Welcome to What’s the Buzz, 25YL’s feature where members of our staff provide you with recommendations on a weekly basis. In our internet age, there is so much out there to think about watching, reading, listening to, etc., that it can be hard to separate the wheat from the chaff, filter out the noise, or find those diamonds in the rough. But have no fear! We’re here to help you do that thing I just described with three different metaphors. Each week a rotating cast of writers will offer their recommendations based on things they have discovered. They won’t always be new to the world, but they’ll be new to us, or we hope new to you. This week,Steve Wandling reports on the DC Fandome, Katie Bienvenue is excited about The Haunting of Bly Manor, and Simon McDermott has been watching the trailer for The Batman on repeat.
Steve: 2020 has seen the abrupt cancellation of the movie convention circuit. Before COVID-19, it was unthinkable that events like San Diego Comic-Con would either be nonexistent or have to go entirely virtual. These once niche fan-driven festivals have become the de facto event weekends for the announcement of exciting new genre material from the biggest movie, TV, comics, and gaming fandoms in the world. Now suddenly thrust into a troubled uncertain time in the grip of a global pandemic, the movie convention itself had to reinvent, and fast. Where most of these new virtual conventions failed, including Comic-Con itself, Warner Brothers’ DC Fandome scored in a big way by delivering nothing but 8 hours of exclusive sneak peaks, trailers, and panels of some truly exciting new DC projects coming your way.
One thing was made explicitly clear, it’s an amazing time to be a DC fan. The convention kept the panels star-heavy and short, instead emphasizing on showcasing as much new footage and as many big project reveals as they possibly could. It ended up being the stuff that fanboy dreams are made of. There wasn’t one single major project covered at DC Fandome that didn’t produce a level of excitement that in recent years has seemed reserved specifically for the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe).
Warner Brothers and DC Films seem to be building on the success of projects like last year’s Academy Award-winning box office smash Joker by staying true to their mission statement of being an auteur-driven genre studio that will serve as a much needed counterpoint to the factory-like output of Kevin Feige’s MCU hit machine. DC can’t beat Disney/Marvel at their own game, and there’s no reason for them to even try. The diverse output of upcoming blockbusters on display at DC Fandome shows that either inside or outside of any overarching continuity, it’s hard to imagine any of these films losing both critically or commercially.
Of course, a well run convention can only go so far. DC Fandome truly delivered the goods for upcoming content in an exciting way that built throughout the day, finally reaching its crescendo with the first trailer for Matt Reeves’ (War for the Planet of the Apes) much-anticipated The Batman. The trailer showed the first footage of new Bruce Wayne/Batman actor Robert Pattinson (The Lighthouse) in what promises to be a noir-driven detective story with the cinematic influence of Roman Polanski’s Chinatown (1974). James Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy, Slither) wowed viewers with a lengthy behind-the-scenes video of his upcoming R-rated The Suicide Squad, which is being billed as a gritty war film infused with Gunn’s trademark off-kilter sense of humor.
DCEU fans everywhere rejoiced at the trailer for the truly mythic Zack Snyder’s Justice League, debuting next year on HBO Max. Scoring the trailer to Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” was the perfect touch for all the supporters and true believers in a film that was once laughed off as a pipe dream that didn’t actually even exist. Patty Jenkins’ (Monster, Wonder Woman) Wonder Woman 1984 kicked the hype heavy DC Fandome off earlier that day with a new trailer showcasing Saturday Night Live alum Kristen Wiig’s much-anticipated turn as super villain Cheetah. There was also talk of several new HBO television prestige dramas set in the DC world that will have a lot to live up to after last year’s triumphant Emmy-nominated Watchmen and the debut of new video game Gotham Knights.
DC Fandome should be the blueprint moving forward for any and all virtual stay-at-home conventions. The event lasted the length of an average work day, but somehow managed to feel like an all killer no filler affair. Fans walked away happy at the end of the day because they were treated to a bevy of anticipation in a time when the world needs great escapism, and DC Fandome more than delivered.