Welcome to the day when the spotlight is all about the cosplay, Saturday of Comic-Con Special Edition 2021!
Normally, Saturday is the day for giant group cosplay photoshoots usually arranged by a conglomerate (DC, Marvel, Disney, etc), the performance walk of as many characters as possible for video and picture purposes on the exhibit hall floor of Comic-Con, and it all accumulates in the hotly-anticipated annual Comic-Con Masquerade of cosplay Saturday night. For the Special Edition, I didn’t see any giant photoshoots with hordes of cosplayers, but there were so many incredible cosplayers walking the convention center that I got to take pictures of, and there was indeed a pared-down version of the Masquerade too. Those who performed at and attended the Masquerade were treated to one of the few surprise celebrity appearances at SDCC 2021, when John Cena showed up to demo a clip for his upcoming new series based off his Suicide Squad character, Peacemaker.
The Exhibit Hall where one can buy darn near everything geek and nerd under the sun also boasted a whole bunch of interesting backdrops to take pictures of your cosplay with, like a whole tree setup with NPC actors from Manta Comics’ Under the Oak Tree and feudal Japan-era bathhouses from the anime Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba. Completely lacking was the usual gigantic setups from DC and Marvel for whatever new movie or series they’re peddling this time and their accompanying endless Mobius-strip-like lines, but other booths brought their smaller but still quite passable A game setups for the con goers. The Pac-Man museum booth had original stand-up style Pac-Man games to play, Upper Deck had a dangling life-size Spider-Man and a lit-up life-size original Iron Man, and Gundam Base Pop-Up gave us no less than 3 different life-size (ish) Gundam robots to pose with.
Plenty of panels were available for the average con-goer to get into, including – a spotlight on Kevin Eastman, creator of arguably the most popular Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic ever, The Last Ronin; the journey of Mike Uslan’s memoir The Boy Who Loved Batman being made into a Broadway musical; the legacy of Gene Roddenberry and the San Diego Comic-Con Museum; the all-immersive portrayal of indigenous cultures in the upcoming video game from Guillermo Alarcon and Meta Studios, Mictlan: An Ancient Mythical Tale; a panel for the Russian comic book made into the Netflix sleeper hit Major Grom Plague Doctor, and so much more. But the panel with the biggest line should come as no surprise, as one of the few major Marvel associated panels SDCC Special Edition boasted this year – the highly anticipated Shang-Chi: Cultural Impact and Celebration of Fight Choreography. The line was so long that, despite my leaving an hour early and boasting a press pass, I was unwilling to wait for the rather unlikely chance to get in. I did get some great pictures of the cosplayers waiting in line though.
Everywhere the costumes shined, the fans inside them giddy with creativity and fellowship, some in mismatching couples cosplay, some in fan-atical entire groups with practiced dance moves for the Masquerade, as iconic characters gleefully faced off against each other while mugging for the camera. And while the spike heels with 3 inches of the platform may be an integral part of your “I’m too short” Witcher costume, consider doing what I did and carrying a backup pair of shoes, just in case!
No Question Mark Box Here; Super Mario Delivers a 1-Up in Theaters
If you were born in the ’80s, ’90s, or literally ANY decade after those, you know about Super Mario. A cultural phenomenon was brought to life on the big screen this last weekend. One that has not only stood the test of time but reinvented itself time and time again. This wasn’t even the first time it’s been made into a movie but, well, let’s be honest.. some of us choose not to acknowledge the LIVE action adaptation of the beloved game from 30 years ago.
It was pretty bad… But this was animation. ILLUMINATION animation at that. The Universal company that brought us Gru and his Minions, showed us the Secret Life of Pets, and gave us a reason to SING! Still, I had my reservations and even some concerns, especially when the casting was announced.
Eyebrows were raised. As big of stars as they were on paper, could they really deliver on voicing characters from a staple of our childhood? They did.
Chris Pratt and Charlie Day may not be Italian, and Jack Black may not be a King or Turtle creature from the Mushroom Kingdom, but they make the characters their own all while paying homage to the lore of a video game.
