Amazing Spider-Man Preview Highlights Jokester Vigilante Spidey in 3-D, with 30-40% New Footage
Forget blowing a million or more on a Super Bowl ad; the day after upcoming tentpoles John Carter, Battleship, and G.I. Joe targeted football-watchers with pricey TV spots, Sony went after niche fans with an international simulcast screening of new footage and a 3-D preview of the new Amazing Spider-Man trailer set to hit tonight at midnight PT. Though it included some unfinished visual effects, the sizzle reel featuring 30-40 percent new footage (according to a rep for the studio) hinted at the scope and darkly humorous tone of the Marc Webb-directed reboot.
Webb, in attendance at the Los Angeles leg of the event, was joined via satellite by co-star Emma Stone and producers Avi Arad and Matthew Tolmach in Rio, Rhys Ifans in London, and Andrew Garfield in New York as the group presented 3-D and 2-D footage and answered fan questions. (The event was also screened live for audiences in additional cities around the globe.)
Among the highlights of the Q&A: Stone expounding on the many differences between her character Gwen Stacy and Peter Parker's other more famous leading lady, Mary Jane. Besides coming from an affluent background and having a solid relationship with her father, police captain George Stacy (whose traditional attitude toward law enforcement clashes with Parker's in the footage), "Gwen falls in love with Peter Parker, but Mary Jane falls in love with Spider-Man."
With reverence for the Spider-Man legacy he's now a part of, Garfield elicited cheers from the crowd by pondered the future possibilities of the role in pop culture. Tobey Maguire had played him first and now Garfield was inheriting Spidey's web slingers but, he said, "next time I hope it will be a half-Hispanic, half-African American actor."
Screened in 3-D for those in attendance at the simultaneous screenings around the globe, the Amazing Spider-Man trailer came packed with action snippets, gadget porn (ex. Peter inventing homemade web slinger technology), flashbacks to Peter's traumatic black and white childhood, and looks at Ifans' Dr. Curt Conners/The Lizard, smoothly and slickly pulled off as an engaging bit of 3-D. Massive set pieces and close-combat fight scenes use CG well enough that Garfield's superhuman movements look believable within the space.
But if any one thing distinguishes this Spider-Man from the Raimi series, it's Garfield's superpowered Peter Parker. Sardonic and wry, he bristles with a cocksure energy that Maguire never had and maybe couldn't have achieved, either. This Spider-Man marks his streets with spider graffiti, toys with his criminal prey, revels in the coolness of his own superpowers. He's defiant in the face of authority, maybe a little too gleeful in assuming the role of jokester vigilante; of course that brings him in direct conflict with his girlfriend's dad (Denis Leary as George Stacy), but that seems to shade in his own parental issues as much as it's convenient storytelling.
The focus this time around -- in the story that Sony would like us to believe we've never seen or heard before, though Spider-Man's decades-long pop cultural saturation inspires some skepticism -- isn't on losing Uncle Ben and wrestling with that guilt forever and ever (and upside down kisses and stuff), though additional footage showing Martin Sheen as Ben riffing tenderly with Peter does make you think about how that other shoe will drop. Instead, Webb said, he wanted to tap into "the emotional consequences of what it means to be an orphan," and so the teenage Peter reaches out to Dr. Conners, who he discovers used to work closely with his long-lost dad. "What makes him a more emotional presence in Peter's life is that he had a very close relationship to Peter's father," explained Ifans. The two of them share a genius knack for science but ultimately, obviously, come to blows.
Much of today's sizzle reel footage (which was shot in 3-D but shown today in 2-D) was previously shown at Comic-Con -- Peter being bullied by Flash Thompson at school, Uncle Ben embarrassing him in front of Gwen, Peter as Spidey having fun with a car thief. In terms of character, Conners and his alter ego The Lizard are featured quite prominently in this new footage, which showed some well-textured CG work of the character in full creature mode (The Lizard punching his way into a car, a close-up on his face) as well as snippets of Lizard vs. Spidey fighting all over the city, culminating with Spidey toppling a tower atop a skyscraper.
After the footage screening Movieline spoke briefly with Webb, who seemed pleased with the reception. That said, he's got a long way to go to a final cut, he admitted. But despite the fact that a handful of shots in the footage were clearly unfinished, fans still seemed impressed -- especially by the finished 3-D portion, which was important to nail particularly since it was filmed in 3-D and had better look good given the initial disappointment over the video game-esque portion of Spider-Man's first teaser.
As for the event itself, fans who waited for hours for a chance to see the Spider-Man footage (At noon! On a weekday!) but were shut-out of the simulcast satellite event were rewarded as Sony replayed the footage again and again for those who'd missed it. Stay tuned for the new trailer, which hits tonight at midnight.
The Amazing Spider-Man hits theaters July 3, 2012.