Comic-Con 2017: What Popped and What Flopped – Variety

Comic-Con 2017 has come and gone, with well over 100,000 attendees flooding into San Diego for the annual event. Amid a sea of costumes, comics and merchandise, the TV and film industry trotted out its biggest stars and action-packed previews for upcoming projects with the hope of winning over a passionate fan base. Some blew the crowds away; others tried valiantly, but ultimately failed to impress.

Best: Steven Spielberg

Geekdom’s elder statesman scored with “Ready Player One,” his dive into virtual reality. It’s been more than a decade since he worked in the sci-fi space — he’s been more interested in Oscar-bait dramas like “Lincoln” or “Bridge of Spies.” Based on the trailer, “Ready Player One” offers a cornucopia of pop culture delights referencing everything from “Back to the Future” to “The Iron Giant.”

Worst: Ben Affleck

Batman hit back at a report he’s ready to hang up the cape and cowl, declaring himself to be “the luckiest guy in the world.” He didn’t look it: Affleck spent the rest of the panel looking alternately grumpy and sleepy. Then he did an interview that only added fuel to the fire when he declared he’d do the part as long as “they’ll have me.” Someone needs a lesson in damage control.

Best: ‘Thor: Ragnarok’

A talking Hulk? Cate Blanchett in an over-the-top headdress? Jeff Goldblum acting goofy while wearing blue eyeliner? Director Taika Waititi (with Chris Hemsworth) seems to understand what past Marvel movies have taught us a superhero movie can be: genuinely funny, heartfelt, quirky and awe-inspiring. The next installment in the MCU got a warm welcome from Hall H (read: lots of screaming).

Worst: “Bright”

There’s at least one giant explosion, reams of ammo squandered and Joel Edgerton playing an orc. It’s too early to fully judge, but David Ayer seems to have taken all the negative reviews he received from “Suicide Squad” and doubled down. The Netflix original may not be a “bulls*** PG-13 studio movie” (Ayer’s words), but what it is remains hazy.

Best: “Star Trek: Discovery”

Fans received a kick-ass trailer and a wealth of tantalizing plot details on the CBS All Access drama. And star Sonequa Martin-Green’s charm was in full force as she spoke about the show’s diversity and “Star Trek’s” legacy. Her message to skeptical fans: “I encourage you to join us — come on the journey with us.”

Worst: “Westworld”

The Hall H debut of the HBO drama (starring Evan Rachel Wood) was marred by poor attempts at humor. In addition to moderator Reggie Watts, whose unique brand of comedy was a poor choice for the 7,000-seat venue, the cast and creators tried and failed repeatedly to crack up the audience.

Best: “The Defenders”

Almost half an hour into the panel for Netflix’s multi-character crossover superhero series, Marvel head of television Jeph Loeb hit the brakes and announced that the show’s premiere episode would screen then and there for the Hall H crowd, which went bananas. The biggest cheers came for Sigourney Weaver’s first appearance as mystery villain Alexandra.

Worst: Steven Moffat

The outgoing “Doctor Who” showrunner vented his spleen over the backlash against Jodie Whittaker’s casting as the 13th Doctor. But the object of his ire was not the horde of online trolls who used misogynist language to complain that a woman would take on the role — it was the press that reported on said trolling. Moffat concluded his tirade by telling reporters to “shut the hell up.”

Reported by Daniel Holloway, Seth Kelley, Brent Lang and Joe Otterson

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