I finally have my report from Paramount's Iron Man panel at WonderCon from Saturday and it's one hell of exciting experience to recall. This is already a bit late (it originally took place on Saturday evening), but with a day packed full of nothing but Hollywood panels and parties, it's hard to keep on schedule. Whereas I gushed earlier about Pixar's Wall-E being the best movie of 2008, after what we were shown at WonderCon, I'm thinking that Iron Man could easily be the best comic book movie of 2008, even over The Dark Knight. That's definitely not an easy thing to say at all, but it's becoming more and more apparent that Jon Favreau was born to direct Iron Man, Robert Downey Jr. was born to become Tony Stark, and I was born to enjoy the hell out of the Iron Man movie this May.
Before director Jon Favreau, aka Favs, showed the anxious crowd of comic fans any real footage, he answered a quick question about the trailer from last year in which he used Black Sabbath's "Iron Man" song. He said that they "have their blessing," referring to the Osbourne's approval to use their music. But when someone stepped up to ask a question about the rocket boots from the Superbowl trailer, Favs decided to show us three full scenes.
The scenes showed Stark in his garage testing out the Mark II suit (completely metal without any color). It showed him first building and putting together the rocket boots, which feature mechanics and technology as intricate as the robots in Transformers, and eventually testing them out. Most of the scenes we saw featured quite a bit of comedy, including Tony Stark accidentally shooting himself into the ceiling and over some boxes when he tests the propulsion at full capacity. He also talks with his robotic arms that respond in simplistic ways as if they had emotions - specifically a fire extinguisher arm. The last scene was where he finally dons the complete Mark II suit and turns it on and goes flying out around part of the city at night, but eventually crashes down on one of his expensive cars.
Beyond that fairly simple description (I really wish you could just watch the same scenes!), what we saw looked absolutely amazing. It was funny but still full of energy and excitement. Once he finally donned the completed suit, it booted up with a direct frontal face view of Stark with CGI visuals smoothly floating around everywhere, giving you a look at the UI that Stark is experiencing from his view in the suit. It's an odd disconnect, but it does fit the movie and is the only way to keep you updated on what Stark is seeing himself. Another thing to note - Favs did say that the comedy we saw here is the funniest it gets, which accounts for any hesitation that Iron Man may go the other way and be too funny.
Where the scenes really got exciting were once he finally flew out and was testing the suit's flying capabilities around the city at night. Not only did the mechanics look absolutely seamless, but the flying was smooth and fast. It looked exactly as you'd imagine a man in a mechanic suit would maneuver when flying around, and it gave me goosebumps just watching it and imagining the more technologically advanced gold and red Mark III armor in flight.
Photo courtesy of Quint over at AICN. Thanks my friend!
Favreau loves communicating with fans and truly believes that it's "important that filmmakers maintain a dialogue with their audience" and that "the best place to go is directly to the fans." So what he said at WonderCon is all for you and all for you to respond to so that they can listen and make a better movie. As for his inspiration behind directing this, Favs jokingly remarked, "I was inspired by the box office returns on Zathura." But now he's a part of Iron Man and after two years he has put together an incredible comic book adaptation that will certainly deliver.
"I'm impressed with how much they're staying with their source material and trying things they never would have done in the past," Favreau mentions about the state of Marvel's new in-house production company.
Favs next answered a question about Stan Winston, the special effects genius who built the complete Iron Man suits practically for the movie. He refers to Winston as "an icon" and that the opportunity to work with him was something that he really enjoyed. When Winston originally pitched the idea of building the suits practically, he was skeptical. However at this point he's come to realize that the "marriage" between Stan and ILM, the FX house doing the CGI work, is great (in regards to making the change from practical suits to CGI in the movie entirely seamless and unnoticeable). He is a big supporter of not using CGI when not necessary, but that it's still a great tool to use when right, and in Iron Man, it's right.
A few fans attempted to question Favs about the Hulk crossover rumors, and he just responded with, "Many of the rumors are true, but many are not true. I like to keep the white noise of uncertainty." He wants to keep people excited all the way up to May 2nd and can't reveal all of the secrets. However, as for Jim Rhodes aka Roadie (or even War Machine), played by Terrence Howard, Favs explained that he is the comedic foil and best friend of Tony Stark, saying that they "certainly leave the door open" on his future, which could possibly mean a spin-off film. And that Avengers talk we've heard, too? Favs says that, "If this movie makes a lot of money, I might get to direct that Avengers movie." We'll certainly do our best to help!
After talking about the comic book inspirations for the film and addressing specifically the question of alcoholism, it seems apparent that this movie at least is a little more family-centric and won't include much from Demon in a Bottle. In future sequels, after the origin story has already been tackled, Favs and team could touch upon Tony Stark's alcoholism, but in this one it won't be a big focus.
Before the panel wrapped up, Favreau did clarify that a new 90-second trailer will show during "Lost" next Thursday. And that he didn't bring it with him. But he did bring with him the new two-and-a-half minute trailer that will show in front of 10,000 B.C. because they just finished tweaking it last night. I won't attempt to describe the trailer (you can actually read a good description over at AICN) and in less than two weeks time you'll be watching it here on FS.net anyway, but I do need to say that it looked absolutely mind-blowingly amazing. I know I say that a lot, but I walked out much more amazed and excited than I ever usually am.
The trailer looked truly incredible and I can't wait to see Iron Man come May. Not only is Downey Jr. the perfect actor, but I think Favreau has learned how to handle action and is going to pull off the perfect mix. This last trailer is the kind that not only touches on the great elements of the first one, but shows you everything else that literally makes you go "holy shit" when you see it in the theater. With that kind of response, you know this movie is going to be good. It's not going to pull a Spider-Man 3 at a all, it's going to be the NEW Spider-Man.
And as a final note, we came across some awesome new Iron Man posters at the 'con on Thursday, and Screen Rant got a good photo of them online. These look great - I'd love if they kicked more out full-size for people to have! Can't wait for Iron Man, arriving on May 2nd!
User comment: By: CurtisThis movie sounds and looks amazing i cannot wait. So many great comic book movies coming out in mid summer and summer should be an amazing year.
User comment: By: Spider-edawsome poster!! iv watched the superbowl spot hundreds of times, just cant wait to see it!!!
User comment: By: RyanIron Man looks awesome, but whatever happened to the Hulk?
User comment: By: Darrini really hope this movie is good
User comment: By: KeithIt might be as good as TDK, but it will not be better, mark my words.
Visit here to subscribe to commentsUser comment: By: StephenSounds like some great stuff.