Granted, when “The Amazing Spider-Man” hits theaters next year, it will be a full decade since Sam Raimi‘s first Spider-Man movie and there will be a whole new generation of kids growing up with Peter Parker for the first time. But for the rest of us, the origins of the young photographer’s crime fighting abilities have been elaborated not only in Raimi’s films, but on the long-running cartoon show and in the comics. We’ve been down that road multiple times with very little variation in the myth, but it looks like director Marc Webb is going to tell us that familiar tale all over again. Or maybe, it won’t be as familiar as we think.
“I feel we have certain obligations to the iconography of Spider-Man, which is based mostly in the comics. The other thing is Spider-Man has a lot of different incarnations in the comics. While there are certain mainstays — a kid who gets bitten by a spider, he’s an outsider, the death of his Uncle Ben helps endow [him] with the mentality of a hero — those things remain the same but there’s also room for interpretation. He’s been around since the 1960s. The wealth of material here — whether it’s story or character — is really profound but I also feel it’s my responsibility to reinvent it in some ways,” Webb told Hero Complex.
Even with that in mind, the first trailer for “The Amazing Spider-Man” is disappointingly not amazing or even, well, good. Much of the focus is on Peter Parker’s journey to become a superhero and it simply feels like a retread, which wouldn’t be so bad if the trailer didn’t close off with a truly wonky, gimmicky POV made-for-3D sequence in which the audience goes web-slinging with Peter Parker over the roofs and buildings of Manhattan. It feels either like an amusement park ride (which we’re sure is being made at this moment based on that footage) or a weird video game sequence, but not something we’re eager to sit through at our multiplex. It’s not all bad either, as Rhys Ifans alone looks like he’s gonna have a blast playing The Lizard in the film, chewing up his dialogue with relish and spitting it out. And Emma Stone brings her (overly?) familiar charm to the role of Gwen Stacy, with Andrew Garfield looking perfectly serviceable (if not all that memorable) in the lead role. But really, could we not get a Spider-Man film that drops right into the movie with Parker already a superhero and find a different way to address how he came to gain his powers? It’s baffling that after this many comic movies, everyone is adhering to the strict structure these films go by.
“For me, it’s enough of a reinvention that it is a different Peter Parker. In the comics there’s just ongoing sagas. Why can’t we do that cinematically? What the truth was: I like the other movies and I was a little bit skeptical but then I asked myself if I wanted to see [this new story and interpretation] and the answer was yes. I was interested in that universe and I believe I have something to say that’s different enough to be worth my time,” Webb said. He’s certainly approaching the material seriously and intelligently but it remains to be seen if he’s staked out a take that is unique enough from what has come before.
But as far as first impressions go? Yeah, we’re fairly disappointed by the spot which seems more geared to young kids (which we suppose is the demographic that is being aimed at). Irrfan Khan, Martin Sheen, Sally Field, Denis Leary, Campbell Scott, Julianne Nicholson, Annie Parisse, Chris Zylka and C. Thomas Howell round out the cast. The 3D film hits on July 3, 2012. Full trailer below.