No offense, Captain America. When it comes to superheroes with a Part Two reaching theaters this season, Spider-Man – for my money – has you beat by a costumed nose.
If you pay the slightest bit of attention to CinemaBlend, you know the deep admiration I personally hold for Marc Webb’s initial foray the comic-book universe, 2012’s The Amazing Spider-Man. In tone and texture, this was the Spider-Man movie I’ve been waiting for. Andrew Garfield personified the Peter Parker I pictured when reading Spider-Man comics as a kid. He was cocky, stubborn, determined, overwhelmed, and he used that biting sarcasm to hide the vulnerability and hesitancy that makes Spider-Man relatable. I thought Webb nailed the origin story, and with that film out of the way, I anxiously awaited his next steps.
This morning, Sony invited me to a local theater to screen 30 minutes of footage from Webb’s upcoming sequel, The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Similar events already had been held in New York, Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Our own Eric Eisenberg has filed outstanding coverage of these presentations, even dedicating the latest episode of the weekly video show Hero Blend to his reactions to the footage.
But I had to write something. I mean, the footage blew me away. Completely fried my brain. My expectation levels were at a 10-out-of-10 for this sequel as of yesterday. Now, they’re somewhere near a 25-out-of-10. There were so many little touches that Webb seems to be bringing to the sequel that solidify the fact that he has a firm grip on these cherished characters, this precious superhero franchise. Basically, if you don’t like what Marc Webb is doing with Spider-Man, then you don’t like Spider-Man, at all. Here are five things I witnessed today that convinced me fans should be in theaters on opening day for The Amazing Spider-Man 2.
Naturally, this thing is packed to the gills with spoilery conversation, so please bail if you don’t want to dig deep into The Amazing Spider-Man 2 discussions!
1. This is the best Spider-Man action we’ve ever seenWe saw three long scenes from Webb’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2, starting with the film’s opening sequence. I’ll discuss what happens before the title card in my second point, but for now, let’s dig into the action. After a brief prologue, Webb plunges us into a car-chase scene that has been featured prominently in trailers and TV spots. Russian gangster Aleksei Sytsevich (Paul Giamatti) has stolen something valuable from OsCorp, hijacking one of the company’s trucks. He’s now using it as a battering ram, and Spider-Man (Garfield) is swinging behind in hot pursuit. Some of this has been hinted at in the many (MANY) trailers and featurettes teased by Sony, but Webb has perfected the art of putting us in Spider-Man’s POV as he soars over Manhattan.
But Spider-Man’s hilarious interactions with Sytsevich in the truck, his rescuing of Max Dillon from a hurtling taxi cab, his prevention of a city bus smacking into innocent tourists… we haven’t seen action of this scale in a Spider-Man movie, yet. The pace is fast and furious. The visuals are fluid, to match Spider-Man’s movements. Webb’s first film was light on massive action set pieces, containing three lizard fights – the longest of which being the battle in the school. Go back even further, though. Compare the action on screen in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 to the Green Goblin’s parade attack in Sam Raimi’s first Spider-Man. It’s like comparing an iPad to an abacus. This is Webb’s appetizer, and it gets The Amazing Spider-Man 2 off with an explosive first step.