One of the most anticipated events of the 2012 Kapow Comic Convention featured one of the Summer's biggest films. The line heading into the sneak peak of "The Amazing Spider-Man" was incredibly long, but the promise of seeing something special kept the crowd in good spirits. Needless to say, the assembled masses group were full of Spider-Man related cosplay figures, some particularly impressive in their fidelity to the ol' webhead. Once inside it was obvious that, aside from queues for certain superstar signings, this footage drew the convention's largest crowd, surely a testimony to the enduring power of the character. Spider-Man is one of a handful of comic heroes who can entangle both the mainstream and the most hardened of fanboys, and despite this reboot coming quite swiftly after the Sam Raimi "Spider-Man" film trilogy, it seems the hunger for Peter Parker's exploits remains very strong.
A Sony representative informed the crowd that we were to be treated to two events; a 6-minute trailer for the upcoming "Total Recall" remake starring Colin Farrell and Jessica Biel, as well as the highly-anticipated "Amazing Spider-Man" footage. He also cautioned that some of the effects in the "Total Recall" footage were unfinished. Despite that caveat, this was a strong teaser, full of action, intrigue and owing much in the aesthetic vein to a previous Farrell film, the Steven Spielberg-directed "Minority Report." The modes of transport in particular echoed the earlier film, but the rest of the world appeared grungier and more dystopian.
The footage blazed ahead with fascinating concepts of reality fracturing and memory manipulation -- familiar elements for science fiction fans, but stylishly entertaining in this new film, with a distinct verve to the scenes and an interesting core. When it had finished there was a big cheer from the audience but it had the distinct ring of surprise by way of relief.
Of course, "Total Recall" was not the reason so many fans had squeezed themselves into this particular convention hall. A pronounced hush took hold as the lights dimmed for the debut of new footage from "The Amazing Spider-Man." Starting with Peter's pointed and mysterious pronouncement on the dangers of keeping secrets, the clip then showed the character in action, with plenty of those dizzying POV vistas glimpsed in the trailer. Mercifully, the 3D actually felt like it was enhancing the experience for once. As a change of pace we were given a touching, beautifully played scene between Peter and Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone), the perfect encapsulation of awkward and nervous Peter as he attempts to woo the luminous Ms. Stacey. Garfield and Stone sparked off each beautifully, presenting something sweet, likable and instantly endearing. It also gave the Martin Sheen take on Uncle Ben some room to shine, the veteran actor bringing a nice and mischievous reading to the role. Hopefully he can elevate Peter's doomed uncle to a character over a plot device.
With more humor involving Spider-Man enjoying his powers, the emphasis on fun continued to appeal before giving way to more tense moments involving the villain of the piece, The Lizard. Much has been speculated as to how this character will be presented in the Marc Webb-directed film, since up until now the cold blooded creation of Doctor Curt Connors has proven rather camera shy. While still keeping largely to the shadows, this footage definitely showed more of the Lizard in action. The verdict? The jury is still out, truth be told. At times it seems to click and we are given a Lovecraftian creation of malice, but in other moments the skin appears rubbery and almost cartoony. This is, however, a minor criticism since the footage kept viewers on the edge of their skyscrapers and in the thick of it with Spider-Man. A rousing chorus of fan screaming and applause followed, and while Raimi's fairytale and light comedic touches suited the material, this Kapow event gave any self respecting Spider-Man fans goose bumps at the possibility of beginning again and finding a new angle. Excited chatter occurred as we poured out of the room, it seemed everyone felt that this new take might just have the staying power of the character itself.