By Oliver Lyttelton | www.oliverlyttelton.com February 7, 2012 at 3:10AM
Last year, we had four summer superhero films, of which two turned out to be fairly unqualified successes -- the Marvel pictures "Thor" and "Captain America: The First Avenger" -- one a moderate success -- "X-Men First Class" -- and one that tanked like Lori Petty -- "Green Lantern." As we said sometime last week, this summer is less complicated when it comes to comic book fare, with two of the three films based on graphic novels being solid gold hits regardless of anything, namely "The Dark Knight Rises" and "The Avengers."
But the third, while likely a hit, is more of a question mark; it might be a continuation of the single most successful superhero franchise to date, but it's also a reboot that's attracted ire from fans since its announcement two years ago: "The Amazing Spider-Man." It's got solid talent on board, to be sure: "Zodiac" writer Jamie Vanderbilt, "(500) Days Of Summer" helmer Marc Webb and a cast that includes Andrew Garfield as your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, Emma Stone as love interest Gwen Stacy, Rhys Ifans as villain The Lizard, and Martin Sheen, Sally Field, Irrfan Khan, Denis Leary, Campbell Scott, Embeth Davidtz and Annie Parisse in support. But no one's quite demonstrated that starting from scratch again is necessary (even if only one of the Sam Raimi outings, the second, was really any good), and a super-early trailer last summer didn't help the claims of emo-Spidey.
But on the back of worldwide screenings of sneak peek footage, Sony have debuted a new trailer for the film in the early hours of the morning, and it looks solid. Really, really solid. Garfield looks great, the effects look strong, and there's a better sense of the humor of the character than ever came across in the Raimi movies. The brief glimpses of the all-CGI lizard are promising as well. What we're not quite sold on is the meld of tones -- the mix of humor and a darker feel than previous films, which sits a little uneasily. And the marketing angle of 'The Untold Story,' hinting that Parker may have always been destined for superpowers thanks to his father, an Oscorp employee, still feels off. Maybe Webb & co will be able to genuinely surprise with the storyline, but it almost feels overly defensive.
Even so, we're still a good six months away, so Sony's great hope for the summer is in as good a place as you could want it to be at this stage in the game, and we're genuinely looking forward to seeing more. "The Amazing Spider-Man" hits theaters on July 4th.