They won me over.
Sony played an extended clip reel from The Amazing Spider-Man in Hall H - complete with wires and green screens and in 2D - and it won me over. While the film’s lighting scheme remains a little dark for my taste the tone seemed quite different from what we saw in the trailer. There was some wonderful interplay between Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone as Peter and Gwen, chatting in a hallway at Midtown Science High School. Martin Sheen brought all the great authority of President Bartlett to a scene where he’s angry at a Peter who has been using his new powers to get revenge on kids who bullied him. And there was some delightful moments of Spider-Man clowning around and cracking wise on a thug.
Then they lost me.
Well, not all the way. But after watching some strong, personal scenes and some great, practical action - lots of Spidey swinging above New York streets - they introduced the Lizard. And he’s huge, brawny and very, very CGI. Some have compared him to a buffed up Killer Croc, I think he looks kind of like the original V aliens on steroids. After some nicely atmospheric shots of Curt Connors as he changes - including one subway shot that looked like it belongs in a black and white Universal film - the Lizard is introduced when he emerges from a demolished toilet in a girls rest room.
The facial design isn’t the problem - it was pointed out that the Lizard’s face sort of (but not completely) resembles Steve Ditko’s original design - but the bulgy hugeness of the rest of the body. As well as the utter pixelated quality. The Lizard in the bathroom scene felt like it was from a completely different film than everything else we had seen; the rest of the footage was small and personal and so very wonderfully practical… and then this.
At this point I’m not ready to pass any judgments on the film. I think the trailer mis-sold the movie, at least based on the less than ten minutes we saw in Hall H. Andrew Garfield is playing a different Peter Parker - he’s less square than the familiar character, more brooding, rides a skateboard, probably listens to angry music - but he seems strong in the role. Before the panel Garfield, dressed in a cheap Spidey costume, delivered a really heartfelt speech about what Peter Parker meant to him growing up, how the character gave him hope and strength. That alone made me certain he’s right for the part, but the footage sealed the deal.
Still, I will say that this looks like a slightly schizophrenic film, like a movie that set out to be smaller and personal and practical but got bigger, FX-driven aspects welded on. There’s no way to truly be sure, though, and I’m keeping an open mind. So take this away: the trailer isn’t a good representation of what’s in the film.