Is it any surprise? It’s their second home. Marvel made an impressive showing on Friday in both Hall H for The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and in Ballroom 20 for their TV venture, Agents of SHIELD.
First up, the Agents of SHIELD panel in Ballroom 20. Agent Coulson himself, Clark Gregg, got a standing ovation when he was introduced—by far the biggest reaction for any Marvel actor except for Tom Hiddleston, and even then it was pretty close. If you’re wondering why there is now a Marvel TV show, Gregg is why. People LOVE him. Though no one can say anything interesting during the panel (honestly, Marvel, you may want to consider pre-approving at least one plot point for discussion because these panels get real boring real fast when the most anyone can say is, “Well I can’t say anything…”), they did air the pilot, which means we can talk about it.
It’s pretty great. It’s classic Whedon—lots of fast-paced quips and tons of humor mixed with action and a large and cohesive cast. There are nods to the movie universe with offhand references to characters we’ve already met, as well as a cameo by Cobie Smulders as Maria Hill, and a major plot point that ties in to Iron Man 3, but it stands on its own. Obviously the big question is how Coulson survived, which they tease in the pilot but won’t unpack right away. It plays like a modern A-Team but with sharper dialogue. The pilot is engaging but they will need to do a lot of character work to hook a weekly audience. But there is one thing that I Hated Very Much. It made me groan out loud and go, “Oh come ON.” Agents of SHIELD airs September 24th; watch and see if you can spot The Thing I Would Be Glad To Never See Again.
Meanwhile in Hall H, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 held its panel and Andrew Garfield did a rather involved stunt including a pre-taped segment before appearing in full Spider-Man costume and sitting on the panel as Peter Parker for a few minutes. It’s charming and geeky and bless Garfield for being so game. Jamie Foxx was also game, teasing and playing off the audience, hugely enjoying himself, and being way more interesting and fun than Dane DeHaan, who was so limp I don’t know why he bothered showing up.
The most important thing revealed is that Paul Giamatti’s villainous “Rhino” is only in a couple scenes. Combined with the removal of Mary Jane from the plot (but hopefully not Shailene Woodley from the franchise), I’m not as worried about Spider-Man 2 being overcrowded. As for the footage screened, it’s solid. We get to see Peter Parker enjoying himself as Spider-Man and generally being a cocky little sh*t, and then the rising threat of Electro coming to ruin his day. It didn’t slay me, but I’m more open to this movie being good than I was for the first one.
That wrapped up Marvel’s first day at Comic Con—solid footage from promising projects that still have some lingering questions and doubts about them. They saved the fireworks for Saturday.