It begins with darkness and a low rumbling sound. No, not the footage that the Amazing Spider-Sequel team brought to Comic- con this year, but the panel itself, which arrived in Hall H with the required web-slinging pomp and circumstance.
Despite the charismatic presence of star Andrew Garfield – who arrived not just in costume (as he had a couple of years ago), but in character as Spider-Man himself – the main event here was the footage that director Marc Webb had to offer. After the usual caution that the production had only finished shooting three weeks ago and therefore gaps in scenes would be plugged with storyboards, animatics and unfinished effects sequences, it was on with the show.
We started with Spidey taking over a police chase, as Peter Parker intones, “You know what it is I love about being Spider-Man? Everything…" We see him take down and humiliate Paul Giamatti’s Aleksei Sytsevich - a.k.a. The Rhino - leaving him tied up with his trousers round his ankles, establishing a distinctly more humourous tone than the first Amazing Spider-Man (small knives aside).
From there, it’s a mixture of smaller moments, such an exchange between Peter and Aunt May (Sally Field), where he’s turned the laundry pink by washing his costume with everything else, and claims he was washing a flag. "Who are you, the laundry sheriff?"
There’s plenty of Jamie Foxx as the nerdy, insecure Max Dillon, a combovered nobody at Oscorp who has a chance encounter with Spidey and finds a friend, a situation that clearly sours once Dillon has his own power-endowing accident. Fiddling with cables and pipes, he falls into a tank containing what you’d presume are electric eels. It seems a little forced, but once all the effects are finished, it should be an effective sequence.
In this case, great power clearly doesn’t come with great responsibility, as the man now known as Electro begins to cause mayhem throughout the city. "Soon everyone will know how it feels to live in my world... a world without Spider-Man. I'm Electro!" Cue shots of him floating into the air, Dr. Manhattan-style, blasting buildings, and behaving in an, ahem, shocking manner.
In addition to all of that, there are shots of Dane DeHaan’s Harry Osborn at the Ravencroft Institute and the tiniest glimpse of Chris Cooper as his father, looking very much the worse for wear either through illness or injury. Perhaps that ties into the Goblin’s origin story... The footage's climax, meanwhile, sees Spider-Man catching a cop car that is flipping through the air towards a surprised officer. “Need a hand?”, he quips, holding the cruiser aloft like he's Superman.
It’s tough to tell what the final film will be based on early footage, but what we saw is certainly encouraging, especially considering director Webb's reassurances that this won't be as bloated as Spider-Man 3, despite the numberous bad guys. Electro is the main bad guy, Webb assured the crowd, and yes, he's able to shoot into electrical sockets and the like.
The UK release for Amazing Spider-Man 2 is set for April 18, with American Spidey-fans having to wait until May 2.