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Morgan Spurlock's 'Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan's Hope' Is An Homage to Fandom

Morgan Spurlock (and a Harry Knowles puppet) at 'Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan's Hope' Premiere (photo by Larry Blizzard).
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LAist attended the premiere of Morgan Spurlock's new documentary, Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan's Hope. The film explores San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC) through the eyes of Holly, Chuck, James, Skip, and Eric — fans that traveled from all over the country to seek their various fortunes at the massive annual pop-culture event. Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan's Hope juxtaposes hilarious commentary by celebrities including Kevin Smith, Joss Whedon, Stan Lee, and Seth Green against depictions of everyday, but not-so-ordinary struggles of the documentary's subjects as they look for love, money, fame and collector's edition toys at Comic-Con.

Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan's Hope is clearly an homage to the passionate fandom that make Comic-Con so very vivid and alive. Spurlock's documentary gives viewers a noncondescending, simple, and respectful glimpse into the curiously indulgent comic-con sub-culture of cosplay, collectibles, celebrity panels, character idolatry, art, and geeked-out camaraderie.

Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan's Hope is indeed entertaining, cute and funny, but it also dramatically draws its audience deeply into the personal narratives of its likable subjects. It is hard not to genuinely care about what happens to Eric, Holly, Chuck, Skip, and James as they navigate Comic-Con — the premiere audience openly cheered for their successes and shared in their disappointments. While Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan's Hope is about the Comic-Con crowd, the film's underlying themes of hope, community, acceptance, and the human capacity to be extraordinary make the film boundlessly inclusive and universally engaging.

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Stan Lee (with Biggs Darklighter and Darth Vader in background) at 'Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan's Hope' (photo by Larry Blizzard).
The premiere was attended by celebrities, the film's cast and crew, ecstatic Comic-Con aficionados, and of course, a hoard of Storm Troopers. Spurlock spoke graciously and appreciatively about those who made an appearance in Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan's Hope. A major highlight of the evening was listening to Lee, a wise and age-ripened god of geeks, speak about the film. His speech was short, impromptu and light but an undeniable felicity and warmth seemed to pour into the room with his words to touch all those in attendance.Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan's Hope opened in theaters on April 4. Show times, on-demand, and additional film information is available online.