On February 6, long lines of fans waited outside the AMC Century City movie theater, forming a sea of red and blue with their spider-adorned T-shirts and action figure dolls and toys. It was a cloudy day – not exactly the sunny, blue skies that California natives are used to, but regardless, it was easy to see that spirits were as high as ever with this crowd. They were here for one thing and one thing only: The Amazing Spider-Man.
For the last week, Spider-Man symbols have been projected all across the world. The mysterious projections had pedestrians stopping to gawk in major cities like New York, Los Angeles, and Paris. Reaction videos were then posted online as a viral advertising campaign. This, plus an equally enigmatic countdown on Twitter all led up to an “event” that would be simulcast around the world.
Upon entering the theater in which this “event” was being held, the first thing one might notice are the copious amounts of security that were watching over the crowd that slowly trickled in to take their seats. Phones were strictly prohibited, and any person that was seen using one was quickly reprimanded.
A camera was set up in the front of the theater, and a man with a microphone announced that the “event” would begin in five minutes. As the last of the fans made their way to their seats, it was revealed that we would be treated to a Q & A with the director of the film, Marc Webb. The audience cheered as Webb stepped into view and asked the viewers to put on their 3-D glasses. With that, the lights dimmed and a new trailer for The Amazing Spider-Man began to play.
The 3-D was incredibly impressive, as expected, and fans were given their first glimpse of Dr. Connor’s villainous alter ego, The Lizard. The action was intense and the crowd remained in silent awe until the two-minute trailer ended. An uproar of applause soon followed, and Webb was all smiles.
The trailer was followed by some pre-designated questions for the cast, who were projected on the big screen. The questions were simple, and did not provide much insight into the film, its production, or its characters. The Amazing Spider-Man crew apparently still wanted the film’s plot under wraps.
When asked why he wanted to play Spider-Man, Andrew Garfield simply replied, “Because I’m not an idiot.” Fans cheered triumphantly as he announced that the role didn’t just belong to him, but to everyone who loves Spider-Man. It was obvious that he couldn’t help but smile as the crowd applauded him.
The Los Angeles crowd looked on with bated breath as the interviews ended. Just when it seemed the event was coming to an end, Webb announced that we would be shown a sneak peak at footage from the movie. However, he said, the footage was unfinished and it would be screened in 2-D.
The lights dimmed once again, and we were treated to almost 10 minutes of scenes from the new film. The footage began with some cute, high school banter between Peter Parker (Garfield) and Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone). Many action scenes were shown as well, including an extended shot of a Brooklyn Bridge fight scene. The Lizard is seen wreaking havoc on the many cars that are parked, even throwing some off the side of the bridge (all of which Spider-Man catches with his web).
The unfinished CGI made some parts of the footage difficult to imagine in its final phases, and many even laughed at the scenes that were obviously not ready for release. But fans were still pleased, as they once again broke out in cheers and clapping. Many conversations also erupted between die-hard fans, discussing everything from the lack of the Lizard’s snout to how snarky Garfield was as Peter Parker. However, as the crowd shuffled out of the theater, it was difficult to tell if they were excited or disappointed.
Comparisons must of course be made to the original Spider-Man trilogy, which was directed by Sam Raimi. The differences between the directing styles are clear, even in the trailer. Garfield’s Spider-Man is much less shy and quiet than Maguire’s was. In Raimi’s trilogy, there was a certain element of campy-ness that doesn’t seem present in The Amazing Spider-Man. In fact, it could be said that The Amazing Spider-Man seems to be trying to do for the Spider-Man franchise what Batman Begins and The Dark Knight did for Batman. There is an obviously darker tone in this film than in Raimi’s trilogy, which had its moments of darkness but never completely left the campy, comic-book feel behind.
Many questions and mysteries still shroud the latest film in the Spider-Man saga, but one in particular comes to mind: Will the fans be receptive to it? The original movie trilogy made billions of dollars, and many current Spider-Man fans either grew up with those movies or were introduced to Spider-Man through the movies. So, in the end, the real question is this: Was it smart to abandon the original cast and release a reboot just five years after Spider-Man 3? While the answer to that question will not be revealed until July, one thing is certain: the buzz for The Amazing Spider-Man is undeniable.