When I heard Morgan Spurlock had made a documentary called Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan's Hope, I figured I knew what to expect: the director, with his Gen-X wisenheimer prankishness, showing up at Comic-Con to talk to droolers in white stormtrooper armor with a camera-ready wink of ''Can you believe this?'' The first surprise of Comic-Con Episode IV is that it's the first Spurlock film Spurlock isn't in. The second surprise is that it's the most entertaining geek lovefest since 1997's Trekkies.
Spurlock knows that on an earth the geeks have already inherited, it would be foolish to chortle at those who value droids, hobbits, Vulcans, zombies, and avatars more than their own lives. So he does something hipper and more honest: He takes Comic-Con seriously. He talks to Kevin Smith, Harry Knowles, and other famous grown-up geeks, but mostly he follows a handful of people whose dream it is to pass through the fan/professional looking glass and carve out a place for themselves in the industry of fantasy. It's not exactly news that those who devote their entire existence to Star Wars or Neil Gaiman are creating an alternate religion. But the film reveals that whatever the movie, comic book, or videogame, the real religion isn't the worship of Luke Skywalker or Master Chief. It's the idea that you can be somebody else. That you are somebody else. And reality? That can go chase itself down a rabbit hole.