Thunder cracked as we drove on to the Raleigh Studios lot, the home of
Marvel Studios and where Iron Man 2 is entering its back half on about
five stages. Thunder’s a truly rare thing in Los Angeles, and Marvel
Studios honcho Kevin Feige joked that it must be because Kenneth
Branagh was a couple of buildings down doing tests for Thor.

Last time Jon Favreau and Robert Downey Jr got together to make a
superhero movie they were the underdogs. A lot has changed with Iron
‘s 318 million dollar domestic gross (over 500 million worldwide),
and the sequel is coming under strong scrutiny. Favreau, a guy who has
been plugged in and connecting directly with his fans since Made, says
he doesn’t mind it. In fact he likens his relationship with the online
press to that between athletes and sports writers – two sides of the
same coin, joined by a common bond of love of the sport.

Which means he doesn’t mind that we approached his set with the sort of
attention to detail that Downey’s next franchise character might. We
had a chance to visit Tony Stark’s workshop – upgraded in very cool
ways since the first film – and every single one of the journalists on
set were combing through the papers in Stark’s waste bin, taking notes
about magazine covers and trying to figure out what certain books on
the shelves could mean. We found lots of intriguing hints, specifically
some about the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe, including what I saw
just outside the stage…

But I can’t talk about any of that right now. My embargo is heavy and
serious, and Marvel and Paramount were so cool about what they showed
us that I would hate to bend it, let alone break it. While Favreau et
al were quite tight-lipped about the plot of the sequel, it was obvious
that they’re approaching this story from the right place: character
first. And while the action and the set pieces are better (and both
Feige and Favreau promise to up the ante from Iron Man‘s serviceable
but not overwhelming Iron Monger battle), they’re not even remotely in
danger of losing sight of what made the first one a surprise smash,
namely the tone and the humor.

So yeah, this is essentially a tease. Tomorrow I’ll be able to bring
you more about the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe; we had an
amazing 45 minute session with Kevin Feige and we hit all the bases.
Latino Review’s El Guapo and I did some sleuthing and we have theories
as to who will be the bad guy in the Avengers film, and I’ll share that
with you tomorrow, as well as updates on Thor and Captain America. And
then some time after that I’ll be able to tell you about the more than
a half hour Favreau gave to us (truly an unprecedented amount of time
with a director on the set of a film as big as this), as well as the
time we got to spend with the truly gracious and funny Robert Downey

As for the movie itself: what we saw being filmed wasn’t even cloe to
enough to make any sort of judgment, but I definitely liked what I
heard (and the little clues I picked up). There’s a lot going on in
Iron Man 2, and I think the bigger scope (in terms of action and in
terms of character) is going to get people really excited. And I
suspect that if you’re going to be at Comic Con you’ll want to camp out
in Hall H so you can guarantee a look at what Favreau is bringing to
San Diego this year.