Last night, SciFiNow was treated to a top-secret screening of footage from The Amazing Spider-Man 2. After checking our phones in and getting enthusiastically scanned, we were finally allowed to feast on 30 minutes of 3D, wise-cracking, truck-throwing, web-slinging fun.
So what can we tell you about the footage? No spoilers of course – we’re not that cruel. But we can say that from what we saw, audiences are in for a good time.
1. THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 is the comic-book Spider-Man
An early sequence shows Spider-Man in action at the height of his fame, bantering with pedestrians, stopping bad guys and snarking all over the place. There is an energy and a slapstick edge to the sequence that forces you to grin from ear to ear and, like the paper-bound Spider-Man we know and love, he seems to just irritate his villains into submission. This might be the closest any of the movies have got to transplanting the comic-book Spidey to the big screen.
2. The Amazing Spider-man 2’s Peter Parker and Gwen Stacey have chemistry
A chief complaint lodged at The Amazing Spider-Man was that science nerd Peter Parker was just a little too… cool. From what we saw here, that hasn’t been rectified. Peter displays a confidence than borders on cockiness in a rather twee scene with Gwen Stacey. The scene is saved by Emma Stone’s barrage of charm and the excellent chemistry between the two actors. At no point do you doubt that these two are dying to tear each other’s clothes off.
3. The Amazing Spider-Man 2’s villains tick all the right boxes
This footage gave us a very good look at Paul Giamatti, unrecognisable even in his pre-Rhino state; Jamie Foxx rocking the sympathetic villain angle as Electro, and Dane DeHaan looking scarily like a young Leonardo DiCaprio as Harry Osborn.
Giamatti seems to be going for comedy, while Foxx and DeHaan do the dramatic heavy-lifting. Foxx manages to conjure up sympathy despite a heavy layer of CGI, and DeHaan already looks to be kicking James Franco firmly to the curb with his unhinged, issue-ridden Harry.
4. The Amazing Spider-Man 2’s action is incredible
The film looks great. Spidey-cam is back, following the wall-crawler as he swings and loops his way around New York in full, dizzying 3D. The action sequences – a truck vs Spidey chase and a showdown in Times Square – live up to the movie’s adjective (despite being slightly slow-mo heavy), and even find time for delightful visual gags.
In terms of CGI, there is no Lizard-sized misstep here. Electro looks excellent, and displays some nifty tricks comic-book fans know him to be capable of. There was no sign of Green Goblin, though, or a fully Rhinoed-up Giamatti. Those treats will have to wait until the film’s release.
5. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is great fun
The scenes shown here are generally surprisingly light and fun. There’s even a chance that it might eschew the ‘darker sequel’ route. Having said that, DeHaan looks well-poised to take the film to much darker places in the climatic scenes, none of which we saw here.
It’s also worth pointing out that the soundtrack is utterly mental, skipping from an 80s-teen-movie vibe in one scene to what can only be described (by non-music-journalists like us) as thrash-rap.
6. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 has plenty of mystery
We get a little bit more information on Ma and Pa Parker and their mysterious disappearance. It’s also immediately clear that Oscorp has its fingers in every pie going, from the Parkers to the origins of Electro. It’s even an Oscorp van that gets stolen in an early scene. Make no mistake – these Amazing Spider-Man movies are beating a very direct path to the executive suite of Oscorp headquarters, and we’re very excited to find out what nastiness lurks up there.
On the strength of these scenes, Marc Webb certainly seems to have improved as an action director since the occasionally muddled Amazing Spider-Man. It remains to be seen how well the film juggles three villains, although we’re given a pretty clear indication of how Electro and Osborn will work. But what really made us skip out of the screening room with our hearts held high was the delightful sight of big-screen Spidey doing whatever a comic-Spidey can do.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is due 2 May 2014, while The Amazing Spider-Man is out now. Order it now on DVD for £10 and Blu-ray for £14.99 from Amazon.co.uk. Read our massive behind-the-scenes feature here and find out more about the comics that inspired the film with new digital magazine Uncanny Comics. Thwip thwip.