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.