Masses of fans lined up outside the Regal Union Square theater in New York City earlier this afternoon, in the name of a sneak peek at footage from "The Amazing Spider-Man", director Marc Webb's upcoming reboot of the Spider-Man film franchise for Sony Pictures and based on the popular Marvel Comics hero. Details of the event were kept hush-hush and attendees pondered what the afternoon would entail as they filed into the theater -- a few clad in Spidey-themed t-shirts and jumpsuits.
An intricate soundboard setup and two cameras (one facing the audience, one shooting away) flanked the room, and the screen was adorned with a single, lens-flared image of a spider while the film's soundtrack pulsed from speakers and volunteers passed out 3D glasses for the upcoming presentation.
MTV's Josh Horowitz took the mic in front of one camera, announcing he would be hosting a 30-minute show incorporating live satellite feeds from other cities around the world, footage from the film, and special guests.
With that, KROQ's Ralph Garmin in Los Angeles appeared on-screen, introducing the film's director, Marc Webb, who proclaimed his excitement to show everyone a bunch of new material from the film, and that he would employ the help of his partners in crime across the world. The screen then flipped to a live feed in Rio, and -- as Emma Stone (Gwen Stacy) was introduced (looking lovely in a slim-fitting royal blue dress, smiling appreciatively as the Rio crowd screamed, "We love you!" and chanted "Emma, Emma, Emma") -- the New York audience quietly booed in frustration (little did they know, their big reveal was on its way). Joined by Stone were two of the film's producers: Avi Arad and Matt Tolmach.
Tolmach said he was excited to debut the new trailer, as the crowd wildly chanted, "Emma!" Stone giggled, "Thanks, Rio! We surprised you guys -- which is terrifying!"
Next came a live feed of London, where an announcer was joined by Dr. Curt Connors, AKA The Lizard himself, actor Rhys Ifans. By this point, the New York crowd was abuzz about who their guest would be, and -- as Ifans threw the camera to Horowitz in NYC -- the audience erupted, and the film's star, Andrew Garfield (Peter Parker), joined Horowitz at the front of the room in a zip-up hood and knit skullcap hat.
Garfield humbly thanked the crowd, saying it meant the world to him to join true fans for this event. Right before cutting back to Los Angeles, an audience member yelled "Daniel Radcliffe!" to which a perplexed Garfield laughed, "Daniel Radcliffe?" He giggled long after the camera cut away.
Back in LA, Webb introduced the film's new trailer and the lights dimmed to cheers and claps.
The 3D web-swinging showcased in the trailer is absolutely stunning, and some of the 360 degree shots in action sequences are truly impressive. The trailer also showcases much of Peter Parker's life prior to his transformation, including some snippets of Martin Sheen and Sally Field as Uncle Ben and Aunt May. Denis Leary also makes a strong debut as Captain George Stacy. Peter's interactions with Gwen are filled with humor, teenage awkwardness and crackling chemistry. A few snippets of The Lizard were also showcased -- a close-up of his eye, and a shot of his scaly green hand smashing through the metal of a car and grabbing someone.
Perhaps the best image in the new trailer featured Parker jumping upside-down onto the roof of a subway car (proving that Spidey's prowess will not only be showcased while wearing a suit). It's clear Webb's treatment is an origin story, and that it focuses more on Peter's journey from awkward high schooler to crime-fighting hero, perfectly employing Garfield's ability to infuse characters with humor and emotional intelligence.
Webb returned to the screen after the trailer ended, clearly pleased by the deafening applause that greeted him. He said the movie focuses more on Peter and his parents than the original Sam Raimi film did, exploring the emotional consequences of being an orphan. He also revealed The Lizard is one of his favorite villains in comics, and that he aspired to treat Peter Parker in more of a "naturalistic" kind of way.
The camera returned to Stone, who was asked (amid groans from savvy Spidey-philes) how Gwen Stacy differs from Mary Jane, who was featured as the love interest in the first three "Spider-Man" films. "Gwen is the yin to Mary Jane's yang," Stone said, adding that Gwen falls in love with Peter Parker, whereas Mary Jane falls in love with Spider-Man.
Ifans was asked what makes The Lizard different from other villains, to which he explained that all villains in the Spider-Man universe are, "Kind of human and real and flawed, as much as Peter Parker is." He went on to say he believes Connors to be a particularly emotional antagonist for Parker, because Peter's father and Dr. Connors were close -- in other words, there's plenty of baggage involved.
Asked why he wanted to be Spider-Man, Garfield quickly replied, "Because I'm not an idiot." He said everyone in the room likely wants to be Spider-Man, and that he belongs to everyone in the room. "I'm terrified right now!" he admitted. "It's a reverent terror."
Webb came back onscreen to explain the entire film was shot in 3D, but the next clip, a sizzle reel, wasn't completely finished and needed to be shown in 2D as a result.
The reel included a few green screen and pre-finished CGI shots, but still hit home much of what we saw in the trailer -- that Peter's story would be told from his awkward, bullied beginnings in high school through the moment he steps foot in Dr. Connors lab, to Connors' transformation and their ultimate face-off. This included a shot of Peter walking in a neon blue-lit column of suspended spiders, juxtaposed next with a fun montage of him waking up with newfound powers (smashing his alarm clock to bits after attempting to hit snooze, squeezing all the toothpaste out of the tube, attempting to fly, etc.). The reel also showed a glimpse of Peter sewing his costume and perfecting his mechanized web shooters before moving to Dr. Connors injecting himself with regeneration serum -- his new hand shoots forth right before he wreaks havoc in the lab.
A common thread throughout the trailer and sizzle reel was a sense of wonder and humor. A dinner scene at Gwen's house highlights the frustrating fun of Parker attempting to support Spider-Man's cause in secret, much to the chagrin of Captain Stacy. Sheen also gets his digs in, embarrassing Peter in front of Gwen. The real treat comes when Parker finally tests his suit against a car thief. His mock terror that the man has a knife, juxtaposed with his first use of web shooters, is endearing and hilarious.
After the reel, images of cheering crowds from each city were pulled up onto the scene one last time, and the stars bid fans adieu. The new trailer for "The Amazing Spider-Man" debuts tonight at midnight, and "The Amazing Spider-Man" hits theaters on July 3.
Stay tuned to CBR News and Spinoff Online for more coverage of "The Amazing Spider-Man.