With all the buzz surrounding this year’s The Dark Knight Rises and The Avengers, it might have been easy to forget that Sony’s successful multi-billion dollar franchise Spider-man is getting a reboot with Marc Webb‘s The Amazing Spider-man. On Tuesday February 7 (February 6 in the US and other territories), fans around the world were amongst the first to see the brand new trailer in 3D, along with a sizzle reel of new footage. The Reel Bits was pleased to be invited to this screening.
The event took place in 13 cities across the globe, with Sydney the only Australian city to take part in the screening. Held at the Event Cinemas on George Street, the assembled guests were treated to t-shirts and one of the cinema’s biggest screens to see the two distinct pieces of footage. The first thing screened was the trailer, which we won’t bother describing as it is now all over the web. What we will add is that the footage looked amazing in 3D, the only footage that we got to see in 3D on the day. Not everything we saw in the sizzle reel was finished, with some effects to be inserted and wires visible, but we saw enough to be suitably impressed. Be warned: there be spoilers ahead, matey.
The “sizzle reel” that played began with Flash Thompson (Chris Zylka) bullying another student, demanding Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) take a photo of the event. Peter refuses, and is promptly beaten himself. He explains the bruises to Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen) as having fallen off his skateboard. After being tormented more, Peter finally fights back, and in a familiar moment, he is reprimanded by Uncle Ben for not having restraint. In what could be a foreboding moment, Ben tells Peter than he has to work a late shift thanks to Peter’s antics, and Peter will have to pick up Aunt May. Sounds like the perfect fodder for a guilt-stricken Peter if that is the moment Ben is killed.
Shortly after, Peter and soon-to-be-love-interest Gwen Stacey (Emma Stone) have an awkward conversation about going out. This is a wonderful character moment between the two, not only showing a natural chemistry between the rising actors, but the strength of the writing. This is the story of a high-school student after all, and while these may be the two best-looking high school students in the world, they look great together on-screen. Anther great piece like this is at the Stacey family home, as Captain Stacey (Denis Leary) and Peter debate whether Spider-man is a menace, with Peter controversially arguing that Spidey is doing things that the police can’t. This scene also makes it into the trailer.
The montage of pieces that follows is classic Spider-man, sure to reassure those who felt let down by an Emo dancing Peter Parker and Thomas Haden Church in a stripey t-shirt. The origin of Spider-man is shown in an irradiated room full of spiders, almost making it destiny that Peter would be bitten. We don’t see the actual biting, but we do see the following morning, where he is trying to come to terms with his new powers, breaking everything in the bathroom in the process. We learn that Peter has in his possession an attache case his father left behind, and that this may hold some secrets to ‘the untold story’ of his past. It also draws out a connection between Parker the elder and Dr. Connors (Rhys Ifans), who is working on the serum that will eventually turn him into the monstrous Lizard.
Fans rejoice as we see Peter designing his web-shooters, which shoot out a very cool-looking fine tensile stream. The other thing to be pleased about is the amount of humour and wisecracking, which fans of the comic (particularly the current run of The Avenging Spider-man) will be incredibly pleased with. In addition to taunting a perp with his web-shooters, there is a car theft sequence which sees Spider-man sitting in the back of a car telling the thief that he should probably not look so obvious. When he is mistaken for the police, Peter quips about whether the police are likely to be getting around in red and blue spandex.
This all leads to the Lizard rampage on a New York bridge (possibly the Brooklyn Bridge), with cars flipped and ripped open. We don’t see huge amounts of the Lizard, but having already seen bits of Connor’s transformation, we get claws and scaly arms. This is most likely the big confrontation of the film, and is vaguely reminiscent of the Golden Gate Bridge sequence in the surprise hit Rise of the Planet of the Apes. That we are getting the same vibe from this film that we did in our positive preview of last year’s sleeper is indicative of how much potential The Amazing Spider-man has.
While we were initially skeptical about this reboot, it looks like it in incredibly safe hands. Sam Raimi’s excellent first two entries will forever be cinematic greats, but this new film looks like it has successfully captured something for both the masses and the comic book fans. We can’t wait until July.
We need to thank Sony for inviting us to this screening, and the fan response – it was great to be part of such a buzz-worthy event.