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.

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Weird Roles

Anthony Michael Hall’s Most Rotten Movies

Catch Anthony Michael Hall in Weird Science on Friday at 8P on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Universal/Everett Collection

Anthony Michael Hall was the quintessential ’80s nerd. We love him in classics like The Breakfast Club and National Lampoon’s Vacation. But even the brainiest among us has his weak spots. In honor of Weird Science airing this Rotten Friday, we analyze Hall’s worst movies.

Weird Science (1985) 56%

A low point for John Hughes, Weird Science is way too wacky for its own good. Anthony Michael Hall’s Gary and his pal Wyatt (Ilan Mitchell-Smith) create the “perfect woman.” Supernatural chaos ensues. The film costars a young Bill Paxton, floppy disks, and a general disconnect from all reality.

The Caveman’s Valentine (2001) 46%

This ambitious drama starring Samuel L. Jackson couldn’t live up to its rich premise. Jackson plays Romulus, a Juilliard-educated, paranoid schizophrenic who lives in a cave. Hall co-stars as Bob, a rich man, who wants to see Romulus play the piano. The plot centers around Romulus investigating a murder, but with so much going on, the movie never quite finds its rhythm.

All About the Benjamins (2002) 30%

Ice Cube plays a bounty hunter who teams up with Mike Epps’ con man to catch diamond thieves. Hall plays Lil J, a small-time drug dealer. It’s definitely a role we’ve never seen Hall in, but overall the movie isn’t funny or original enough to justify its violence.

Freddy Got Fingered (2001) 11%

This showcase for Tom Green’s goofy gross-out comedy is often hailed as one of the worst films of all time. Green plays Gord, a 20-something slacker, who dreams of having his own animated series. Hall is Dave Davidson, a CEO of an animation studio who eventually helps Gord find success. Too bad Tom Green wasn’t so lucky.

Johnny Be Good (1988) 0%

Hall plays against type as Johnny Walker, a star quarterback. Robert Downey Jr. is his best friend and Uma Thurman plays his devoted girlfriend. Despite the support of a future A-list cast, the movie lacks central conflict and charm. Or, as TV Guide put it, “Johnny be worthless.” Ouch.

Catch the “Too Rotten to Miss” Weird Science this Friday at 8P on IFC.

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Season 6: Episode 1: Pickathon

Binge Fest

Portlandia Season 6 Now Available On DVD

The perfect addition to your locally-sourced, artisanal DVD collection.

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End of summer got you feeling like:

Portlandia Toni Screaming GIF

Ease into fall with Portlandia‘s sixth season. Relive the latest exploits of Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein’s cast of characters, including Doug and Claire’s poignant breakup, Lance’s foray into intellectual society, and the terrifying rampage of a tsukemen Noodle Monster! Plus, guest stars The Flaming Lips, Glenn Danzig, Louis C.K., Kevin Corrigan, Zoë Kravitz, and more stop by to experience what Portlandia is all about.

Pick up a copy of the DVD today, or watch full episodes and series extras now on IFC.com and the IFC app.

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Byrning Down the House

Everything You Need to Know About the Film That Inspired “Final Transmission”

Documentary Now! pays tribute to "Stop Making Sense" this Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Cinecom/courtesy Everett Collection

This week Documentary Now! is with the band. For everyone who’s ever wanted to be a roadie without leaving the couch, “Final Transmission” pulls back the curtain on experimental rock group Test Pattern’s final concert. Before you tune in Wednesday at 10P on IFC, plug your amp into this guide for Stop Making Sense, the acclaimed 1984 Talking Heads concert documentary.

Put on Your Dancing Shoes

Hailed as one of the best concert films ever created, director Jonathan Demme (Silence of the Lambs) captured the energy and eccentricities of a band known for pushing the limits of music and performance.

Make an Entrance

Lead singer David Byrne treats the concert like a story: He enters an empty stage with a boom box and sings the first song on the setlist solo, then welcomes the other members of the group to the stage one song at a time.

Steal the Spotlight

David Byrne Dancing
Cinecom/Everett Collection

Always a physical performer, Byrne infuses the stage and the film with contagious joy — jogging in place, dancing with lamps, and generally carrying the show’s high energy on his shoulders.

Suit Yourself

Byrne makes a splash in his “big suit,” a boxy business suit that grows with each song until he looks like a boy who raided his father’s closet. Don’t overthink it; on the DVD, the singer explains, “Music is very physical, and often the body understands it before the head.”

View from the Front Row

Stop Making Sense Band On Stage
Cinecom/Everett Collection

Demme (who also helmed 1987’s Swimming to Cambodia, the inspiration for this season’s Documentary Now! episode “Parker Gail’s Location is Everything”) films the show by putting viewers in the audience’s shoes. The camera rarely shows the crowd and never cuts to interviews or talking heads — except the ones onstage.

Let’s Get Digital

Tina Weymouth Keyboard
Cinecom/Everett Collection

Stop Making Sense isn’t just a good time — it’s also the first rock movie to be recorded entirely using digital audio techniques. The sound holds up more than 30 years later.

Out of Pocket

Talk about investing in your art: Talking Heads drummer Chris Frantz told Rolling Stone that the members of the band “basically put [their] life savings” into the movie, and they didn’t regret it.

Catch Documentary Now!’s tribute to Stop Making Sense when “Final Transmission” premieres Wednesday, October 12 at 10P on IFC.

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