Superheroes go rogue at Comic-Con

Stars from the original Star Wars (from right) Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford at the Lucasfilm panel during Comic-Con International.
Stars from the original Star Wars (from right) Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford at the Lucasfilm panel during Comic-Con International.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

SAN DIEGO • Superheroes are going rogue with Warner Bros' DC universe, as the studio made a splash with its brooding caped crusaders and ragtag team of anti-heroes at last Saturday's Comic-Con.

Director Zack Snyder and actors Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill and Gal Gadot offered fans at San Diego's annual pop culture and film convention an exclusive look at the upcoming Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice, out in March.

Fans saw a new trailer that served up destruction and grit, and cheered when the final scene showed Superman ripping off the doors of the Batmobile, and Batman rising to face him.

Superman (Cavill) is questioned about his power and intentions, while Bruce Wayne, Batman's alter ego (Affleck), is held responsible for a tragedy and channels his rage into becoming Batman. The trailer also features Godot as Wonder Woman, Amy Adams as Lois Lane and Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor.

For the first time, Metropolis from the Superman world and Gotham from the Batman comics will be neighbouring cities, separated by a bay, Snyder said.

Affleck described Metropolis as big and successful, while Gotham is downtrodden. "The whole idea of wealth and power and how power engenders fear... made it feel real and smart to me," said Affleck, making his first public appearance since announcing his split from Jennifer Garner.

Before the Batman panel, director David Ayer introduced the cast of Suicide Squad, another movie based on DC Comics that is due out next summer.

Fans also got a first look at the film highlighting a band of anti- heroes, such as Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn, Will Smith's Deadshot and Jared Leto's Joker.

Meanwhile, Fox presented its celebrity superheroes with appearances by Hugh Jackman, Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy and Oscar Isaac for next year's X-Men: Apocalypse and Ryan Reynolds for the R-rated Deadpool, which earned a standing ovation.

Fans were treated to the first proper look at the foul-mouthed anti-hero Deadpool (Reynolds) in a trailer filled with edgy humour that traces his transition from an ailing young man into a disfigured but invincible, rage-filled, vigilante.

Last Friday, Disney and Lucasfilm treated Star Wars fans to a free concert, the latest step in a marketing campaign designed to entice the masses without alienating devotees of the science-fiction franchise.

The San Diego Symphony played a mix of Star Wars tunes after the companies screened behind-the- scenes footage from the making of Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens, sharing the stage with cast members including stars from the original films - Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford.

But they largely used the presentation to hammer home the message that J.J. Abrams filmed The Force Awakens with real sets and creatures. Left unsaid was the real memorandum: The new Star Wars will veer away from the maligned computer-generated imagery that captivated Lucas late in his career.

REUTERS, BLOOMBERG, NEW YORK TIMES

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 13, 2015, with the headline 'Superheroes go rogue at Comic-Con'. Print Edition | Subscribe