The Amazing Spider-Man “Untold Story Begins” Event!

It’s hard to believe that a relaunch of a movie franchise that’s brought in nearly $2.5 billion globally might be seen as an underdog in any given year, but Sony Pictures certainly had been biding its time in how much or little it showed in regards to their big summer movie, The Amazing Spider-Man. On Monday, February 6, Sony pulled out all the stops for a global event that showed off the trailer as well as a great deal of never-before-seen footage from Marc Webb’s Spider-Man relaunch.

The event took place in thirteen cities globally with New York and Los Angeles being the only North American cities participating. ComingSoon.net/SuperHeroHype was in New York City, which is indeed Spider-Man Country, fully expecting the Regal Union Square to be a madhouse and it certainly was as many people had been outside waiting for hours for the event to start.

Kicking off right at 3 p.m. Eastern Time, the satellite feed first went out to Los Angeles where director Marc Webb was on-hand, then to Rio de Janeiro, who got Emma Stone (those lucky Brazilians) and producers Avi Arad and Matt Tolmach, London got Rhys Ifans aka Dr. Curt Connors/The Lizard, and New York got Spider-Man himself, Andrew Garfield, who was received with huge cheers.

Before they got to questions, they showed the new 3D trailer, which begins with an amazing helicopter shot of New York City in 3D and we see Spider-Man swinging up onto a fire escape and landing outside Gwen Stacy’s window and she asked him how he got there, because they’re twenty stories up. It then shows a scene of Peter looking at a valise that his uncle Ben says belonged to his father and his Aunt May (Sally Field, looking very young compared to previous incarnations) tells him his father was a very secretive man. Peter then goes to see Dr. Curt Connors and we see a bit of his transformation into the Lizard, as well as a scene of Spider-Man stopping a car thief. As he breaks into a car, Spider-Man is sitting in the back seat and he makes a joke that if he’s going to steal cars, not to dress like a car thief. When the thief asks if he’s a cop, Spidey retorts, “You seriously think I’m a cop? In a skintight red and blue suit?” (We’ll see more of this scene later as well.) A lot of the trailer shows how Gwen’s father Captain Stacy, played by Dennis Leary, is trying to get Spider-Man, sort of making him a secondary antagonist, as he puts a warrant out for Spider-Man’s arrest. (Later, we’ll also get to see some idea why Stacy is so against Spider-Man.)

We didn’t get to see that much of the Lizard in the trailer, just snippets to give us some idea of how CG is being used to create him, but Peter states he has to stop The Lizard “because he created him.” The trailer ends with a scene of Spider-Man trying to escape as a giant radio antenna at the top of a building comes crashing down. The tagline for the new trailer of course is “The Untold Story Begins,” driving home the point this is a relaunch in the Batman Begins vein.

After the trailer, Webb and cast members at each location were asked a single question with Stone talking about the differences between her and Mary Jane Watson, the love interest from the previous three films. She said they were polar opposites in that Gwen falls in love with Peter as opposed to Mary Jane, who was in love with Spider-Man. Ifans was asked a similar question about what makes The Lizard different from other Spider-Man villains to which he responded that the relationship between them is a “complex and emotional one” since Connors worked with Peter’s father. Garfield gave the best answer when asked why he wanted to be Spider-Man, saying he wasn’t an idiot and how everyone wants to be Spider-Man and that Spider-Man belongs to everyone. He admitted to being terrified but he really won over the audience by saying that the next guy who plays Spider-Man after him should be half-Hispanic, half African-American, making reference to the very popular new Spider-Man that had just been introduced in the Ultimate Marvel Universe.

After that quick Q ‘n’ A section, the real fun came with the extended sizzle reel, which expanded on many of the scenes we saw in that new trailer and gave us a much clearer idea of what to expect from the movie, showing a good mix of drama, action, story, characters… everything really. This wasn’t just a quick glimpse of footage but instead was made up of full never-before-seen scenes shown in what seems like a logical chronological order to give us a good idea of the film’s story structure.

