One only need to skim the message boards for anything related to this summer’s The Amazing Spider-Man to know what a marketing challenge Sony Pictures has in front of it. For every fanboy or fangirl who is already (mentally) standing in line to see director Marc Webb’s reboot of the masked web slinger, there’s another who is equally incensed by the notion that the world needs another Spidey origin story just 10 years after the last Spidey origin story, and five since the last Spidey film. Sure, awareness of the franchise likely couldn’t be higher, but whether audiences will make this new Spider-Man as big of a blockbuster as the last Spider-Man remains an open question.
So when you’ve got to make a big impression, swing for the fences. Today, at a global event simulcast across three continents, Sony unveiled the new 3-D trailer for the film, as well as a nearly nine-minute long, 2-D sizzle reel that featured an extended look at the electric chemistry between stars Andrew Garfield (as Peter Parker) and Emma Stone (as Gwen Stacy). We also got our first look at the reptilian alter ego of Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans), i.e. the Lizard. Each of the main principals from the film were on hand in a different city for the event — Garfield in New York, Stone in Rio de Janeiro, Ifans in London, and Webb in Los Angeles — and after the trailer screened, they answered some softball fan questions with panache. The event was coordinated with a viral, quasi-guerilla promotional campaign that led to many locations running out of the free tickets within minutes. In Los Angeles, at least, that meant lines stretching from the mall multiplex hosting the event onto the street a good quarter mile away. So many people showed up, the event coordinators had already decided to keep screening the footage until everyone who’d signed up to see it had had their chance.
So let’s talk about the trailer. If you have a chance to see it in 3-D when it hits theaters this weekend, you definitely should, because it makes the best case for a live-action movie needing to be in 3-D since Avatar. You feel like you’re wooshing through the Manhattan skyscrapers along with Spidey — the camera never slips into the first-person, video-game-y perspective highlighted in the film’s first trailer — and the shots of Parker finalizing his web-slinger technology have an extra zap to them as the strands fly towards the screen. The two and a half minute preview focuses mostly on further establishing Peter Parker’s relationship with Dr. Connors — turns out the one-armed scientist was a colleague of Peter’s late father — and introducing Gwen’s father George Stacy (Denis Leary), the NYPD chief who is not exactly thrilled that a masked vigilante is running rampant through the streets. There are a few quick shots of the Lizard, but they’re all either in shadow or extreme close-up — I can tell you, though, that the reptilian baddie has a wickedly strong tail.
All told, the trailer definitely went over well with the fanboy-heavy crowd, although it’s always hard to gauge how much of that excitement derives from the footage itself and how much from the fact that they’re the ones who got to see the footage first. (Not to mention the fact that the film’s stars were making a personal appearance.) But I will say this about Garfield and Stone: These actors definitely know how to speak geek. (UPDATE: Click here to watch the new trailer.)
NEXT PAGE: “I’m just the guy in this suit. It could be anyone in the suit. It just happens to be me this time.”