There’s a new trailer for The Amazing Spider-Man coming, and today audiences across the world - London, Rio, Rome, New York, LA - got a chance to see it, as well as a sizzle reel of footage from the film. What we saw was largely familiar to those who caught the Comic Con presentation last summer, although with more FX finished Sony was able to put The Lizard on better display, showing the villain actually tussling with Spider-Man high above New York City.
The trailer: I liked it. The big new takeaway, to be honest, is that Spider-Man’s web shooters flash red when used. I’m not exactly sure what the point of that is - just to make shooting the webs seem more dynamic?
The sizzle reel offered a bit more. It has a scene of Flash Thompson bullying a nerd, holding him upside down so his face is smushed in a plate of food. In the old days that would have been Puny Parker, but this is the new Punk Peter, so he steps out to tell Flash to leavet he kid alone, earning a punch in the face for his troubles.
The elimination of Peter Parker as classic pointdexter is somewhat made up for by showing him as a real science whiz. We see him doing trial and error work with his webshooters, and there’s a scene where he shows Curt Connors a complex equation on a blackboard, one that really impresses the scientist. Connors, who worked with Peter’s dad Richard at Oscorp, says he sees the father in the son.
Does that line have meaning? The film is taking from a lot of the Ultimate comics, where Peter’s dad was a biologist. That storyline also got really mixed up in cloning - could this reboot have Richard Parker playing with Peter’s DNA? Could Peter become Spider-Man because of something his father did to him in utero? That would suck, in my opinion - once again we end up with a ‘chosen one’ hero. So boring.
As for the extra Lizard stuff: it seems that Peter gives Connors the extra science needed to grow his arm back/become the Lizard. There’s a scene where the Lizard is attacking a bridge (Manhattan Bridge?) and Spidey is webbing cars as the monster flings them off the side, leading to a nice (at this time unfinished) shot of a bunch of cars hanging by threads over the East River. The target of the Lizard’s rampage is Irrfan Khan’s Dr. Ratha.
There’s also some of the final battle between Spidey and the Lizard, taking place on top of the Oscorp Building. It seems that the Lizard has some variety of doomsday weapon going on, creating a blue energy field above the building (my spoilery guess: he’s using that to create an army of lizard men. Shades of Magneto in X-Men). There’s also a scene where an enormous antenna collapses, sending Spidey falling over the side of the building. I’m betting his web shooters are empty in classic Spider-Man fashion.
The action looks more practical than Raimi’s film. There’s also an energy to the web slinging that was absent from the first three films. As shown at Comic Con, this Spider-Man is the wisecracker that comics fans have been waiting for. The rivalry between Spidey and Captain Stacy seems big here - there was no mention of J Jonah Jameson at all, so I think Dennis Leary takes on that role.
Emma Stone seems good, and she has nice chemistry with Andrew Garfield. The majority of her scenes were ones shown at Comic Con, so I didn’t really get much of a new look at her role. She definitely knows Peter is Spider-Man before the end, and she talks about how she hates never knowing if her cop father will be home in a scene where she’s surely guilting our hero.
I wish Marc Webb had done more of a Q&A, because I want to know why they opted to do the origin again. I think I know the answer - this version of Peter is slightly different from Raimi’s, emphasizing his science background and making him less of a geek, more of a Trenchcoat Mafia type - but I would have liked to hear it articulated from his point of view.
There’s one more thing I took away from this footage presentation: I’m worried that Uncle Ben’s death is changed. In the footage Ben has to come to school when Peter gets in trouble for humiliating Flash Thompson using his new powers. He tells his nephew that because of this incident, he had to change his shift at work. I am willing to bet that this shift change leads to his death in some way. But the footage (which felt really comprehensive) doesn’t have Peter using his powers to make money, or a scene where he lets a criminal go. Could Ben’s death just come from the shift change? That would be a massive disappointment, as the set-up of his death in the original origin is, frankly, perfect. Again, there’s not enough to know, and I’m not against this film changing up things to find its own identity, but not having Ben killed by a crook Peter let get away is like having Bruce Wayne’s parents killed by a drunk driver. It just doesn’t work.
Everything I saw looks good. The footage has a nice energy, and Punk Peter seems acceptable enough. Garfield seems great. The Lizard still looks crummy to me, but I just simply don’t like the design. The missing lab coat says to me that this Lizard is more monster, less man. I hope I’m wrong about that - Connors transforming into a brainless beast isn’t interesting.
I’m on board for The Amazing Spider-Man, even as it feels like a too-soon reboot. I don’t mind someone riffing on the material in a new way, I’m just hoping I don’t have to spend an hour reliving stuff that Sam Raimi did perfectly well a decade ago.