Sony’s revamped Spider-Man cast his widest web yet today, as the studio set up simultaneous sneak peeks in theaters all over the world to tease footage from its upcoming series reboot The Amazing Spider-Man. With director Marc Webb touting the film in Los Angeles, and stars Andrew Garfield in New York, Emma Stone in Rio de Janeiro, and Rhys Ifans in London, the new Spider-Man crew showed off a second trailer and plenty of scenes, but still, the shadow cast by Sam Raimi’s three recent Spider-Man blockbusters loomed large. With those movies still freshly in mind, then, what did Amazing Spider-Man have that was new?
The new love interest
Fans were initially surprised when the redheaded Emma Stone was cast in the film as someone other than Peter Parker’s longtime love, the similarly auburn-haired Mary Jane. Instead, she’s playing blonde Gwen Stacy, who preceded M.J. in the comic-book continuity … and met an untimely end (we’ll see if the big-screen version follows suit). “Gwen is pretty much the yin to Mary Jane’s yang,” explained Stone. Unlike M.J., Gwen’s got a happy home life — though her policeman father, played by Denis Leary, will make things tough for Spider-Man — and Stone hastened to remind us, “Gwen falls in love with Peter Parker, and I think Mary Jane fell in love with Spider-Man.” Meow!
The new trailer
Webb showed off a new, second trailer for the movie (where the audio was accidentally synched a half-beat too slow … whoops!) that put more of an emphasis on Gwen Stacy and Peter Parker’s new arch-enemy the Lizard. We saw a lot more wise-cracking and web-swinging in this new montage, and thankfully, most of it was more convincing than the breathtaking but video-game-y sequence that ended the previous trailer. Webb then switched to 2-D for an extended sizzle reel that contained much of the same footage he showed off at Comic-Con last summer: Peter and Gwen shyly flirt, while Peter follows the trail left behind by his deceased parents, which leads to Dr. Curt Connors. This time, Webb wisely shied away from showing too much of the eventual Connors transformation into the Lizard, a major CG special effect that still seems at odds with his new, more grounded approach.
The new tone
“We want to treat Peter Parker in a more realistic, naturalistic way,” said Webb. Translation: No more corny dance sequences! Instead, Peter and Gwen have a low-key chemistry that could have come from a Sundance indie; Peter’s got a new, emotionally grounded backstory (Webb stressed that the mystery of what happened to his parents will be Peter’s driving motivation); and even the filmmaking seemed more subdued: You won’t find any of Sam Raimi’s giddy dutch angles here.
The new Spidey?
What made Garfield, a British up-and-comer turning 30, want to play Spider-Man? “Because I’m not an idiot,” Garfield cracked. “It’s the thing everyone in this room wants … and it belongs to everyone in this room.” The always self-effacing Garfield repeatedly made his case that the role of Peter Parker was greater than any actor who might play him, whether that’s Tobey Maguire, Garfield himself, or even the next guy. And when they do hire a different Spider-Man, Garfield slyly encouraged Marvel to embrace their new, Donald Glover–resembling comic book hero: “Hopefully next time, it’ll be a half-Hispanic, half-African-American actor,” Garfield said, to applause.