The Amazing Spider-Man Footage Sydney Preview Screening

FilmInk\'s Emmet O\'Cuana was privy to a handful of exclusive scenes from Mark Webb\'s \'The Amazing Spider-Man - which has fans excited and wary in equal measured - and gives us his take on the predicted tone of the upcoming reboot...



A select group of Australian fans were recently given a chance to view not only the new trailer to Sony Pictures\' re-launched Spider-Man franchise, but some additional footage from the movie with a pre-filmed introduction from director Marc Webb. Managing Director of Sony Pictures Australia, Stephen Basil-Jones, led the proceedings announcing that The Amazing Spider-Man featured \"a new director, new stars and a new story\", before making the aside that those in attendance \"probably know more than I do\" about the Marvel Comics character.

Instead Basil-Jones complimented Webb\'s abilities as a director, noting how 500 Days of Summer demonstrated a great feel for contemporary story and youth, as well as praising star Andrew Garfield\'s turn as Eduardo Saverin in The Social Network. Emma Stone was also singled out for praise with Basil-Jones proclaiming her a superstar in the making. With the notable absence of character Mary Jane from the picture, previously played by Kirsten Dunst in the Sam Raimi iterations of the franchise, Basil-Jones described Stone\'s character Gwen Stacy as a confidante of Peter Parker\'s, who knows of his double-life as the masked vigilante.

It was a telling aspect of the film to stress, as the character of Gwen Stacy has only briefly appeared in previous Spider-Man movies. Sony is attempting to emphasise just how different this retelling of the story is, given that it is only ten years since Sam Raimi\'s film was released.

The trailer itself, as well as the additional footage screened, outlines that intent quite clearly. The web-slinging hero was shown to be a dab hand at the mid-battle banter and mockery of his opponents, an essential aspect of the comic book version and sorely lacking from Raimi\'s take. His scientific abilities – including designing the web-dispensers that allow him to swing from the city roof-tops – are back, once again a call back to the comics instead of the organic web-shooters. While this should make the purists happy, what is also interesting about the new film is the role of Peter Parker\'s parents and their connection to the villain of the piece – the Lizard, played by Rhys Ifans.

Following on from Basil-Jones\' comments on Webb\'s interest in character development, the footage also dealt largely with the civilian life of Peter Parker. His troubled life at high school, attempts at a romance with Gwen Stacy and clashes with her father Captain Stacy (Dennis Leary) over the dinner table all featured. Martin Sheen brings his customary avuncular wryness to the role of Uncle Ben, although purist fans beware once again – it looks like the famous \"with great power comes great responsibility\" line may actually be attributed to Parker\'s father.

The extended scenes shown were drawn mostly from beats featured in the trailer. A cute meeting between Peter and Gwen in a school hallway is not only amusing, with Sheen playing a winking Cupid, but underlines a nice take on the protagonist\'s dual personas. His nebbish, nervous energy as Peter Parker feeds directly into the mocking and quick-witted masked vigilante Spider-Man. It\'s a duality which Garfield appears well able to explore on screen. There was also an extended introduction for Ifans\' Dr Connors, a friend of Peter\'s father who will, through his experiments, become transformed into a monster.

The stand-out sequence though was a montage of Garfield\'s bewildered realisation of his developing powers and super-strength, shot to the Rolling Stones\' \'Street Fighting Man\'. Given that 500 Days of Summer was a music fan\'s dream film, it\'s nice to see that director Webb has not left behind his natural instincts for this big budget outing.

While some shots were still in need of CGI touch-ups, there were several spectacular sequences shown, including a rampaging Lizard throwing cars off a bridge and a brutal fight between Spider-Man and a group of arresting police officers. Leary\'s surprisingly intense delivery of the line, \"I wear a badge. This guy wears a mask like an outlaw,\" underlines how the antagonists of this film are all to one degree or another authority figures for Spider-Man to challenge.

Sony are no doubt confident that they have a hit on their hands, but how big a hit is still up for grabs, given that a superhero movie glut is swiftly approaching. Warner\'s The Dark Knight Rises and Marvel Studio\'s scrappy Avengers movie are also in the pipeline, making this a far more challenging outing for the franchise than when Sam Raimi swept the box office. From what fans at the screening could see though, Webb may well have a compelling blend of humour, character and just a smidge of darkness ready for us in June...



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