Like Spider-Man himself, Sony Pictures feels great responsibility when it comes to its most precious franchise. The music pounded, the lights dimmed and three massive curtains at the front of the San Diego Convention Center’s Hall H pulled back to reveal the screens that would debut new footage for “The Amazing Spider-Man 2,” which just finished filming in New York three weeks ago.
Fans went nuts for the scenes, some still in storyboard form, that explored Peter Parker’s newfound joy with being Spider-Man and his complex relationship with Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) while also revealing some of villain Electro’s (played by Jamie Foxx) origin story. The movie won’t open until May 2, 2014.
But as he did two years ago in Hall H, it was Andrew Garfield who stole the show. His stunning mix of humility, honesty and that old-fashioned British charm lit up the room once again.
First, Garfield made a dramatic entrance through the side door as none other than Spider-Man, masked and happy to be with his people after a video played of him scaling the nearby Hard Rock Hotel and the convention center to get inside the building.
“I come to Comic-Con every year,” he said. “It’s the only place I feel normal and I can blend into the crowd.”
He then reappeared as his own self, ready to defend remarks he’d made that he could see Spider-Man being in a gay, interracial relationship.
“Spider-Man stands for everyone, ” Garfield said. “But it would be illogical if in the third movie I was with a black guy,” he added with a laugh.
“To me it’s not a social issue. Love between two consenting adults is love,” he added to raucous applause. Spider-Man is “a hero. He’s covered head to toe. You don’t know his race, his sexuality. He stands for the underdog. He stands for those who need protecting.”
He also turned on the charm with the audience, entertaining every stammer and unpolished question that came from the nervous attendees, revealing bits of himself in the process.
“I always saw Spider-Man as the older brother and Peter Parker as the younger brother, just like my older brother and me,” answering a question about how he delineates between the two characters. “I am a mess. I’m vulnerable, oversensitive, stupid and I make mistakes. My brother is perfect. He’s a doctor. He can actually save lives. How can I compete with that?”
Nothing else Sony presented during the panel could compete with its big finish of “Spider-Man,” though the remake of “RoboCop,” which preceded the Spider-Man footage, got the closest.
From Brazilian director Jose Padilha, the film reboots the 1987 cult classic for today’s society, focusing on the issues of remote warfare and using robots in combat. Swedish actor Joel Kinnaman (“The Killing”) plays the fatally wounded cop who is turned into a cyborg, only to have his human emotions begin to take charge. Joining Kinnaman and Padilha on stage were Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Keaton and Abby Cornish.
“This movie is about something,” Padilha said. “It talks about the near future. This will have a huge impact in society.”
The studio also brought the cast of “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2″ onstage. The voice talent features Bill Hader, Anna Faris and Terry Crews, who has taken over the popular character of Earl from Mr. T.
Screen Gems’ “Mortal Instruments: City of Bones” made its Comic-Con debut, bringing out star Lily Collins and a large cast of relative newcomers including Jamie Campbell Bower (“The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn”), Robert Sheehan (“The Misfits”), Kevin Zegers (“Gossip Girl”) and Godfrey Gao.
The adaptation of the bestselling novel by Cassandra Clare, due out Aug. 21, seemed to play only to a small segment of the Hall H audience — those devoted to the series about shadow hunter Clary Fray (Collins) and her quest to save her mother and understand the secrets of her family.
“The source material is pretty great,” director Harald Zwart said. “The hardest part was compressing it all into a movie.”
Nicole Sperling | @LATherocomplex
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