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Five ways “The Amazing Spider-Man” will differ from the previous movie franchise

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Yesterday’s preview of “The Amazing Spider-Man” yielded lots of new details about Peter Parker’s upcoming return to the big screen, but one of the most significant takeaways from the sneak peek event was confirmation of some of the ways this version of the webslinger will differ from his big-screen predecessor.

British actor Andrew Garfield puts on the webbed mask and replaces previous franchise headliner Tobey Maguire this time around, but that’s not the only big change audiences should expect from what’s being billed as the “untold story” of Spider-Man.

After seeing all of the new footage presented during yesterday’s “The Amazing Spider-Man” event, here are five more changes you can look forward to when your friendly neighborhood wall-crawler swings into theaters in July.


Mechanical Web-Shooters

Same Raimi’s “Spider-Man” franchise became the target of much criticism early on when it was revealed that Peter Parker’s webs would be an organic product of his mutation rather than the wrist-mounted mechanical devices he uses in the comics. That diversion from the source material is corrected in Marc Webb’s upcoming reboot of the franchise, as the new footage clearly shows Peter Parker developing, testing, and making ample use of artificial webs and a web-shooter with a red glow. In one particular scene, Peter is seen fiddling with the web-shooter and accidentally setting it off, resulting in his face being webbed to the device. In another scene, Spider-Man toys with a car thief before sticking him to a wall with a series of web shots — with the red glow of the web-shooter pulsing each time he slings a web at his target. There’s also a nice, up-close shot of the web-shooter itself in the new trailer for “The Amazing Spider-Man.”


Quipping while Thwipping

Rather than the progressively more angsty, emo Peter Parker we saw in the last “Spider-Man” franchise, the webslinger is clearly returning to his joke-a-minute roots in “The Amazing Spider-Man.” In the footage shown yesterday, there were very few scenes of Spidey in costume that didn’t also involve a steady stream of jokes coming from the wall-crawler. During the aforementioned run-in with the car thief, Spider-Man toys with the criminal for a while as only a high-school kid can, dropping to his knees when the guy pulls a knife and exclaiming, “Oh no, is that a real knife? Aargh! That’s my only weakness!” — only to stick him to the wall with a barrage of webs a second later. If nothing else, this film’s take on Spidey brings him back to being that playful brat fans love, but criminals hate.


Spider-Man is Public Enemy #1

With the exception of eternal Spidey-hater J. Jonah Jameson, the previous “Spider-Man” films were largely a webslinger love-fest, with Peter Parker enjoying life as a celebrated hero loved by the public. This time around, Spider-Man clearly won’t be winning any popularity polls, as the new footage included quite a few scenes in which Spider-Man is being chased, attacked by, or attacking police officers around New York. To make matters worse, much of that anti-Spidey sentiment seems to come from Gwen Stacy’s father, George Stacy (played by Denis Leary), a high-ranking NYPD officer. One especially tense scene shown during the preview event featured Peter and Mr. Stacy arguing about Spider-Man’s intentions over dinner and making things extremely uncomfortable for Gwen.


He Does Whatever a Spider Can

While past installments of “Spider-Man” on the big screen did a great job of presenting the range of Peter Parker’s spider-given abilities, “The Amazing Spider-Man” appears to be taking things one step further when it comes to Spidey’s enhanced agility and “spider sense.” In the footage shown during yesterday’s event, there was one particularly great scene in which Spider-Man is seen dodging bullets by first twisting from side to side and then flipping over the gunman in one fluid motion from a standing position. Rather than presenting his enhanced reaction time via a sudden switch to slow-motion (a la the previous films), “The Amazing Spider-Man” appears to take the opposite approach, with the world moving at normal speed while Spider-Man reacts instantaneously to everything that occurs. In the aforementioned scene, Spider-Man dodges left, then right, at the same time each shot is fired, and then jumps behind the gunman the moment the third shot is fired — mimicking the sort of blink-and-you-miss-it movement of real-world spiders when threatened.


