THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN Sneak Peek Event Recap: Cast Surprises Attendees, New Trailer & Footage Detailed
Published: February 6, 2012 - 5:23pm
Today, Sony and Columbia Pictures hosted a special sneak peek event in 13 cities around the world that offered attending fans the first look at a new trailer and footage sizzle reel. Director Marc Webb and stars Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone and Rhys Ifans were in place in four of the locals to introduce the promos.
The Amazing Spider-Man is the story of Peter Parker (Garfield), an outcast high schooler who was abandoned by his parents as a boy, leaving him to be raised by his Uncle Ben (Sheen) and Aunt May (Field). Like most teenagers, Peter is trying to figure out who he is and how he got to be the person he is today. Peter is also finding his way with his first high school crush, Gwen Stacy (Stone), and together, they struggle with love, commitment, and secrets. As Peter discovers a mysterious briefcase that belonged to his father, he begins a quest to understand his parents' disappearance – leading him directly to Oscorp and the lab of Dr. Curt Connors (Ifans), his father's former partner. As Spider-Man is set on a collision course with Connors' alter-ego, The Lizard, Peter will make life-altering choices to use his powers and shape his destiny to become a hero.
At 3 PM today I attended the New York side of the much talked about Amazing Spider-Man movie multi-city screening event. Specific details about what was going to be shown were unavailable before the show started. Some attendees stood in line for over 6 hours just to guarantee themselves seats and, much like any other screening event where a specific fanbase is targeted, there was plenty of excitement to go around. But we, including the 40 or so press personnel who were present, didn't know what was actually going to be put on display; it was just exciting -- and a bit nerve-wracking for those who hold Spidey properties dear -- to be a part of the first big footage reveal. Sure we've had a teaser trailer, which was much more teaser than trailer, and two brief clips were shown at last year's San Diego Comic Con; but this was the first post-production -- read: fully-rendered, theater ready -- promotion. What ended up playing out was more intimate, quirky and enjoyable than I had hoped for, making it a memorable experience.
Once everyone was seated in our auditorium, director Marc Webb appeared in Los Angeles, Emma Stone and producers Avi Arad and Matt Tolmach were introduced in Rio de Janeiro, Rhys Ifans popped up in London and Andrew Garfield -- Peter Parker himself, walked into our theater in New York. A brief Q&A took place, but before it kicked off director Webb asked everyone to don their 3D glasses and watch the yet-to-be-released second trailer. This trailer really does a fantastic job of setting up the film's storyline.
The footage is chock full of beautifully shot 3D that dynamically balances the bright lights and dark underbelly of New York City from it's skyline to it's sewers. Emma Stone, Martin Sheen and Denis Leary offered hints of what may turn out to be very complicated, emotion-filled characters; there was plenty of real-world vigor in their performances. Andrew Garfield IS Peter Parker; and I don't mean that lightly. What we have yet to be shown in a Spider-Man film is Peter's brilliance and wild sense of humor, which are his most distinguishable aspects in and out of costume. Does he come across as an arrogant douchebag that won't shut up? Yes. That's the point. Roll with it.
Spidey's suit also looks great, especially in motion. Still images don't do it justice at all. Garfield -- who we already know performed most of the groundwork in the suit -- was agile, aggressive and lightning fast. The web-slinging scenes weren't 100% graceful, but I think a spastic feel was what they are going for. It also looks like Martin Sheen/Ben Parker will have plenty of scenes in the film before his inevitable demise, and I very much like the 'Ultimate Spider-Man' version of a slightly younger Uncle Ben and Aunt May (who is played by Sally Field). While action scenes were intense and exhilarating, the majority of the footage was very character driven and grounded. I left feeling like I had a firm grasp on who these people are and I want to know how their plight turns out. I honestly can't wait to see more.
Here are a few highlights of the scenes that played both in the trailer -- Update: which can be seen below -- and sizzle reel (not in any particular order)
- Peter Parker (Garfield) jumps down onto Gwen Stacy's (Emma Stone) fire escape ledge. She asks him how and why he did that since they're 20 stories up, he responds with "Your doorman's intimidating."
- Peter finds out his father worked at OSCORP by way of an old ID badge and a newspaper clipping of Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans - the film's eventual villain) standing next to him; all of which were inside a leather satchel Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen) forgot was in the attic.
- Flash Thompson is bullying another high school student by holding him upside down and rubbing his face into a tray of food. A circle of other students watch. Peter pushes through and asks Flash to put the kid down, who tells him to take a picture of the scene. When Peter refuses, Flash punches him in the face and kicks him in the gut. Scene ends with Peter groaning "I still won't take the picture".
- Dr. Connors gives a speech about being the foremost expert in the world on reptiles and, like doctors inflicted with the diseases they study, is ultimately attempting to "cure" his missing right arm through his research.
- Peter, using his laptop computer and some high-end tech, assembles his Spider-Man webshooters. First attempt backfires webbing into his face, second attempt it successfully fires across his bedroom and sticks to the opposing wall. We also wee him sewing his own suit.
