I never watch a trailer until after I’ve seen the movie, and I also attempt to avoid as much news as possible. Then I compare what I knew, to what you knew. Let’s find out if what we see in the trailer is what we get, and if there is any advantage to going in fresh. (There will be spoilers.)
What I Knew Before: Look, I've heard of Peter Parker before. Though I was never fully obsessed, I probably owned close to fifty Spider-Man comics. I consider Spider-Man 2 one of the three best superhero films (along with The Incredibles and The Dark Knight). I was also ready for a tonal shift after the messy and overblown Spider-Man 3. So, was I excited for the reboot? Nope. It had nothing to do with Andrew Garfield, or Emma Stone. From my limited research, the reason this movie exists is that Sony would have lost the rights to Spider-Man back to Marvel. Plus, they decided Sam Raimi and Tobey Maguire would be too expensive. Exciting, huh? There were links to 25 minutes of footage. I am actually here to judge, and I hope you avoided this. Unless of course your plan was to just watch these 25 minutes and then wait to watch the rest when it's "free" on Netflix Instant.
What I Knew After: Rhys Ifans is a forgettable villain. Normally Ifans is the fourth or fifth male lead, not the second. It seems he exists strictly as a vehicle to become the Lizard. The special effects of this villain are very impressive, and that's what you take away. It's funny to think about Peter and Gwen Stacy as 17-year-olds getting the job done (in this case that means saving the day). Garfield is great when sheepish, and a little annoying when cocky. I saw it in IMAX 3D and wasn't disappointed, even though there is a nagging feeling of "too soon" with this reboot.
What You Knew: The cool kid from The Social Network is Spider-Man. Gwen (a blonde Stone) is perplexed why Peter would climb 20 stories up the fire escape, but Peter explains her doorman makes him nervous. Not a strong start to a trailer, and not really the best way to woo a lady, but we'll move on. Dennis Leary is a cop, Gwen's dad and likes to give Peter a tough time. Peter proves he's sarcastic to a car thief, and then we get a little flashback to the rough times of his life. Peter goes sniffing into his dad's past, and meets Ifans. The big chalkboard from Good Will Hunting makes an appearance in the trailer (but I don't remember it in the movie) and then we see Ifans becoming a lizard. Peter says "I got to stop him, cause I created him." This either means Peter is alluding to something vague, or he's told Gwen about Lizard. Soon Spider-Man, without a mask, is battling people in the streets. Leary calls for the arrest of Spider-Man, and Gwen realizes she's hooked on Peter. At the 2:10 mark we're hitting the "rapid-fire" section of the trailer giving us nano-seconds from every action scene this movie has to offer. Oddest of all, there's no joke kicker.
Trailer Truth: There are those who will see every superhero movie, those who will avoid every superhero movies, and those who need to be convinced they need a new Spider-Man. The point of the trailer, in this case is to make sure those who are on the fence of this reboot, are convinced. Remember, those three Spider-Man films started in 2002 and ended in 2007. It's impossible to separate completely from that trilogy when thinking of this film.
If I may channel my inner-comic book nerdom for one second, the key thing I find intriguing in the trailer is that Spider-Man is maskless a few times, and it seems Gwen knows a little more than the usual clueless girlfriend. The trailer does a good job of blending most of the action sequences so you can't really tell what happens when, though really tall building battles normally tend to end a superhero flick. You don't get any Sally Field, and you just barely hear Martin Sheen. I guess they avoid that because you've seen a lot of those moments in the 2002 film. They barely show you the cocky Peter, which didn't work in Spider-Man 3 and doesn't work here. Luckily, Garfield's Peter is great at being awkward, and tends to do that a lot more. I think the trailer doesn't exactly what it needed to accomplish, give those fence sitters just a few reasons good enough to get in line.