***UPDATE: See the new trailer here***
Today I attended a special preview of “The Amazing Spider-Man,” the reboot to the Spider-Man franchise that is due out on July 3rd. Right off the bat let me tell you that the early impressions were very good.
The main tag line that they are running with is “The untold story begins.” Is it me or is this kind of funny considering it’s a reboot, which would technically mean that it’s a RE-telling. Anyway we were first shown a new theatrical trailer in 3-D. Any worries about the costume based on stills can be put aside. While there are some differences, once Spidey is in action, you can barely tell the difference. It’s Spider-Man in all his glory. It is darker, but definitely not the “Dark Knight” type of dark. We also got a full look at the Lizard. Aside from being totally naked, there isn’t a whole lot to complain about here. He is definitely larger than Spider-Man (Andrew Garfield). Perhaps twice as big. Based on everything I’ve seen they could be going the same route as “Batman Begins” and “Iron Man,” where the movie is more about the journey to becoming a hero, not necessarily the big villain. There may be only one big fight with the Lizard, as Dr. Conners (Rhys Ifans) would progress to his full form just as Peter Parker learns what being a hero means (or something).
After watching the 3-D trailer we were treated to some unfinished scenes from the movie. Basically these were all extended scenes from what we saw in the trailer. It opened with Flash Thompson bullying a kid while trying to get Peter Parker (a school photographer) to take a picture of it. He refuses, and gets beat up by Flash for it. This Peter is definitely more bold and less of a dork than the previous model. He’s also not a complete weakling. Reboot Parker is essentially an average awkward teenager. We then saw Peter fighting back (possibly after his spider incident) and needing Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen) to come get him from school. Uncle Ben appears to play a much larger part in this movie than any of the previous ones. It’s possible he could even make it to the end (to get killed off in a sequel). Let me also add that it’s really nice to see an Aunt May (Sally Field) that isn’t 103 for a change. This scene ended with Parker asking Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) out on a date “or whatever.” Garfield is 28 and Stone is 24, but they definitely play the awkward high school roles well here. It’s adolescence at it’s most painful.
Next Parker discovers his dad’s old briefcase in the attic. It turns out Peter’s dad was a scientist who worked with Dr. Conners at, wait for it, OSCORP (cue Green Goblin for the sequel). This prompts Peter to go to Oscorp in an attempt to learn more about his father from Dr. Conners. It is in this facility that Peter stumbles into an questionable area and gets bit by a radioactive spider (but you knew that already didn’t you?). Revealing his father to be a scientist gives at least some explanation to how high school Peter is able to solve an equation that all the Oscorp staff couldn’t, and how he is able to make web shooters on his own. It turns out the equation Parker solves plays a large part in turning Conners into the Lizard, as Parker later says that he created this mess and he has to clean it up.
Don’t worry, there was plenty of Spider-Man action as well. Peter begins to notice his powers at home, crushing his alarm clock and pulling all of the fixtures out in the bathroom (think bathroom scene in “Wolverine” (actually wait, never think of “Wolverine”)). Parker then experiments with his leaping abilities at a construction site, eventually deciding to make web shooters when he sees a spider using webs. No reason is given at this point for why he decides to fight crime, but what we do get is pretty awesome. Where Tobey Maguire Spidey is mostly all business in fight scenes, reboot Spidey is definitely more of a wise ass. He does a lot of toying with the thug he takes out, not having the same rage as the old version. He’s also just more clever in general. We see glimpses of this early on when Flash is beating him up, but with his powers and the mask on he takes a whole new personality. Reminded me a little bit of Deadpool (only a little).
There is also a scene where Peter goes to Gwen’s house for dinner, with her father George Stacy (Dennis Leary), a police captain who is out to apprehend Spider-Man. It is a much different tone than the J. Jonah Jameson character as Stacy has legit reasoning behind wanting to stop Spider-Man (a masked vigilante), while Jameson was only out to sell papers. It displays a lot of what George’s character is about, and leads to another scene where the police surround Spider-Man, and even unmask him, before he breaks lose and presumably gets away without his face being seen.
Things wrapped up with some footage of the Lizard and Spider-Man in action. A little bit in the sewers, a little bit on a bridge where it looked like Lizard was flinging cars off the bridge for Spider-Man to have to catch. All classic Spidey action. Overall I think the movie is definitely going in the right direction. It will be a true origin story and will certainly be more accurate to the comics than Sam Raimi’s version. Now a lot of the changes Raimi made made sense in the movie and Marc Webb’s reboot has a lot to live up to. Whether a more accurate take translates better to film or not is still anyones guess, but this early look gives me a lot of hope.