When you come out to a screaming crowd with Black Sabbath’s "Iron Man" as your intro tune, you’d better deliver the goods.
Jon Favreau didn’t do that.
What he did — after telling the crowd that Comic-Con is where, in 2007, "Iron Man’s" success started — is show a lame promo reel for "Iron Man 2" that wouldn’t pass muster on public-access TV.
Of course, it was all a set-up.
Doing a good cop/bad cop routine, star Robert Downey Jr. burst out on stage and got in Favreau’s face, claiming that the director was short-changing the fans he had just praised.
Then the fun — and the real clips –started.
From the opening shot of an unmasked Downey reclining in his armor on the top of L.A.’s famed Randy’s Donuts sign to Samuel L. Jackson, as Nick Fury, asking him to “exit the donut," the preview of "Iron Man 2" had it in the bag.
It seemed to slow down slightly with a long scene of Tony Stark getting grilled by a pompous senator played by the perfectly cast Gary Shandling — but that was just another tease.
The booming introduction of the film’s characters — Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle (replacing Terrence Howard, to some degree of tension from the fans), Sam Rockwell, Scarlett Johansson and Mickey Rourke as the Russian supervillan Whiplash — all sent Hall H through the roof harder than a right hook from Iron Man himself.
And then there was Black Sabbath again, on top of a fist-pumping ending in an array of armor clad bullets.
After the clips, got the crowd on its feet once again when he told them to get ready for more fanboy fare. He announced that an "Avengers" movie is coming, though he wouldn’t confirm that he was directing. And he’s executive producing "Thor," with Kenneth Branagh directing.
Paltrow and Rourke weren’t there in person, but it was all Mickey all the time for the first little while. As Downey, as natural a comedian as he is a superhero, put it: ”I thought I was eccentric.”
When Rockwell seemed to hesitate about his experience working with the Oscar nominee and Hollywood’s latest comeback kid, Downey leaned over into the mic and joked, “What’s with the Oliver North answers?”
The Q&A, which was quickly becoming, like the movie, the Robert Downey Jr. show, hit the beat again when Cheadle asked if the crowd wanted to see the preview footage again.
Well, of course. And so they did, to even more applause than before.