Okay, I get it. Everyone’s talking about “The Avengers,” and who can blame them?
After making more than $322 million overseas in its first week, the highly-anticipated and long awaited superhero epic finally opens in U.S. theaters this weekend. Reviews have been spectacular (with a whopping 93% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes), and industry pundits are predicting a domestic opening of anywhere between $150 million to $175 million.
I really liked “The Avengers,” but please, just for a few moments, can we please turn our attention to “The Amazing Spider-Man?” I know it doesn’t swing into theaters until July 3rd, but after seeing the latest trailer yet, the movie looks fantastic.
That’s saying a lot, given how cautiously optimistic I’ve been so far about the Spidey re-boot. After all, the last of the Tobey Maguire/Sam Raimi films hit theaters just five years ago, and while “Spider-Man 3” wasn’t as beloved by fans or critics as the first two films, it still made over $800 million worldwide. Not to mention the fact that the first “Spider-Man” film is just 10 years old, so isn’t it too soon to tell the origin story all over again?
Well, maybe it is, and that’s what makes the reboot such an incredibly risky venture for its distributor, Sony Pictures. Adding to the risk factor is that its director, Marc Webb, has just one other feature film under his belt: 2009’s “(500) Days of Summer.” While delightful heartfelt and ingeniously constructed, the indie cost just $10 million to make – a far cry from the requirements of a massive $150 million 3-D summer tentpole.
And while Andrew Garfield is on the rise after his breakthrough performance in 2010’s Best Picture-nominee “The Social Network,” he has yet to prove himself as a box office draw. What he does have going for himself is an incredible amount of love and respect for the character of Spider-Man, which was evident after his touching speech in front of 6,500 genre fans at last year’s San Diego Comic-Con.
Those fans (myself included) were the first to see extended footage from “The Amazing Spider-Man,” and that’s when the tide finally turned in its favor, thanks to a very different spin on the source material than its three predecessors. It’s edgier and more character-driven, the Lizard looks like a great villain, Spider-Man’s web-shooters are back to being mechanical, and Spidey seems more like the wise-cracking vigilante that he was in the original comic books.
But this latest trailer really puts the movie over the top. The action scenes look – dare I say it – amazing, and that was just based on what I saw on my computer screen. I can only imagine what it looks like in 3-D on the big screen, so it I guess I’ll have to see “The Avengers” again to see it for myself (the trailer goes up with “The Avengers,” along with the new trailer for the summer’s other highly-anticipated comic book sequel, “The Dark Knight Rises”).
A lot is riding on “The Amazing Spider-Man.” Not only is it hitting theaters 50 years to the day after Spidey made his first appearance in the pages of “Amazing Fantasy #15,” but it will also have to win over the skeptics who feel like they’ve already seen it before. Based on the new trailer, I’d say there’s no reason to worry. The movie looks different, it looks awesome, and it looks like “The Amazing Spider-Man” will be as good as its name – if not better.
-- Scott Mantz (on Twitter @MovieMantz)
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