Loving the Man, Not the Mask

During the preview event for “The Amazing Spider-Man,” actress Emma Stone explained that one key difference between her character, Gwen Stacy, and Peter Parker’s love interest from the previous films, Mary Jane Watson, is that Gwen falls in love with Peter, not Spider-Man. That difference might seem small when mentioned in passing, but it’s a key component of Peter Parker’s history in both the comics and, apparently, in the upcoming film. During one scene shown during the event, Gwen is seen telling Peter — who happens to be wearing his Spider-Man costume at the time — that she already worries about whether her policeman father will come home every night, and stresses that she doesn’t want to have the same concerns about Peter. Along the same lines, Gwen and Peter’s relationship appears to develop well before he dons a costume and starts fighting bad guys. When measured against the infamous upside-down Spidey kiss between Mary Jane and Peter in the first “Spider-Man” film and the struggles he had convincing Mary Jane to love him when he wasn’t wearing the mask, this dynamic should make for a major tonal shift in the reboot that sets “The Amazing Spider-Man” apart from the previous franchise.


What other changes do you expect to see in “The Amazing Spider-Man”? Chime in below or on Facebook or Twitter.

Fred Armisen and Stephen Colbert Sample Foghat Wine

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Fred Armisen and Stephen Colbert Had a Rockin’ Wine Tasting

Catch Fred on the new season of Portlandia Thursdays at 10P on IFC.

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As per The Late Show’s themed gift recommendation this past December, we all spent the holidays delightfully unwrapping various Foghat albums and compilations. And while those cassettes remain in our tape decks, there’s still more ’70s boogie rock to enjoy in the form of fermented grapes. Yes, Foghat has its very own wine, straight from the cellars of drummer and Late Show fan Roger Earl, and Portlandia’s Fred Armisen joined host Stephen Colbert to sample the goods. And thanks to Earl’s watchful eye and drumstick swirl during fermentation, the pinot noir unfolds nicely on the tongue and has the perfect notes to swig directly from the bottle while shrieking, “HELLO, CLEVELAND!”

Watch Fred Armisen and Stephen Colbert don literal “fog hats” and take a slow ride through some tasty spirits below.

“The Amazing Spider-Man” sneak peek reveals more details about webslinger’s return to the big screen

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Your friendly neighborhood wall-crawler returns to theaters this year, and a worldwide event held earlier today that revealed new footage from “The Amazing Spider-Man” served as a great reminder that Peter Parker will be giving The Avengers and Batman some competition at the box office.

Held simultaneously in 15 cities across the world, the “Amazing Spider-Man” preview event featured appearances by director Marc Webb and producer Avi Arad, as well as cast members Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans, and Peter Parker himself, Andrew Garfield. And while the short Q&A with the guests of honor didn’t offer much in the way of new details about the film, the event also played host to not one but two collections of footage: a 3D presentation of the brand new trailer for “The Amazing Spider-Man” that debuts tonight, as well as a short “sizzle reel” featuring selected scenes from the film, both finished and unfinished.

Here’s a brief recap of what was shown in both pieces of footage:

First, it’s worth noting that the new trailer for “The Amazing Spider-Man” offered a great indication of how 3D filming will play into the visual element of the film. Rather than seeming gimmicky or yet another victim of 3D post-conversion, the the visuals in the trailer appeared sharp and higher definition than standard 2D films — which is the way 3D films have found the most success. Later in the event, Webb commented on this fact, reminding the audience that much of “The Amazing Spider-Man” was filmed in 3D rather than converted after the fact.

As for the trailer itself, we get to see some great scenes of Peter Parker (both as Spider-Man and out of costume) swinging around New York City and interacting with Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone), as well as some shots of Peter in a makeshift laboratory of sorts, working on his web shooters. This was one of the major reveals of the trailer, with very clear confirmation that Spider-Man will be using mechanical web-shooters of his own design. The shooters feature a glowing, red, circular symbol in their center, and appear to “charge up” as he delivers webbing.

During the trailer, we see Peter working on the web-shooters in his lab, and there are a number of shots in which the red glow of the shooters is visible during action scenes. Near the end of the trailer, there’s a close-up shot of the shooters being “charged” before Spider-Man swings into view.

The trailer also offers quite a few scenes of Peter interacting with Gwen and her family, which includes her police officer father, George Stacy (Denis Leary). The footage emphasized that Spider-Man won’t be seen as a hero at first, with Peter seen arguing with Gwen’s father about Spidey’s motives over dinner, and later brawling with a group of police attempting to subdue him. (He’s also missing his mask during this scene — something that adds an interesting wrinkle to the story.)

