Wednesday was preview day and the last calm before the storm in San Diego with the first visitors allowed on the convention floor for an early pick of swag, mementos, and fantasy knick-knacks. Now the tsunami that is Comic-Con has finally hit in earnest as a wave of cosplayers swarmed the Convention Center, turning downtown into the usual bustling hub for alien life forms.
Many of those promptly circled Hall H as lines began orbiting the cavernous hall where thousands flock for sneak peeks of trailers, previews and Comic-Con-exclusive film clips. The first studio to do the honors was Fox whose presentation was all about The Kingsman sequel The Golden Circle. When the first film was promoted here three years ago, the Matthew Vaughn movie was an unknown entity, which went on to make a global splash with its smart, ironic and self-aware updating of the James Bond formula. Thanks to that success the sequel comes with a built-in audience and a big push from the studio, which released a second trailer just in advance of Comic-Con.
Fox also assembled an all-star cast to stride on the dais of Hall H to thunderous applause. Newcomers Jeff Bridges, Halle Berry, Pedro Pascal and Channing Tatum joined original members Colin Firth and Taron Egerton to introduce clips from the film. (Among them Bridges, Berry, Firth, and Moore boast six Golden Globes on a total of 20 nominations).
The program started with a clever mash-up in which an animated version of Eggsy (Taron Everton) runs through London and enters the Kingsman tailor shop to find Archer, the characteristically boorish American counterpart. The British-American confrontation (and a clash of styles) was apropos since the new film introduces the American counterpart to the secret Kingsman organization: the Statesmen who operate behind the front of a whiskey company. As screenwriter Jane Goldman explained to the rapt Hall H audience, that cooperative/competitive transatlantic relationship lies at the heart of the new film and the play on respective stereotypes is the source for most of the comedy.
Other clips shown included a breathless opening action chase scene in which Eggsy is set upon by a cyborg antagonist and a trio of vehicles through London, a fight sequence between Channing Tatum, Colin Firth and Tarn Everton and the introduction to the film’s über-villain played by Julianne Moore.
Earlier the HFPA had a chance for a much more intimate meeting with the cast, we asked Taron Egerton about the new installment. “I think it’s great because in the first one the style of the “Kingsman,” the fighting style, (…) discovering that, was the joy of the first film. In this one Matthew (Vaughn) and the creative team of the movie have invested just as much time making The Statesmen as rich and as fully realized and as different. So the weaponry they use and the fighting style is very American.
“I think that’s probably one of the fun things about the movie,” added Jeff Bridges. “It’s putting this genre of filmmaking which the Brits are so expert at, spy and secret agent kind of stuff going back to James Bond. And you’ve got the American cowboys, the west and you put those two things together was a wonderful idea.”
Bridges is revered at Comic-Con for his seminal role in Tron but Halle Berry is no stranger either having attended several times as Storm form the X-Men series. “I love being here,” She confessed. “This is the place where the real fans live, that’s why I love it. They really love whatever they’re here to support. They know everything about you as an artist. They know everything about your character. Sometimes they know more about your character than you know about your character. So I come here to learn, sometimes. But it’s nice to be around a group of people that really appreciate movie making that really appreciate what you do as an artist and the kind of enjoyment that you’re able to give to them. They really are just, they have so much love to give back here.”