Marvel hands out magic at Comic-Con

Marvel unveils a string of movies and their stars including Black Panther, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Spider-Man Homecoming and Doctor Strange.
Benedict Cumberbatch at the Marvel Studios presentation.
Benedict Cumberbatch at the Marvel Studios presentation.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

SAN DIEGO • Marvel gave fans a glimpse of its ever-expanding Cinematic Universe at San Diego Comic-Con last Saturday, in a robust response to rival Warner's own star-studded presentation earlier in the day.

Benedict Cumberbatch entered amid a cloud of fog to show a scene from Scott Derrickson's Doctor Strange, out on Nov 4, in which neurosurgeon Stephen Strange, who lost the use of his hands in an accident, meets the Ancient One to harness the mysterious world of magic and alternate dimensions.

Derrickson said the film was a "left turn in the Marvel universe", focusing on magic rather than technology. "It's very, very different and the scale is something else," Cumberbatch said.

The casting of Tilda Swinton as a Celtic Ancient One caused an uproar among some fans, as the character is of Asian - or rather, Tibetan, male - origin in the comics.

"Any of us can be the Ancient One, that's what's amazing about what's in the comics, who knows who will be the Ancient One. It's a title and all the things the Ancient One knows and passes on, anyone can do," Swinton said.

Brie Larson got a standing ovation as she was confirmed to play the title role in 2019's Captain Marvel, which tells the story of Carol Danvers, an air force pilot whose DNA is fused with that of an alien, giving her super strength and the ability to fly. Early footage was shown of teen comedy Spider-Man: Homecoming, starring Tom Holland and following 15-year-old Peter Parker hiding his superhero alter-ego as he struggles with homework, girls and puberty.

The cast of Guardians Of The Galaxy 2, out on May 5 next year, entered amid cheers, as new footage revealed the inclusion of Sylvester Stallone in the film and Kurt Russell as Star Lord's (Chris Pine) father Ego.

Earlier, stars including Wonder Woman lead Gal Gadot and Ben Affleck, who reprises his turn as Batman in Justice League, were at the Warner Brothers' session.

Zack Snyder took to the stage to treat fans to an unexpected first trailer for Justice League, out on Nov 17 next year.

The film reunites all three "meta- humans" in Snyder's Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice - Wonder Woman (Gadot), Batman (Affleck) and Superman (Henry Cavill). The Flash (Ezra Miller), Cyborg (Ray Fisher) and Aquaman (Jason Momoa) make up the remaining members of the crime-fighting team.

The joke-laden trailer is a marked contrast to Batman V Superman, which was heavily criticised for its dark tone and for taking itself too seriously.

At one point in the preview, Batman turns to Aquaman, smiling mischievously and asks: "I hear you can talk to fish?"

A first look at next spring's Kong: Skull Island, set in the 1970s, drew the loudest gasps.

The trailer hinted at a distinctly military flavour to Jordan Vogt-Roberts' take on Kong, offering a split-second first look at the giant ape after two minutes of helicopters and explosions.

Finally, Eddie Redmayne hit the stage with Colin Farrell to show off a new trailer for Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them, which comes out on Nov 18.

For a few minutes, there was magic in the hall as he handed out wands to the audience, leading them in shouting the incantation for the light-up spell, "Lumos Maxima".


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 25, 2016, with the headline 'Marvel hands out magic at Comic-Con'. Print Edition | Subscribe