Footage from Sony’s upcoming slate of films — including a sequel to “Ghost Rider,” the comedy “30 Minutes or Less” and a remake of “Total Recall” — was all entertaining but served primarily as preamble to the main event at Sony’s Comic-Con panel Friday: “The Amazing Spider-Man.” After the teaser trailer was released this week to lukewarm reception, Sony was charged with wowing audiences with its reboot of the web-slinger franchise, this time directed by Marc Webb (“(500) Days of Summer”).
The studio introduced its most precious brand with great theatrics: The music rumbled, emcee Ralph Garman from radio station KROQ-FM (106.7) encouraged everyone to put on their 3-D glasses, and then the audience started clapping as the room slowly darkened to unveil footage of one of Comic-Con’s biggest heroes. The trailer played well to the packed room, but it was the new Peter Parker himself, Andrew Garfield, who won fans over: He stood up in the audience in Hall H in a low-rent Spider-Man costume and delivered an emotional speech about how much he loved the character.
“I wouldn’t be able to stand here if it wasn’t for Spider-Man. I’m living out every skinny boy’s fantasy of being stronger. We all wished we had the courage to stand up for ourselves, for the people we loved…. This is the coolest moment of my life. Thank you for being here to share it with me.”
He continued his tribute to Spider-Man onstage: “Peter Parker has been the one fictional character I related to most growing up, that and Holden Caulfield. I wore my first Spider-Man suit when I was 2 on Halloween.”
Garfield said he is approaching this reboot like Shakespeare: “another chapter in a comic-book story that means so much to so many different people.”
Sony endeared fans even further by debuting footage of Rhys Ifans as Dr. Curt Connors, the scientist who turns into Spider-Man’s nemesis The Lizard. The studio showed footage of Dr. Connors transforming into the evil reptilian. Ifans then bounded onstage and delivered a few garbled sentences.
The rest of the cast and crew onstage — including Emma Stone, who plays Gwen Stacy; Garfield; director Webb; and producers Matt Tolmach and Avi Arad — were adorned in Stand Up to Cancer sweatshirts, T-shirts and stickers in honor of “Spider-Man” producer Laura Ziskin, who died this year after a long battle with cancer and was instrumental in founding the charity.
The fans seemed to eat up the footage, which also included an extended scene of Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy in a high school hallway, a brief character moment that illustrated the tone of the reboot, which bows next summer.
One fan summed it up well. “This is a huge honor for me to be here,” said an eager teenage boy. “I love Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone. You guys are my favorite actors.”
– Nicole Sperling
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