- Several cut scenes of Peter getting in and out of his suit, stripping outside layers off to reveal the top or putting the mask on while he runs.
- A thief breaks into the driver's side of a car in a dark parking lot. When he sits down we see Spider-Man sitting in the backseat, who says something to the effect of "You know, if you're gonna steal cars, don't dress like a car thief. The carjacker replies with, "What are you, a cop?" to which Spider-Man says, "You think I look like a cop? In this skintight red and blue outfit?" This scene finishes playing out later when the two exit the car and the thief pulls a knife on Spider-Man, which makes his cower on his knees in mock fear, exclaiming "Is that a real knife? Not a knife! My only weakness!" He then fires a web "bullet" at the thief's hand, sticking it to the wall. The rest of the scene shows Spidey humorously toying with the thief while continuing to web him against the wall (pretending to sneeze, fastball pitching).
- Peter (after the incident that gave him his powers) lifts Flash Thompson by his shirt and pushes him against a set of lockers in the school hallway. Peter (offscreen) apparently hurt Flash to the point the school administration got involved and called Uncle Ben to come get him. Ben gives Peter a speech in the same hallway about the "choice" of responsibility. Gwen appears behind them and Ben gleefully points out (in a way that only an old man talking about modern technology can) that "I've seen you before. Oh, he has you on his computer!" When Ben leaves, Gwen and Peter talk. Peter awkwardly asks (or tries to) Gwen on a date and she agrees, but only after a great exchange regarding said computer picture.
- Spider-Man sits in the middle of a horizontally places web net he made inside the sewer system (you can see at least six round passageways in view) in an effort to find where Lizard is hiding, but he gets attacked from above. We also see that Lizard has a fully prehensile tail that wraps around Spider-Man's neck and chokes him.
- Post first encounter with Lizard, Gwen tends to Peter's wounds. He tells her that he has to stop Connors because he "helped create him". Gwen tells him that for as long as she could remember, her father put a badge on his shirt and a gun on his hip everyday and she didn't know when it might be the last time she would see him. Now she fears the same for Peter.
- Spider-Man and the Lizard battle it out on the roof of OSCORP tower. When the tower spire and pieces of the roof break apart and tumble down, Spidey dives down into open air to escape the falling debris. Peter and Lizard tackle each other midair and continue fighting all the way down till the scene changed.
- Captain Stacy (Denis Leary) gives a speech to reporters at a podium, stating that the he has issued an arrest warrant for the "masked vigilante" known as Spider-Man.
- New York Police surround Spider-Man at gunpoint after an altercation (which may or may not be the carjacking scene mentioned above). Spider-Man places his hands on his head and drops to his knees to surrender as instructed. Captain Stacy fully removes his mask but before he sees Peter's face, Peter sweeps his legs out and quickly beats the crap out of all the other cops.
After the trailer played and before the sizzle reel, a footage roll that played out like a 2D extended version of the trailer with some unfinished scenes, the cast and crew in attendance gave a few on-the-spot comments about their involvement in the production. It's one thing speaking to film stars in a press setting, and a completely different experience seeing how they affect their fans. You can't help but join in on their exuberance.
Emma Stone noted that her character Gwen Stacy is very different from Peter's later love interest Mary Jane Watson. She said that Gwen is the "ying" to MJ's "yang" and that, while MJ falls in love with Spider-Man, Gwen falls in love with Peter Parker.
Rhys Ifans says Dr. Connors will be a much different villain that we've had in any previous Spider-Man films because of his connection to Peter's parents. This, according to him, makes his relationship with Peter more intimate and eventually harder to deal with.
Andrew Garfield once again expressed how happy he was to have gotten the part. When asked why he agreed to play the ultra-popular comic character, he responded with, "Because I'm not an idiot... anyone here [gestures to the audience] would love the chance to do it". He went on to explain that Spider-Man is so important a character because he's an every-man, and anyone could be behind the iconic mask; even saying that an 'Ultimate Spider-Man' related half African American, half Hispanic actor may even be next. He was bashful at first but quickly grew with the excitement of his audience.
Overall, I have to say this was one of the most enjoyable "sneak peek" events I've been too. Although some I've attended in the past have been put together with cleaner efficiency and others revealed more footage/information, this one had a very welcoming, homey vibe. The actors spoke off-the-cuff and seems just an nervous to show the footage as the audience was to watch it. Usually, the more fanfare that comes along with a film's promotion (free food, swag, etc) hints at the need to mask the quality of the film itself; not so this time around. While The Amazing Spider-Man is still months away fro hitting theaters, and considering all the factors that may eventually hinder it's success, I have come to except that the studio, cast and crew involved very much believe in this film. After today, I believe in it too.
The Amazing Spider-Man stars Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans, Denis Leary, Campbell Scott, Irrfan Khan, with Martin Sheen and Sally Field. The film is directed by Marc Webb from a screenplay written by James Vanderbilt, based on the Marvel Comic Book by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko. Laura Ziskin, Avi Arad, and Matt Tolmach are producing the film in association with Marvel Entertainment for Columbia Pictures, which will open in theaters everywhere in 3D on July 3, 2012.