On St. Patrick's Day morning at Sony Studios in Culver City, California, a few select journalists, bloggers and assorted geeks got the world's first extended peek at The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and left wanting more wall-crawler. Director Marc Webb introduced the three segments we would be experiencing: the first 15 minutes featuring a flashback sequence as well as the introduction of Rhino (Paul Giamatti), Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) and Gwen Stacy's (Emma Stone) lovey-dovey reunion after a year apart followed by Electro's (Jamie Foxx) meltdown in Times Square, and Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan) breaking Electro out of confinement.
Webb stuck around after the screening to answer our questions about what's going on in Spidey's universe. Here are six sinister details we gleaned from the sequel footage and the brief Q&A with the director.
You're going to find out what happened to Peter Parker's parents.
In the first movie, you saw a young Peter's tearful good-bye with his parents, and now you get to see what happens to them in the hours after as they flee on board a private jet. Someone in the cockpit has different plans for the Parkers, but Peter's parents aren't going down without a high-altitude fight for their lives.
Rhino isn't the sharpest villain in the Spider-Man universe.
Following the flashback sequence with Peter's parents, the excitement continues as Spidey pursues Aleksei Sytsevich (aka the Rhino), who is driving away from OsCorp after stealing plutonium. Sytsevich is clearly frustrated by our fast-talking, witty wall-crawler. "It's how he provokes villains and puts them on their heels, particularly with Rhino because he's such a dumb villain," says Webb.
Your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man also got funnier.
For better or worse, one thing that is clear from the preview footage is that the comedy has been dialed up to 11. Every time Spidey confronts a villain or saves someone's life, he cracks a joke. For example, when Electro has his meltdown in Times Square and police cars go flying through the air, Spider-Man catches one before it smashes an officer. Immediately after, our hero tells him, "Glad you're not one of those cops that rides a horse!" Kaboom-cha!
Webb admits that they had professional comedians come in and help with the jokes."Something fundamental about Spider-Man is his wit and quips, but it's also part of his character," says Webb.
While it's true that the comics feature a wisecracking Spider-Man, you sort of cringe in a cinematic setting when a superhero is firing off one-liners in a life-or-death situation. We'll have to see if he hopefully tones down the stand-up routine when Gwen meets her presumed fate.
Prepare to experience what Spider-man sees with his Spidey sense and how Electro sees the world.
The visual effects are nothing short of extraordinary in the 3D footage we saw, and the dizzying camera POV makes you feel like you are swinging around Manhattan's skyscrapers with Spider-Man. This feeling is amplified even more when the action is slowed down in Times Square and you get to see how Spider-Man processes all the danger around him and reacts accordingly. In the same way, we get glimpses of how Electro sees the world as a pulsating grid of glowing electrical currents that might remind you a little bit of TRON: Legacy.
Electro and Dr. Manhattan have a few things in common.
Electro is bitter that he doesn't have a friend he can trust in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, but he and Watchmen's Dr. Manhattan should grab a drink and discuss. Both glow the same color blue, can hover above the ground, have the godlike ability to assemble and reassemble themselves… the list goes on. "He's an outcast, much in the way Peter Park is an outcast," says Webb of Electro. "He chooses to react to that in a little bit of a different way. There is a wonderful pathos, but there is also a psychosis."
We got a glimpse of the Green Goblin and a hint of more villains to come.
The preview screening concluded with a quick-cut montage of other scenes from the movie, including the Green Goblin soaring through the city on his Sky Stick. "We've been trying to figure out how to develop a larger universe," says Webb. "There are some very exciting things coming around the corner with the Sinister Six and Venom in future Spider-Man movies. I want to be involved in any way I possibly can. We've had fantasies about what we can do, but they are slowly coming into reality."
Follow Robert B. DeSalvo @Zuulboy
MORE FROM AROUND THE WEB: