“This Summer’s Most Anticipated Film”, a bold claim, or perhaps a playful taunt from Marvel in a summer when DC Comics release their own ‘darker’, ‘edgier’, rebooted superhero The Dark Knight Rises, only they’re doing it for the third time. “The Amazing Spider-Man” isn’t Spider-Man 4, more Spider-Man 1.2.
So the trailer is darker, at least, it opens at night, but how ‘dark’ is Spider-Man every really going to be? Geek by day, red and blue spider by night, faces off against giant lizard – its hardly Taxi Driver. Hopefully what this year’s Spider-Man instalment can do is take a little of the dark tones which gave Nolan’s Batman its weight, its stakes, yet follow in Marvel’s example set by the Avengers and remind everyone how fun superhero movies can be, and should be.
Well the trailer is a good sign. It opens with our friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man doing some extreme plate spinning, saving kids from burning cars that dangle from a bridge – someone’s got to do it – yet Spidey is broody, his voiceover tells us so, he’s “looking for the truth”.
The trailer suggests that despite being called The Amazing Spider-Man, the plot will be more concerned with Peter Parker the man. He can hardly keep his mask on for a start and that’s just in 4 minutes. When asked, “who are you?” there is no response, then as the action fades a voice asks, “Do you have any idea what you really are?” So identity appears top of the agenda for old Pete. He’s only referred to as “Peter” or “Parker”, yet Spider-Man is never mentioned. And, as is so common with superheroes these days, its clear Parker has Daddy issues too.
This is why the casting of Andrew Garfield becomes so important. Early signs point to good, part concerned citizen, part superhero, part insecure and shy kid who struggles with the day-to-day, Parker has a lot going on but it would seem Garfield’s got it covered. Most noticeable from the trailer is the scene where a suited-up Spider-Man apprehends a thug. A real sense of there being a personality behind the mask shines through, something perhaps lacking from the initial Maguire-as-Spidey trilogy.
Casting Emma Stone as possible love-interest Gwen Stacy, daughter of George Stacy (Dennis Leary – more inspired casting) appears a great choice. Favourite of critics and fan boys alike, this is the start of Emma Stone’s, potentially career-long, purple patch. Even the ever-divisive Rhys Ifans appears suitable toned-down, so initial casting impressions rank well.
As with any summer superhero blockbuster, the trailer builds to a loud, rapidly cut and oh-so-dramatic conclusion, with just enough room left at the end for a joke, just in case it was getting too ‘dark’. Parker has a sense of humour; he doesn’t bottle everything up like that snooty rich kid Bruce Wayne.
Certain questions remain. Fan boy reactions to aesthetics of the surprisingly frequent yet fleeting glimpses of The Lizard are mixed, but aren’t they always? Will the 3D be worthwhile? Will the screenwriter of Harry Potter write something the perhaps more mature, though no less discerning Spider-man audiences will appreciate? And, will Marc Webb – with his only feature the outrageously kooky rom-com (500) Days of Summer – manage the expected climactic fight sequences alongside a love story suitable for those not in love with quirk? (There may just be walkouts if Peter Parker spontaneously bursts in to song and dance…again!)
So in summary, time will tell (helpful, huh?). The trailer shows a lot but merely asks questions, come July 3rd there might be some answers.
Here is the trailer if you are still yet to see it;