Marvel Precariouly Dangles Four Fire-Engulfed Minutes of The Amazing Spider-Man Over the Ticket-Buying Populace
A four-minute super trailer for The Irrepressible Dr. Spider-Man MD premiered last night during America’s Neediest Dance Crew, or something! It appeared to contain about 23 percent previously unseen footage, but did feature 100 percent more C. Thomas Howell, who shows up in the 90-second burning-minivan-rescue scene at the start of the trailer in the role of fan-favorite character Somebody Help Me My Kid Is Trapped. Oh, and when Spider-Man (played by Andrew Garfield, possibly the handsomest person ever to make a living playing nerds) swings into action, there are dubsteppy womp-womp noises. This is because dubsteppy womp-womp noises are the best thing to happen to movie-trailer cutters since “Solsbury Hill” — sick drop in the Battleship trailer, bro! — and also because this is not your [insert name of uncool older person, like your father, or Joe Biden, or your older brother who’s really nice but just kinda still doesn’t have his whole thing together lifewise]’s Spider-Man.
I was at least one, and possibly two, The Amazing Spider-Man trailers behind going into this one, and yet it still seemed light on new information. We already know the villain, we already know that you could drown a sack of kittens in Andrew Garfield’s big wounded eyes, we knew about the new-to-the-canon motivation-tweaking subplot about Peter Parker trying to find out what happened to his missing parents. (Campbell Scott plays Young Peter’s Dad; maybe he left town after Mayor Skeritt refused to green-light his supertrain project.) We don’t see if anybody turns into the Vulture or the Black Cat or Man-Wolf, and we don’t get much of a sense of whether they bothered to write a part for Emma Stone. But hey — if you were waiting for a BURNING SHIT WILL FALL RIGHT AT YOUR FACE! guarantee, here are the facts you requested, undecided moviegoer!
Obviously they’re playing up the big 3-D-enhanced stunts because convincing people to get excited about a summer-2012 superhero movie that doesn’t have the Hulk or Bane in it is Job One here, and Job Two is distinguishing this iteration of the story from the three not-exactly-forgotten Sam Raimi movies. And the thing about the Raimis is that they’re not hugely stunty, apart from all the web swinging, and (unlike this one from the looks of things) they’re also sort of tonally retro, even though they’re set in the present. They’re ultimately love letters to the Lee/Ditko Spider-Man comics of the ’60s, full of wrestling and astronauts and newsprint and dialogue punched up by old-timeyness consultant Michael Chabon. That’s the first two, anyway — the third one tap-danced for the fanboys by roping in Venom, the emblematic Spider-Man villain of the ’90s, and the tone went spazzier, and being possessed by an alien symbiote caused Tobey Maguire to develop jazz hands and also finger-guns.
I like that scene, though. Superhero movies rarely make mistakes that interesting. And even if you write off Spidey’s Fosse fugue as Raimi admitting he was bored of the one Shempy note Stan Lee gave Peter Parker, there’s a lot of weird stuff in those first three movies, including Willem Dafoe basically playing the Green Goblin as Bobby Peru. They’re not entirely purged of camp the way today’s official Marvelverse chapters are; just think of that upside-down-mask-half-off kiss between Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst in the first Raimi movie, which managed to be kinky and corny and Titanic-grade OTT-romantic all at once. There’s a mask gag in the Amazing trailer, too, but this time it involves Garfield giving his mask to the little kid he’s rescuing, so the kid can wear it and pretend to be brave just like Spider-Man. It’s a classic Peter-Parker-as-regular-guy moment. It’s also an in-the-neighborhood-of-whorish play for the Underoos demographic, and will probably work because children are a bunch of mark-ass marks. Movie people, please feel free to put that on a poster.