While the up-close look at the web-shooters was a big moment, the reveal of several scenes featuring Spidey’s nemesis were also big crowd-pleasers. Dr. Curt Conners was seen in both his human form (as played by Rhys Ifans) and his reptilian alter ego, The Lizard, though more was shown of the former than the latter. Peter and Dr. Connors clearly share some connections that go beyond mentor and student in the film, and the additional footage revealed later at the event confirmed that Connors and Peter’s father were professional colleagues in the past.

At one point in the trailer, we see Dr. Connors inject himself with what can only be the serum that changes him into The Lizard, and we’re treated to a barrage of brief images showing The Lizard rampaging through the city. There are several shots of The Lizard crawling through the sewers and ripping a hole in a car, the floor, and several other set pieces, and near the end of the preview, there’s a nice shot of Spider-Man and The Lizard duking it out high in the sky.

Before the next reel of footage was shown, several of the cast members answered some prepared questions. Asked about the “Untold Story” tagline the movie is sporting, Webb said the film will focus on several elements of Peter Parker’s origin story that haven’t been explored on the big screen so far — including “the emotional consequence of being an orphan.”

The second reel featured some unfinished footage, but also a few great work-in-progress action sequences and a nice scene with Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, and Martin Sheen, who plays Peter’s uncle in the film. Not only did the scene offer a great look at the relationship between Peter and Gwen (which seems to have great chemistry), but it also offered an indication of how Sheen will be playing Uncle Ben in the film — which is very much a modern take on the character and his relationship with Peter. At the risk of spoiling a key plot element, the scene might also foreshadow one of Peter’s darkest moments, as Ben mentions that one of Peter’s decisions is forcing him change shifts at work and be somewhere he might not have been otherwise (and any Spidey fan knows how that usually works out for the people in Peter’s life).

The extra footage also included a scene that showcases one of the biggest changes in tone from the previous “Spider-Man” franchise, as we get to see Spider-Man spouting a constant stream of quips while he subdues a car thief. One thing noted by many comics-friendly critics of the original franchise is the more emo, angsty tone the series developed with each installment, and the new footage from “The Amazing Spider-Man” appears to take a far more lighthearted approach to the webslinger’s famous never-ending commentary while stopping crimes.

On that note, the new footage also showcased Spider-Man enhanced agility and web-swinging abilities, with several scenes in which Spidey dodges bullets and leaps, flips, twists, and contorts his body in mid-air to avoid projectiles. If nothing else, the new Spider-Man clearly seems to be a more limber take on the character.

“The Amazing Spider-Man” hits theaters this July, but keep an eye on IFC.com for more coverage of today’s sneak peek event, including some upcoming lists that break down some of the specific changes you’ll see in this new film as compared to the previous “Spider-Man” franchise.

What do you think of the footage described here? Chime in below or on Facebook or Twitter.

“The Amazing Spider-Man” debuts two new angsty photos featuring Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone

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Two new photos from “The Amazing Spider-Man” have swung their way onto the web, and this time they’re all about the angst. They feature the two stars of the film — Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone — in street clothes, focusing on the emotional aspect of the movie instead of its superhero appeal.

The first still features a composed Emma Stone as Parker’s love interest, Gwen Stacy. Judging by her all-black attire, she could be at a funeral, but there’s also a chance that Stacy is just stuck enjoying a rainy New York City day.

Garfield looks distraught as Peter Parker in the second still, wearing a black beanie and a Ramones t-shirt. He’s standing in an alleyway, leading us to believe that this scene takes place after Parker has started his transformation into Spider-Man. After all, what else would he be doing hanging around in a New York City back alley at night?

“The Amazing Spider-Man” relaunches Sony’s Spider-Man film franchise when it hits theaters on July 3. In addition to Garfield and Stone, the movie stars Rhys Ifans, Denis Leary, Martin Sheen and Sally Field. “(500) Days of Summer” helmer Marc Webb is directing the project from a script by James Vanderbilt, Alvin Sargent and Steve Kloves.

What do you think of these new “Spider-Man” stills? Tell us in the comments section below or on Facebook and Twitter.

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