Iron Man movie image
If you've read my first report from Saturday afternoon's Marvel Studios panel, you'll have read that it sounds like we're in for a treat with The Incredible Hulk next summer. Before the Hulk hits theaters in June, however, Iron Man will be arriving a month earlier -- and after seeing the Iron Man presentation at Comic-Con yesterday, I'm officially more excited about this movie than any other superhero flick hitting theaters next summer.

I should probably mention that I've never had any particularly strong feelings about Iron Man as a character one way or the other --well, not until his heel-turn in Civil War anyway-- so there's no deep abiding love of the character that has me feeling this way. It's just that the four-minute sneak peek that writer/director Jon Favreau cut together exclusively for Comic-Con is that much of a rush. Seriously, watching this presentation represented the most thrilling series of superhero sequences I've seen since the first Spider-Man. As with that first Spidey outing, the Iron Man team looks to have perfectly captured the essence --and the pure kinetic energy-- of what can make superhero comics great. Oh, and from the looks of things, Robert Downey, Jr. was born to play the role of Tony Stark. His performance will likely go down as one of the great casting decisions in movie history.

Photo of Jon Favreau, Terrence Howard, Gwyneth Paltrow and Robert Downey, Jr. at Comic-Con
Joining Favreau onstage for the presentation were stars Robert Downey, Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow and Terrence Howard (who, in the role of Rhodey is already itching to play War Machine should the series continue), as well as an unbilled special guest, Stan Lee. Favreau said that "principal photography wrapped about a month ago," and the effects work is currently underway. From their onstage interactions, it appears that the team involved may have had as much fun making the movie as audiences will have watching it ... there was an easy camaraderie between all of the folks onstage that was fun to see.

At the end of the panel, to overwhelming approval, the special Comic-Con trailer was shown again. Far from lacking the power of the first viewing, I realized I was getting goose bumps during the second screening. Oh, and the second time around, I was also reminded that I would be remiss in not mentioning that the soundtrack consisted of –appropriately enough-heavy metal classics such as AC/DC and (of course) Black Sabbath's "Iron Man." Favreau confirms that, while soundtrack negations are still underway, fans should expect "lots of heavy guitars" in the movie. Now that Comic-Con attendees have gotten an exclusive first look, Marvel Studios would be wise to leak the Comic-Con trailer on the Web so that fans not fortunate enough to have been in San Diego this week can join me in beginning their own countdown to the May 2 release date.

One final note that should excite fans of the Hollywood version of the Marvel universe: Given that Saturday's Marvel Studios presentation amounted to a Comic-Con "team-up" of the Hulk and Iron Man, it must have felt like an appropriate time for studio head Kevin Feige to confirm that, yes, "it's definitely the plan" to combine characters from different Marvel movies in the future. Start getting excited about the Hollywood equivalent of Marvel Team-Up ... now.

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