Director Jon Favreau wasn’t supposed to present much on the upcoming comic book flick Iron Man until Saturday, but Thursday’s crowd got a treat when he unveiled an entire segment of footage early, in true Comic-Con style.
The Iron Man segment of Paramount’s ten film presentation had been deemed so popular that it had been officially moved to a larger slot on Saturday. What would otherwise been a woefully brief mention during the panel began with a taped message from Favreau in an editing room full of Iron Man models and concept art (“I’m sorry, but I couldn’t be there…”). He introduced an “exclusive” clip with fanfare, complete with booming announcements requesting that everyone turn off their recording devices for the footage, and the lights dimmed in Hall H.
What we got was a scene from the super cheesy 1966 cartoon series Marvel Superheroes — a move that inspired puzzlement, then laughter, from the packed-full house. Moments later Black Sabbath’s heavy rocking “Iron Man” tune began blaring, and the lights went up on Jon Favreau, in the flesh onstage, recording the crowd on his own camcorder (“I figured I didn’t want to be the only one who doesn’t put this on YouTube.”) The geeks went wild.
Favreau held the crowd rapt as he teased his flick. “We’re having a big panel on Saturday, with the Marvel panel, we’re gonna show some footage there. So is anyone gonna be there?” he asked. “Is anyone not gonna be there? Oh, that sucks. Because it’s sold out. It’s good footage too, it’s really good. But maybe you’ll see it on YouTube, you never know. I could always show it now…”
“Alright, let’s roll it!”
Thus, we got the day’s best treat — an extended length trailer for Iron Man, days before anyone had dreamt to see it! Read on for the description.
The clip opens with Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) addressing a group of military men in fatigues. “Is it better to be feared? Or respected? I say, is it too much to ask for both? With that in mind, I humbly present the crown jewel of Stark Industries’ Freedom Line; it’s the first missile system to incorporate our proprietary propulsion technology. They say the best weapon is one you never have to fire. I respectfully disagree. I prefer the weapon you only have to fire once. That’s how Dad did it, that’s how America does it, and it’s worked out pretty well so far.”
We see Stark in another scene getting into a car, his door held open by Favreau in a not-so-inconspicuous cameo. Reporter “Christine Everheart, Vanity Fair magazine” approaches to ask for an impromptu interview. “You’ve been called the Da Vinci of our time; what do you say to that?” “That’s absolutely ridiculous, I don’t paint.” “And what do you say to your other nickname, the ‘Merchant of Death’?”
Cut to Stark riding inside a humvee caravan with troops; one asks for a picture with Stark. “Yes,” Stark replies. “But I don’t want to see this on your MySpace page.” As the picture is about to be taken, a giant explosion rocks the vehicle in front of their car and the entire caravan is shelled. Stark escapes, wounded. He wakes up on a cot in a dimly lit cave, his shirt open to expose a mechanic valve embedded in his chest.
He sees a strange man stirring a pan of beans, whistling nonchalantly. “What the hell did you do to me?” “What I did was save your life. I removed all the shrapnel I could; there’s a lot left…” He shakes a jar. “I have a souvenir. Take a look.”
“I’ve seen many of wounds like that in my village,” the man continues. “That is an electromagnet hooked up to car battery. And it’s keeping the shrapnel from entering your heart.”
Filter’s “Hey Man Nice Shot” begins playing; Stark speaks in voice over. “I should be dead already…I just finally know…what I have to do.”
The rest of the trailer is really the meat of it: action, and lots of it! (Cue Black Sabbath again!) We’re talking Stark in the Mark 1 suit, blasting his way into a cave full of machine gun-wielding bad guys. His armor repels their shots, but he swings an arm and embeds it into the rock wall. A lone enemy creeps up and cocks his gun to Stark’s head; the shot bounces right off the Iron Man helmet and nicks the bad guy fatally in the noggin.
We see more of Iron Man’s cool tricks: flame thrower arms! Flying above the clouds! He even seems to race a few fighter jets. So cool.
“You know what’s cool about that?” Favreau asked his screaming audience. “Except for the last five shots, everything else is practical; we haven’t even done digital work to this thing yet!”
Saturday’s panel is sure to be the hugest affair of the weekend, especially with fans eager to see this clip again. If anyone was skeptical about Favreau delivering a blockbuster comic book flick, they needn’t worry. Iron Man is going to be huge.