More than a cheeky reference to the original geek-fandom grail, the title addendum "A Fan's Hope" speaks to the heart of the circulatory system through which Morgan Spurlock follows the urgent hopes and dreams of his subjects.
Following three members of the hardcore (and highly milkable) contingent of fans who aspire to become creators — a large independent comic dealer and a couple of geek lovebirds — the perspective on the event is rounded out by mini-monologues from celebrity geeks, less recognizable (but often no less famous) creators and footage of random attendee experiences.
The narrative spine is built upon the conference's increasing mutation away from its humble origins as a place to bring aspiring talent into contact with the industry insiders who make the magic happen into a giant marketing event for movies, television and videogames, with a massive, passionate and outspoken focus group paying to be there.
It's mostly comic creators bemoaning the diluted focus, but the point is treated to a case study during the documentary's time with comic dealer Chuck, as he weighs his passion against inconsistent sales. In no direct financial peril, but no less emotionally invested, the two aspiring illustrators and a Mass Effect-obsessed costume designer seek permanent membership in the inner circle of the geek kingdom. As well, a Kevin Smith super-fan intending to propose to his girlfriend just hopes he can shake his lady long enough to pick up a The Lord of the Rings themed ring to spring on her.
Peppered between these personal experiences are often clever and funny anecdotes and insights from the likes of Joss Whedon, Kevin Smith, Frank Miller, Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman and the perpetually joyful godfather of them all, Stan Lee. Tactfully not lingering on cosplay girls in camel toe and nip-slip-enabling outfits, Spurlock does marginalize the exploitive sexualization present at the event, missing the opportunity to cram himself into a Princess Leia slave bikini, though to be fair, there are more than enough chubby white dudes willing to pick up that brain tainting slack.
Affectionate, sometimes embarrassing, often heartening and frequently engaging, A Fan's Hope takes a balanced look at the comfort, value and monetization of human connection through shared obsession. (Mutant Enemy/Warrior Poets)