MOVIE REVIEW: COMIC-CON EPISODE IV: A FAN’S HOPE

, by Zoë Gulliksen


As published on TheDailyBLAM.com: During 2010's San Diego Comic Con, famed documentarian Morgan Spurlock (Super Size Me, The Greatest Movie Ever Sold) teamed up with comics industry icon Stan Lee, director/producer Joss Whedon and Kevin Smith to create an honest behind-the-scenes look at the world's biggest pop culture event.
I am going to give an honest fan’s review of this documentary instead of a professional critique because I am too emotionally invested in the material to offer an unbiased opinion. That being said, I loved this film. When I heard about this project two years ago I fully believed in the message it wanted to bring. However, as the geek world has been continuously expanding, I grew steadily hesitant. More people are looking to explore and represent geek culture in mainstream media with TV shows such as Comic Book Men on AMC and Geek Love on TLC (neither very well received), I was afraid that once again my community would be put in a less than appealing light.
This film, however, is one of the first honest looks into what different kinds of people around many demographics comprise the vast geek culture. Within the first ten minutes I was able to connect with the main “characters” in the film and cared about their journeys because these people were very similar to some my own friends. They share the same goals and big dreams of making an impact in the industry that we have. Two men want to be comic book artists, a girl and her friends build the most elaborate costumes I’ve ever seen, and others are just trying to make it in the comic book retail business. I know people just like them, and so do countless geeks around the world. The producers chose ideal personalities to focus on in their film, and without them it would not have worked as well.
One of the best parts of this documentary is the collection of segments with geek celebrities such as Robert Kirkman (The Walking Dead), Kevin Smith (ClerksGreen Arrow) as well as Joss Whedon (Buffy, Serenity, The Avengers). Up until now we haven't been able to see these icons of this niche industry talk about their experiences at conventions and the many times they themselves have geeked out over celebrities they’ve met. By showing audiences this side of these big name talents, they are suddenly human again. Fans will stalk Whedon, wait in line for days, just for the chance to shake his hand. And yet here we are able to see him act the same way over someone he is fan of. It's a true rarity and and will be considered by many the most priceless moments of the film.
My only less than stellar comment is on the production value. It was obviously filmed on a tight budget, giving it a reality TV feel rather than the film quality I felt it deserved. Thankfully, the music was powerful and at times overwhelming, setting the mood for the entire viewing experience with perfection. One of my favorite parts was seeing the celebrity talent acknowledging the fact that Comic Con is no longer centered around comics, but now has a heavy emphasis on the movie industry. I’m glad they did not brush this aspect aside and were open about the negative sides of the world famous convention as well.
I will admit that I cried through many, many parts of this documentary. San Diego Comic-con is a powerful event that happens only once a year has the ability to bring together people who otherwise may feel ostracized in their day-to-day lives. This movie is a proper homage to Comic-con that only true geeks could have made. I would be proud to show this film to my parents, family, and friends that aren’t able to understand this side of my life. I believe in the message and the people that made up this film, and it makes me proud to consider myself a part of their culture.

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