The footage began at Parker’s school, “Midtown Science High School,” as Parker sees Flash Thompson torturing a smaller kid in the playground and he tells Peter to take a picture, but when he refuses, Flash pushes him to the ground and starts beating on him, but Peter says he’s still not taking the picture. When asked about it, Peter says he fell off his skateboard, and we see more bullying of Peter at school before he lashes out and slams Flash into lockers. We then see him being reprimanded by Uncle Ben for fighting, and when his uncle sees Gwen standing in the background, he embarrasses his nephew by asking if that’s the girl he has on his computer and says he’s Peter’s probation officer. Embarassed, Peter has an awkward conversation with Gwen that gives us a good sense of the dynamics between them as well as the strong dialogue we can expected. He ultimately ends up asking her out as the Coldplay ballad “Til Kingdom Come” starts playing in the background and they go their separate ways.

This then transitions into a black and white flashback of Peter as a young boy with his parents (including Campbell Scott as his father Richard), then we get a little more of the scene from the trailer where Peter finds his father’s valise and his father says he asked them to keep it safe for them. In the extended footage, we see the contents of the valise which includes a picture of his father with Curt Connors, and we then get a much better introduction to Ifans as Connors, who talks about the fact that he’s missing his right arm, saying he’s a scientist and the “foremost authority on reptiles,” and that he is hoping to fix himself.

One of the questions on many minds is whether we’re going to once again see Spider-Man’s origin in the new movie, and that was answered as we see Peter looking at a large glowing glass cell that’s literally filled with spiders being irradiated. We don’t actually see him being bitten but we see the after-effects when he wakes up and smashes his alarm clock and tears off one of the handles of his sink. As the music kicks into Rolling Stone’s “Street Fighting Man,” we see him training to use his powers, swinging on chains and using his skateboard along with his powers.

We also see him designing the mechanical web-shooters we’ve heard he uses in the new movie and testing them out, eventually combining the different skills as he starts swinging on webs. We see the costume briefly before we see him going on the beat, first taking on a bunch of muggers bothering a woman, then getting an extended scene of the car thief from the trailer, but this time, we see Spidey taking out the knife-wielding thief using his webshooters, while cracking some funny jokes, showing this isn’t a deathly-serious Spider-Man as some had worried. In fact, the film doesn’t seem that much darker than the Raimi movies even if Webb has said that he’s striving for realism and naturalism.

We see the earlier scene of Spider-Man swinging up to Gwen’s window, which we now learn is him meeting her to have dinner with her family which leads to him having an argument with her father, played by Dennis Leary, about the importance of Spider-Man. The footage from the trailer about Gwen Stacy setting a warrant for Spider-Man’s arrest and him having to take on the New York police department starts to make a bit more sense after seeing this scene.

We’re then introduced to the Lizard as he rampages on one of New York’s bridges, smashing his scaly arm through the windows and throwing cars over the edge, but then it cuts back and we see all of the cars dangling over the edge of the bridge via webs. The sizzle reel then showed a lot more fighting between Spider-Man and the Lizard leading up to what we assume to be a climactic fight on a radio antenna high above the city, which as we saw in the trailer, comes crashing down.

The one member of the cast that was noticeably absent from all the footage was Irrfan Khan’s character “Dr. Ratha,” who was once called “Van Adder” after a character from the comics, but who may not play as pivotal a role in the movie as thought earlier. (UPDATE: We’ve been informed that Khan is actually in the very first car attacked by the Lizard on the bridge. Guess we didn’t recognize him, although I guess that tells us a little bit about his relationship with Connors.)

Everything looked great both in 3D and 2D and we don’t think any of the fans who loved the Raimi-Maguire movies are going to be disappointed by what they’re doing with the new movie, because it certainly fits into what they did with the previous three movies, just with new actors and characters and maybe the focus not being so much on Spider-Man’s origin. The new trailer will certainly give everyone a much better taste of what to expect but that sizzle reel and seeing all that extended footage really was a treat and probably as good or better than anything they could have showed at Comic-Con last year.

The Amazing Spider-Man opens on July 3 in 3D, 2D and IMAX 3D theaters. Stay tuned for the trailer at 3 a.m. EST / 12 a.m. PST Tuesday, February 7th!