This July, Spider-Man swings back into theaters with a new cast, director, and vision for the famous web-slinging superhero. Rather than continue the franchise after 2007’s overcrowded, budget-busting Spider-Man 3, Sony chose to reboot the franchise with British actor Andrew Garfield (The Social Network, Never Let Me Go) as teenage hero Peter Parker and 500 Days of Summer director Marc Webb behind the camera for The Amazing Spider-Man — a film that promises to tell the “untold story” of Marvel’s friendly neighborhood wall-crawler.
Just before the latest trailer for The Amazing Spider-Man premiered earlier this week, Sony offered a select group of journalists and Spider-fans a sneak peek at the 3D version of the trailer and some additional footage from the film. And though there’s still a lot of time between now and the movie’s July 3 opening, the new footage definitely raised expectations for Peter Parker’s return to big-screen adventures.
Here are five reasons our preview of The Amazing Spider-Man has us more excited about the film’s arrival this summer.
Could the 3D actually be… good?
Let’s face it: the 3D element of movies has become less of an added bonus and more of a warning sign at this point. However, there have been some films that bucked that trend and provided a cool 3D experience that added to the film’s visual tone rather than distracting from it. In most cases, these projects were actually filmed in 3D instead of being converted to the format after being filmed with standard 2D cameras. The Amazing Spider-Man director Marc Webb is clearly aware of this distinction, and has been adamant about making sure everyone knows that his take on Spider-Man was indeed filmed in 3D, and after seeing the trailer in three glorious dimensions, we understand why he feels the need to reiterate that point.
The footage in the trailer was clean and crisp with its use of 3D imagery, and there was no evidence of the blurring and gimmicky additions that usually accompany poor 3D visuals. And like good 3D films tend to do, the added dimension made the footage feel like it pushed the resolution to a higher level of high-def visuals. Here’s hoping that holds true for the rest of the movie, but from what we’ve seen, The Amazing Spider-Man could indeed fall into that small category of films that actually benefit from 3D visuals.
No Green Goblin (Yet)
While we’re certain to receive a hint or two in The Amazing Spider-Man that a showdown with the hero’s arch enemy is on the horizon, what we’ve seen of the film so far makes it pretty clear that this is a one-supervillain adventure. Along with seeing lots of footage of Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans), there were also quite a few scenes featuring The Lizard, Connors’ reptilian alter ego and Spidey’s nemesis in the new reboot. Connors appears to be working at OsCorp — Norman Osborn’s company — so there’s definitely some foreshadowing there, but it’s nice to see that we won’t be getting another movie that has Green Goblin haunting the narrative in one form or another. A fresh start to the franchise is a good thing in this case, as we’re probably not alone in thinking the whole Green Goblin thing was getting a little tired in the previous Spider-Man movies.
Mechanical Web-Shooters! Hooray for Science!
As the new trailer confirms (and the extra footage we saw reiterated), The Amazing Spider-Man is taking a back-to-basics approach with Peter Parker’s web-slinging abilities, and making his webs artificial instead of organic (as they were in the previous franchise). From the footage we saw, the idea for the web-shooters seems to come from Peter’s father, who was not only an accomplished scientist but also a former partner of Dr. Connors. This opens the door to another aspect of Peter Parker’s personality in the comics that never made it to the screen in the original movie franchise: the fact that, in addition to having all of his spider powers, he’s also a total nerd when it comes to science.
We’re looking forward to seeing how the web-shooters fit into the greater narrative involving Dr. Connors and Peter’s parents, and how Peter learns to master these wild little tools (and keep them out of his enemies’ hands). The footage we saw hints that Peter might have some trouble getting the hang of them, as there’s a great scene in which one of the shooters misfires and causes him to get his face stuck to the shooter.
Don’t get us wrong, we loved Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker, but by the time Spider-Man 3 rolled around, it was clear that a younger, more energized take on the character could benefit the franchise. From what we saw in the new footage, Andrew Garfield should be a welcome change for audiences, as his take on Peter Parker (and Spider-Man) felt significantly more light-hearted, witty, and unpredictable — which is exactly how Spider-Man should be (most of the time, at least). Much of the footage of Spider-Man in action was filled with shots of him leaping around while pouring out a steady string of jokes to go along with his webs. Garfield’s lean physique also strikes a different chord than Maguire did when you see him in costume, as Spider-Man genuinely looks like a skinny teenager in tights — right up until he starts twisting, flipping, and going all spider-hopping crazy on the bad guys, that is.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2
The Amazing Spider-Man is the first film in a planned franchise, and history has proven that it’s usually the second film that ends up being the best of the bunch in superhero franchises. The Dark Knight is widely regarded as a better film than Batman Begins, for example, and the same goes for X2: X-Men United, Superman II, Blade II, and yes, Spider-Man 2. (Okay, Iron Man 2 and Batman Returns might be the exceptions here, but you get the idea). In contrast, once you get past that second film in a franchise, it’s usually all downhill… and quickly.
With The Amazing Spider-Man, there’s a great opportunity to establish the character’s new mythology and tell that “untold story” the studio keeps going on about, and then showcase this new version of the character in an awesome adventure that doesn’t carry the narrative baggage of a third, fourth, or (*shudder*) fifth movie in a series. Spider-Man 2 was our favorite of the bunch in the original franchise, so here’s hoping a good showing for The Amazing Spider-Man means an even better sequel.