance, is currently one of the top selling comics.)
But Ant-Man did okay last year, and thanks to a fan-favorite performance in Civil War, the sequel will do even better. And the Guardians, almost totally unknown before their movie, were break-out stars in 2014. So it’s not like I expect Doctor Strange to bomb. I don’t. But even with Tilda Swinton and some truly trippy visuals that don’t look like your average superhero movie, Doctor Strange isn’t eliciting a strong response. All I can think when watching this trailer is: Did we really HAVE to wait till 2018 for Black Panther?
Attached - Benedict Cumberbatch and the Doctor Strange cast at Comic-Con, as well as Zoe Saldana and Chris Pratt who were there for the Guardians of the Galaxy panel.