As part of its promotional ramp-up for The Amazing Spider-Man, Sony hosted events with the film’s principals in different cities around the world today, all simultaneously and linked up via some kind of video technology that I will never, ever understand. Stars Andrew Garfield (New York City), Emma Stone (Rio de Janeiro), Rhys Ifans (London) and director Marc Webb (Los Angeles) presented a new and much improved trailer for The Amazing Spider-Man (as well as a “sizzle reel” that you will not see which revealed even more footage) and answered some questions about the film. Among Garfield’s remarks was one that delighted the assembled fans and press in attendance: he said that he hopes the next Spider-Man will be “a half-Hispanic, half-African American actor,” an obvious reference to Ultimate Spider-Man star Miles Morales.
Some SPOILERS follow.
Answering a canned question from a fan on the Internet, Webb said he was eager to take on the Spider-Man reboot because of the elements Spidey that have yet to be film. He listed the “Gwen Stacy saga” as a crucial component of his work on the franchise as well as the presence of the Lizard (“One of my all-time favorite villains”) and the opportunity to depict “the emotional consequences of being an orphan.” Indeed, the footage we saw dealt explicitly with Peter Parker’s late father, and how his life has impacted the young hero. Webb also said that The Amazing Spider-Man presents a “more realistic, more naturalistic Peter Parker,” which we can confirm is absolutely true based on the material presented.
“How is Gwen Stacy different from Mary Jane Watson?” was the question put to Emma Stone, who described the characters as “polar opposites.” For one thing, Gwen is a Valedictorian and comes from an affluent, close-knit family, Stone explained, while Mary Jane came from humble circumstances and did not enjoy a good relationship with her father. Also, Stone said, “Gwen falls in love with Peter Parker, while I think Mary Jane fell in love with Spider-Man.”
Rhys Ifans said that “unlike other comic book villains,” the baddies of Spider-Man’s world are “human, real and flawed.” He explained that Dr. Connors aka the Lizard was a friend of Peter’s late father, which makes for a “complex and emotional relationship” with Peter/Spider-Man.
Asked why he took the part of Spider-Man, Andrew Garfield deadpanned, “Because I’m not an idiot.” The actor said “Everyone wants to be Spider-Man. Spider-Man belongs to everybody, not just to me. I’m just the guy in the suit.” Garfield said he’s just one piece of a lineage that includes former Spider-Man actor Tobey Maguire and, “Hopefully, next time it will be a half-Hispanic, half-African American actor,” a remark which drew applause from the Miles Morales fans assembled around the world.
As for the footage, we were presented with the new trailer for The Amazing Spider-Man that will be made available online a little later, as well as a sizzle reel which assembled some additional moments from the film. Skeptical viewers of the initial trailer will likely be won over by quite a lot of the material in the new version, which presents a Spider-Man with far more attitude, humor and charm than we’ve seen in other films. In one memorable sequence, we see Spidey berate a would-be car thief for thinking he was a cop despite the fact that he’s wearing a skintight red and blue costume. In the sizzle reel, Spider-Man executes what can only be described as epic spider trolling on this hapless crook. I suspect that this scene will be thought of as revelatory for Spidey fans, as the moment where the comic book hero, who’s famous for his endearingly obnoxious sense of humor, finally came to life in cinema.
The footage contained some action bits and web-swinging that is more or less inline with what we’ve come to expect from Spider-Man films, but perhaps with a more realistic aesthetic than that employed by Sam Rami in his earlier trilogy. There’s certainly loads of super-science stuff going on in this film, and it seems that fans will be treated to an in-depth sequence that documents the development of Spider-Man’s web-shooters.
Most impressive was a scene in which a distinctly Romita-esque Emma Stone joins Andrew Garfield for some authentically awkward “will-you-go-out-with-me” exchanges in the halls of their high school. It was utterly natural and extremely cute. Uncle Ben is present for some of it, and violates Bro Code in a manner most egregious and one that I suspect must play some role in his eventual death (which may or may not occur in this film, I don’t really know).