After the Iron Man 2 panel, which played to a cheering capacity crowd in Hall H, I ran upstairs to do some press for the movie and the first question I asked Jon Favreau was ‘Are you ever going to give another film a chance to get the best buzz at Comic Con?’
To say that the Iron Man 2 presentation killed would be understating it. Sure, the room was packed with the faithful but what we saw onscreen reminded everybody why they’re the faithful. Since the film just wrapped last week Favreau didn’t have a lot of FX footage to share (which formed the basis of the panel’s initial joke – Favreau shared a really cheesy, shitty faux EPK promo reel, which so disgusted Robert Downey Jr (‘What is this bullshit?’ he said) that the actor ‘forced’ his director to show the real footage), but the important things about Iron Man were the tone and the characters, and the footage displayed all of that.
The opening scene had Tony Stark, half in his costume and wearing 80s sunglasses, sitting in the famous Randy’s Donuts donut. Nick Fury shows up, gets him out of the donut and they sit down to drink coffee and talk. Stark says he doesn’t want to join Fury’s ‘super secret boy band,’ but Fury’s more concerned about Stark’s seemingly degenerating state of mind.
Next we saw Tony Stark in front of a Congressional committee, headed by Garry Shandling as Senator Stern, that wants him to turn over the Iron Man ‘weapon.’ What follows is hilarious as Stark plays for the audience while utterly alienating the committee (and pissing off Pepper Potts). Rhodey shows up – as a hostile witness! – and we’re treated to the way the movie deals with changing actors. Stark says he hasn’t seen his friend in a while and Rhodey says, ‘I’m here, this is me, deal with it and let’s move on.’ It’s pretty cute.
After that footage (which was really great), we were treated to some scenes about Whiplash. Voice over reveals that Whiplash is obsessed with the Stark family; something Howard Stark did ruined his family. We got to see Whiplash’s entrance: Tony Stark lays, bleeding, amidst the wreckage of a car on a raceway and Whiplash slowly advances, whipping his electrified tendrils, creating sparks and cutting divots in the pavement. It is an awesome, amazing scene – not for the simple effects on the whips but just for the body language and menace that Mickey Rourke conveys as the villain.
There was some footage of Iron Man dodging a missile barrage, then some quick clips (including black veins spreading out from Tony Stark’s chest piece – it looks like his arc reactor is infected with something) but Favreau saved the money shot for the end. We see Rhodey in an aircraft hangar and Justin Hammer comes in. With Stark out of the arms picture, Hammer has stepped up as the main supplier to the government, and he shows Rhodey (who has with him the Iron Man Mark 2 suit) a whole bunch of automatic weapons. Big ones. Mean ones. Rhodey buys them all, and then the next shot is of the War Machine armor taking bullets from all sides and returning fire – a fucking ton of it – from three or four guns. It was a quick flash but it was amazing; War Machine is just War Machine from the comics, in the same way that Iron Man is just Iron Man from the comics.
There was a lot of funny stuff on the panel, but the thing that really won the crowd (and me) was the footage. It showed that Favreau and his team know exactly what made the first film work and that they’re only amping that up. And the quick moments of Whiplash that I saw really sold the character to me, despite his very silly looking technobondage get up.
I should be able to bring you some more Iron Man 2 stuff from my set visit this week, and I also have lots to bring you from the post-panel press event. Stay tuned.
Behind every great book adaptation is a forgettable first try. — By Ryan Covey