Later Friday, Michel Gondry, the French director of "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," will visit the Hall H stage at Comic-Con International to promote "The Green Hornet," a masked-man action- comedy starring Seth Rogen.

It turns out that -- like Christopher Nolan and Kenneth Branagh -- Gondry may have some art-house resume lines, but his still-valued, formative influences were a more populist flavor of popcorn.

"My love of movies is in making movies in America with a [studio] system. My archetype of a great movie is 'RoboCop' and 'Back to the Future.' Those are maybe my two favorites. 'RoboCop' definitely is a comic book and 'Back to the Future' is not but the approach is quite close to this universe in 'Green Hornet.' It's not that far off. There is a spirit that I can understand."

I asked Gondry if the deeper complexity and growing ambition of superhero scripts explained the allure for people such as "Much Ado About Nothing" director Branagh, who just finished filming "'Thor," and New Zealand native Martin Campbell, whose two James Bond films required a very different skill set than the interstellar superhero fare of "Green Lantern."

"This not that new. Tim Burton made 'Batman' and Richard Donner was a pretty awesome filmmaker and he made the first movie, really, with ' Superman,' that started all of it. Now, yes, the films are getting more serious, which I'm not sure I completely agree with. This film ['Green Hornet'] has both action and comedy."