Captain America: The Winter Soldier didn't have the advantage of a Loki-ed up Tom Hiddleston to introduce it, but did boast some really impressive first footage of the sequel, with the entire cast there to explain what's up.
First, the clip. We saw a lengthy scene where Cap (Chris Evans) gets in a lift with some of the tactical team he's working with. They're joined by chattering office workers in suits, then some more agents. But Steve Rogers notices a bead of sweat rolling down one man's neck, notes the shock sticks another one has strapped to his leg, and makes a generous offer. "Before we begin, would any of you gentlemen like to get out?"
The men explode into action, trying to trap Cap in magnetic cuffs and using the shock sticks to try to stun him. Things, it's fair to say, do not go according to plan, and soon Rogers is the only man standing. But this reveals that there's trouble at the heart of (it looks like) S.H.I.E.L.D. itself.
Then we got a glimpse of Robert Redford's Alexander Pierce, who seemed not to be entirely friendly, judging by some of his quiet smiles when everything was going wrong. Samuel L. Jackson's Nick Fury shows Cap the many new helicarriers they're building, but Cap is unconvinced. "This isn't freedom. It's fear."
We see Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson, AKA 'The Falcon', firing backwards at an attacking helicopter as he jumps off a helicarrier. But as he falls his wings unfold and the battle becomes an entirely aerial one. The Marvel fans in Hall H went wild at this.
Then there are shots of one of those helicarriers falling vertically into a lake, breaking up as it does so, plus glimpses of Scarlett Johansson's Natasha Romanov kicking ass on all sides, and then the big reveal. Captain America's shield lies on blasted, ashy ground until a cybernetic hand reaches out and picks it up. The camera pulls back to reveal the former Bucky Barnes, now transformed into the Winter Soldier of the title. He's part-machine, part-eyeliner, and part the sort of shaggy haircut that the guys in Game Of Thrones would think was a bit messy. But the combination looks pretty cool, like a twisted, rock-star mirror to Cap himself.
Directors Joe and Anthony Russo and stars Frank Grillo, Emily VanCamp, Cobie Smulders, Mackie (the Falcon), Sebastian Stan, Jackson, Johansson and Evans all appeared to talk through the film, which is still shooting for another week or two.
"It's not so much about tech-shock for Steve now," says Evans of the role. "It's more about the societal differences from the '40s to today. He comes from a time when people were more trusting and today it's harder to know who's right and who's wrong, and the acts you have to take to prevent certain events compromise some of our liberties, our privacy, and I think that's tough for Steve to swallow."
"When we return to these characters it's been real time so they've been working together for a couple of years," says Johansson of Black Widow. "They've now built this relationship, so it breaks down the barriers of this wall she's put up a little bit. And this film has some gritty, down-dirty knuckle-baring fighting. "
What's her relationship to Steve? "I'd say it's like an odd couple," says Evans. "They have different approaches to morality, so there's a dichotomy."
"They learn from each other," says Johansson.
Jackson still feels "pretty badass" every time he puts the eye-patch on. "He [Fury] and Steve have a way of talking because they're both soldiers, but he also knows that Steve has a black-and-white thing about who the enemies are. That's the grey area that S.H.I.E.L.D. and people like Natasha and I work in. Almost everything that comes out of Nick Fury's mouth here is a lie, and sometimes he has to figure out if he's lying to himself too. He has a very good idea of what's going on, but his paranoid sometimes keeps him from believing it."
How close is The Winter Soldier's story to the comic? "It's pretty close in the specifics as it relates to Bucky. It's no surprise for the audience who he is; the surprise is for Cap."
The Russos say they recruited Redford to star because the film takes its tone from the '70s political thrillers, "and he was in so many of the best".
Captain America: The Winter Soldier hits UK cinemas on May 2, 2014.