Already turning up the heat for their new and, hey, amazing Spider-Man, Sony took over 13 cities around the world for a sneak preview. Paul Byrne was there. Naturally enough.
You can tell just how important The Amazing Spider-Man is to Sony, given that, earlier this month, they not only flew an army of freaks and geeks – and the occasional dashing, handsome, debonair journalist – to five major cities around the world for an early sneak-peek but they’ve also managed to bring together the film’s director and his three main stars for the globe-straddling shindig.
Well, kind of together. This was a satellite love-in, a cosmic cuddle on 70-foot screens, 13 cities around the world all joining hands for one night only.
But the big question was, who would we be getting in sunny London? Surely, surely, it’s got to be a certain 28-year old who grew up only a few tube stops away…?
In Rio de Janeiro, they got the wonderful Emma Stone (who plays Peter Parker’s – as opposed to Spider-Man’s – honeypie, Gwen Stacy), standing pretty alongside two of the film’s heavyweight producers, Avi Arad and Matt Tolmach. Sweet.
In LA, they’ve got director Marc Webb. Ha!
Here in London – roll drums – we got… Welsh not-so-rarebit Rhys Ifans (who plays the villain of the piece, the lizard-like Dr. Curt Connors). Dang. Kinda.
It was New York, the capital of the world, who got the leading man himself, Andrew Garfield. Naturally enough.
As with all satellite links, there was a slight time delay, which played havoc with the puns. Plenty of verbal high-fives were left hanging whilst Marc in LA tried to figure out what Rhys in London just said to Andrew in New York about Emma in Rio. Cra. Zy.
After a little banter from each of tonight’s special, far-away guests, we were shown the 3D trailer for The Amazing Spider-Man. Which looked fine and dandy, suggesting neither a turkey nor something we haven’t quite seen before. Later, as an added treat – a reward, as it were, for persevering through some more banter – Webb introduced a longer trailer, this time still in glorious, huggable, loveable 2D. And this time, our appetite for the finished product was well and truly whetted.
Garfield and Stone appear perfectly cast, whilst alongside Ifans in the supporting roles are the likes of Martin Sheen, Sally Field, Denis Leary, Embeth Davis and Campbell Scott. Solid.
As the second clip ended, each city’s gathering was introduced, the expected cheers taking a while to catch fire. Even freaks and geeks – and dashing, handsome, debonair journalists – can be a little reluctant to play the whooping and hollering fan just for the cameras.
Most of us finally twigged though that this was a freebie, from Sony, showing us their big, bouncing baby, and therefore, you know, we really should wave our hands in the air. Like we really, really care.Some even stood. And waved their hands in the air. Like they really, really cared.
Of course, Sony are hoping that The Amazing Spider-Man will be the monster hit of the summer when it’s unleashed on July 4th, and all the signs would suggest that indeed it will be. Cinema-goers love sequels (the 4th Pirates outing is the most successful of the lot, which tells you a lot), and this one might actually be a damn good one.
Director Marc Webb – coming off 2009’s 500 Days Of Summer – is clearly in awe of the job that he’s been handed, and he’s keen to let us know that his dance with Spider-Man is all about the untold stories. “We get to meet his parents this time,” he says. “And, as anyone who knows the comics will tell you, the love interest is very different here too. Gwen Stacy falls in love with Peter Parker, not Spider-Man…”
Garfield was his usual, charming, disarming self, genuinely “terrified” at having been handed the Spider-Man torch from Tobey Maguire. Asked from the audience why he took on the role, he quickly quipped, “because I’m not an idiot”.
Just as Joel Schumacher had killed the Dark Knight’s glorious box-office run in the 1990s with the camp and catastrophic Batman & Robin, Sony knows they’ve got a major resurrection to pull off with The Amazing Spider-Man. Which may explain why the plot apes Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins (2007), the film that brought Bruce Wayne and his alter-ego back from the box-office dead.
Come July 4th, it’ll be a new Spider-Man, facing a new villain, with a new sweetheart, and, it’s hoped, a new audience, ready to believe in their web-weaving superhero once more. It’s all about having faith. And €8.50.
Words – Paul Byrne
The Amazing Spider-Man hits Irish cinemas July 4th