Mary Poppins Returns
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All Critics (53)
| Top Critics (19)
| Fresh (44)
| Rotten (9)
You don't need to collect or even care about comic books to enjoy this funny, affection valentine to nerd culture.
A surprisingly tender look at San Diego Comic-Con...
It's a lot to squeeze into 86 minutes, and Spurlock pulls it all together with infectious brio, making us realize that geeks are people, too, who maybe just dream harder than the rest of us.
What Comic-Con requires is neither fan nor foe but an anthropologist.
"Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan's Hope" holds enormous appeal for both the geek audience and the casual viewer.
There isn't a surprising moment, and it's an affirmation for hard-core fans and pretty much everyone else of William Shatner's immortal exhortation to Trekkies: "Get a life!"
When you see Marvel happily rubbing shoulders with DC or Star Wars fans chatting to Star Trek fans it makes you proud to be a geek.
Best suited to those curious about the convention and/or culture - or those who already embrace it and just want to relive the experience before the next 'Con comes.
That rare documentary that plays to the converted and uninitiated alike.
We're left looking at a mass cult-gathering of fans paying tribute to commercial idols. Individual stories are under-built after being initially overhyped. We're put in the bleachers to watch a field of American pop-cult dreams, and told to cheer.
...not only captures the passion and energy of the event, it demonstrates how easily subcultures can be exploited by corporate interests.
It's about people who share a passion and devotion to something that surpasses skin color, religion, and gender.
Comic-Con is like the Holy Grail for all of us geeks. I've never been, but I really would LOVE to go one year, but until then I have this. "Comic-Con:Episode IV-A fan's Hope" is a documentary following a few people on their comic con experience, and also a look at the convention itself. Many directors/actors/generally famous people talk about their experiences with "the con". Robert Kirkman has a great line saying he "once tried to follow George Romero into the bathroom"(Kirkman created Walking Dead, Romero is the godfather of zombies for all you non-geeks). Morgan Spurlock directs, and continues his streak as the best documentary filmmaker out there right now. This ranks right up there with "Super Size Me", "30 Days", and "greatest movie ever sold". He has a knack for bring you on a good emotional roller coaster. You'll feel bad for the comic book resellers who find it harder and harder to sell comic books at a comic book convention. You'll laugh, and heck you may even cry at one of the sweetest proposals ever. If your a geek, then this is an absolute must see! If your not a geek, then just stick to being lame.
Not a big fan of Mr. Spurlock, but this was his most digestible film. (Get it? Because his first movie was Super Size Me.) The reason for this was because Spurlock does not make a single appearance in it. That's right. He actually attempts to tell a story here and not just chronicle another zany adventure in his otherwise uninteresting life.
All I desired from this movie was to be a fly on the wall for one of America's most loved conventions. Happily, that is what I got. He even follows the plight of a few aspiring artists as they prepare for the annual event.
Unfortunately, the personal stories are overshadowed by a smorgasbord of B-list celebrities gushing over this sacred gathering. While I admit it is fun to see how many celebrities Spurlock cajoled into appearing in the film, it robs the film of cohesion. It is a step in the right direction for Spurlock, but one that still needs a little fine tuning.
This is not Morgan Spurlock trying to dispel the geekdom surrounding Comic-Con, as much as it is his love letter to the fanboys (worldwide) who enjoy dressing up as Vulcan's or Storm Trooper's.
Spurlock, most notably known for his lampooning of McDonald's in "Super Size Me", now explores the cultural phenomenon that sees around 140,000 gather for a comic book convention annually in his new film "Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan's Hope". Shockingly making not one cameo in his own film, Spurlock conducts interviews with the likes of Kevin Smith, Joss Whedon, Frank Miller, Matt Groening, Seth Rogen, Eli Roth, Seth Green and God himself, Stan Lee, as they share memories of this San Diego convention from its grass roots beginnings (where only 500 attended) to the world renown, commercial juggernaut it is today (most of the interviewees I just mentioned are also behind the production of this film in some way or another). But the real entertainment value comes when Spurlock explores the individuals that make up the essence of Comic-Con. From Holly, a costume designer who dreams of performing in the infamous Comic-Con Masquerade (where fans put on skits dressed as characters in many cases in order to get themselves jobs) to Eric and Skip, two very skilled artists attempting to break into the industry via portfolio review, to Chuck, an ageing vintage comic book dealer, attempting to get that one last big score, to James, an ultimate fanboy, who plans on proposing to his girlfriend at Comic-Con. But maybe the most interesting aspect within the film is when Spurlock focuses on how commercialized Comic-Con has become; for better or for much worse. The issue of the dwindling number of fans actually going there with the purpose of buying comics is brought up again and again. In saying all of that, I was a fan of a small aspect of Comic-Con before seeing this film; which leads me to my next point. The general downfall with "Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan's Hope" is that it doesn't really work on a purely documentarian entertainment level, if you aren't already into some aspect of Comic-Con.
Side Note: Just in case you were wondering, the "small aspect" of Comic-Con that I related to the most was a segment about a Toy Collector (don't call them "Dolls") who will stop at nothing until he gets the rare Action Figure he will never open.
To most, Comic-Con is known for its fantastical costume play, where people dress up as their favorite characters from TV shows, movies (usually Superhero, Sci-Fi or Anime) or video games. And Spurlock does do a somewhat decent job of getting to the bottom of why these people feel such a connection with this particular convention, but again if you don't care going in, then "Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan's Hope" will not make you care. In fact, if you don't really have an interest in Comic-Con before watching, some of the overall brashness of everyone's "if you don't like it then screw you" attitudes in this documentary may all together turn some off.
Final Thought: Almost purely informational, even though Spurlock follows around a few interesting people, there is little in the way of conflict as far as an actual plot goes in "Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan's Hope". In fact, I would go so far as to say that much of this film seems hastily put together, due to its extensive use of interviews which don't work to push the story forward. So, on a purely technical level, this is an average documentary at best; and even a bit disappointing by Spurlock's standards (even though in some critic's minds, he has shown himself as a one hit wonder). But, if you enjoy Superhero merchandise, graphic novels, comic books, or think you would get a kick out of watching Joss Whedon and Kevin Smith geeking all over themselves, then you will find something to like here. On the other hand, if you read the title of this film and were immediately confused about the reference, skip this movie.
Written by Markus Robinson, Edited by Nicole I. Ashland
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Ok...Now I really wanna go to Comic-Con!
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