The Amazing Spider-Man trailer and preview footage thoughts

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Preview James Hunt 7 Feb 2012 - 06:06
The Amazing Spider-Man

James popped along to a special preview of footage from The Amazing Spider-Man, where the new trailer also debuted. Here's what he thought...

It’s another five months until The Amazing Spider-Man hits cinemas worldwide, but last night, fans and critics alike were treated to a sneak peek of footage at a preview event which brought together the film’s stars, as well as audiences of Spider-philes from cities worldwide.

Initially introduced by Chris Hewitt, a live link-up connected the audience to similar events in Los Angeles, New York and Rio de Janeiro, with the film’s stars and creators in attendance – Director Mark Webb in LA, Emma Stone (Gwen Stacy) and producers Avi Arad & Matt Tolmach in Rio, Rhys Ifans (The Lizard) in London and Andrew Garfield (Peter Parker) from – where else? - New York. Each was greeted with rapturous reactions, with Stone and Garfield particularly surprised at the strong receptions they got, just managing to mumble out some nervous thank-yous over the applause.

To begin with, Webb introduced a preview showing of the new trailer, in full, glorious, artistically redundant 3D. Available online soon (if not already!), the new trailer is everything the previous, somewhat lacklustre one wasn’t. The moodiness has vanished, replaced by comic book action, dizzying cityscapes and actors so beautiful that they’ll bring tears to your troll-like faces. And best of all, there wasn’t a first-person sequence in sight.

A brief Q&A followed, delivered from one city to the next via the satellite link-up. Webb was first to deliver his impression of the film, stating that this one focuses more on Peter’s relationship with his parents (er…) and the emotional effects of losing them at a young age. He also said he hoped to bring a more “naturalistic” treatment of the character to the screen.

Stone got an easy question – How is Gwen different from Mary-Jane? – drawing muted groans from the London crowd of Spider-aficionados, all of whom could answer it in ten different ways. A tentative Stone eventually concluded that Gwen is “the Yin to Mary-Jane’s Yang” by virtue of her good-girl persona and strong parental relationships, and stated that where MJ fell in love with Spider-Man, Gwen falls in love with Peter. Then she looked around hopefully for some confirmation that she had said the right thing. Ah well, close enough.

Asked what makes the Lizard different from other Spider-Man villains, Ifans explained that Spider-Man’s foes all tend to be quite human and flawed, mirroring Peter Parker, and that the Lizard specifically worked because of his connection to Peter’s father.

Finally, Garfield answered his question – why do you want to be Spider-Man? – with quick, Spidey-like wit: “Because I’m not an idiot!” Unlike Stone’s plainly memorised regurgitation of the character, and Ifans’ relative ignorance of the comic version, Garfield threw himself into explaining his excitement with enthusiasm and knowledge. “Everyone in the room wants to be Spider-Man” he said, “And it belongs to everyone. It could be anyone behind that mask, and right now it’s me, and before it was Tobey, and maybe next time it’ll be a half-Black, half-Latino actor. I hope so.”

Although the majority of people laughed, perhaps confused by the oblique reference to Miles Morales, the half-Black, half-Latino Ultimate Spider-Man who recently replaced Peter Parker – but I couldn’t help smiling. That, right there, is a fan. He didn’t need someone to coach that speech for him – he’s had it inside him his entire life. No matter how good or bad this film turns out to be, Andrew Garfield has won me over.

With the Q&A concluded, Webb introduced an 8-minute sizzle reel, shown in 2D due to unfinished effects, though he was keen to emphasise that the film was fully shot in 3D. The results could not have been more encouraging.

SPOILERS From here!

Highlights included clips of Peter’s high-school life before Spider-Man, where things start off quite close to the Raimi film – the young photographer and nerd getting into fights with Flash Thompson – though in this case, he’s protecting someone else, taking the punches as a result. Later, the (presumably powered-up) Peter lifts Flash up against a locker by his neck.

It soon veers into its own territory, showing Peter receiving a dressing-down from Uncle Ben follows, in which delivers the immortal lesson (without the immortal line…) as being Peter’s father’s creed. He then informs Peter that his actions mean he’s had to change shifts at work, so Peter will have to collect his Aunt. Looks like they’re doing away with the 'wrestler' portion of the origin story, then…

The scene with Ben segues into an awkward encounter between Gwen and Peter, where the two do nothing but mumble adorably at one another (Naturalistic Spider-Man indeed!) in a sequence we can only dub 500 Days of Spider-Man.

The romance between Gwen and Peter is clearly a big portion of the film, as a later scene shows Peter sitting in at dinner with the Stacys, defending Spider-Man against Captain Stacy. But that’s it for talking! The rest of the reel shows Peter and Connors in the moments before their transformations, then a comedic montage of Peter waking up with his powers (completely different to Raimi’s approach!).

We also see Peter looking through his father’s old effects, creating a costume by hand, and showing him tweaking something that looks very much like a web-shooter. We see Spider-Man chased by the police. Stalked by The Lizard. Web slinging, buildings toppling, and best of all – some actual jokes! Spider-Man wisecracks were the one thing about the character that Raimi failed to nail, so seeing Spider-Man mock a car thief for dressing like a car thief or mocking a crook who pulls a knife on him (“Knives! My one weakness! How did you know?”) makes it clear that those emo-Spider-Man trailers were, thankfully, a misfire.

SPOILERS END.

The reel ended, the stars bid farewell, with an excitable Garfield praising the crowd and telling audiences that the film was out “Later this year! I don’t know when!” before being reminded: July 3rd. It’s already in my calendar.

In London, we were then treated to a brief Q&A with Rhys Ifans, who was drew laughter from the crowd in typical Welsh form – self-deprecating and monosyllabic humour. After delivering a somewhat rambling response to the question about the origins of his Lizard (Ultimate or Silver Age comics? Eventual conclusion: both), one fan asked if the Lizard would grow a snout at any point during the film, since the character’s visual is considerably different from the comic version’s (the pictures of the action figure are out there, and reflect what we saw onscreen). Ifans’ response? “No, but he could smell you a mile off.” Er, right then.

Concluding with the distribution of a free t-shirt for every attendee  worldwide (a universal currency), the preview was undeniably a success, and has single-handedly turned my opinion of this film completely around after a succession of disappointing trailer and promo shots.

Is it perfect? Not by a long shot. But it looks very, very good. Better than Raimi’s origin? Time will tell – but if nothing else, it proves that the battle for best superhero film of the summer is far from a foregone conclusion.

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