From the jump, the story reintroduces us to the brothers that just want to save Brooklyn one clogged sink at a time. We feel an instant connection and relate to these “underdogs of the plumbing world”. The movie is riddled with easter eggs, each of which tugs on the heartstrings of every generation of Mario fandom. And the soundtrack was beautifully put together to not only make us feel like we’re taking a walkthrough of the game but like an experience all its own with some familiar favorites thrown in.
Every word in the movie is pure eye candy for both those that are casual fans, and those analyzing every frame to see what they’ll catch next. Bowser’s ship, the Mushroom Kingdom, Kong’s arena, and the Rainbow Road.. They’re all meant to give us just enough of a “new” look at these amazing worlds, but stay true to how we remember them.
The movie itself moves along at the perfect pace. Although, if you don’t really know ANYTHING about the Super Mario Bros, you may have gotten a little lost and felt left behind in the green tunnel. But that’s ok! It’s an adventure of the imagination and a classic story of a boy that meets a girl and tries to save the world from a monster that wants to destroy it.
What’s funny is that you could easily say this is a story about two characters who couldn’t be more opposite if they tried, battling to win the heart of a princess. Who would’ve thought that the King of the Koopas was just trying to impress his crush?
And that song? Ohhh THAT song! It’s my new ringtone and deserves the Oscar for Best Original Song.
Back to the movie.
Universal and Illumination clearly understood the assignment. Is it missing some things or could things have been done differently or even better? Absolutely! We’re the worst critics of the things we hold nearest and dearest to our hearts. But if you’re up for going on a 90-minute adventure through amazing worlds, with awesome music, and characters that’ll make you smile and laugh, then this is the perfect movie to spring you into that warm summer feeling.
Plus there’s the whole part with karts and shells, and banana peels and oh my goodness how amazing was that?? It’s enough to make you want to stand up and cheer, then go home and destroy your friends and family on your favorite track haha.
The bottom line, it pays homage in all the right ways to the little guy with the mustache, while giving us something new and exciting. Take the kids and go see Super Mario Bros. You’ll be glad you did!
Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment returns to WonderCon 2023
Justice League x RWBY: Superheroes & Hunters Opening Act Saturday, March 25 at 1:30 p.m. on North 200A. Talent confirmed so far to participate in the post-screening panel is Natalie Alyn Lind (Big Sky, The Goldbergs, Gotham) as Wonder Woman/Diana Prince and longtime RWBY cast member Lindsay Jones (Camp Camp) as Ruby, Kara Eberle ( RWBY: Ice Queendom) as Weiss, Arryn Zech (Detective Now Dead) as Blake and Barbara Dunkelman (Blood Fest) as Yang – along with Jeannie Tirado (Soul, Saints Row) as Green Lantern and Tru Valentino (The Rookie, The Cuphead Show!) as a cyborg. Also attending the panel will be producer/director Kerry Shawcross (series RWBY) and writer Meghan Fitzmartin (Supernatural, Justice Society: World War II).
Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment returns to WonderCon 2023 with the big screen debut from DC Animated Films: highlights this year include the world premieres of the highly anticipated Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham and Justice League x RWBY: Superheroes & Hunters Part One the weekend of March 24-26 in Anaheim, California. Both screenings will be followed by panel discussions with actors and creators. Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham premieres at The Arena on Friday, March 24 at 6 p.m. Tati Gabrielle (Kaleidoscope, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Uncharted) as Kai Li Cain, Christopher Gorham (The Lincoln Lawyer, Insatiable) as Oliver Queen, David Dastmalchian (Dune, Suicide Squad, Ant-Man) as Grendon, producer/co-director Sam Liu (The Death and the Return of Superman), co-director Christopher Berkeley (Young Justice) and screenwriter Jase Ricci (Teen Titans Go! and DC Super Hero Girls: Mayhem Across the Multiverse).
Both films will have encore screenings in the Arena on Sunday, March 26. Justice League x RWBY: Super Heroes & Huntsmen, Part One will screen at 12:15pm, followed by Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham at 2:00pm