Sony Pictures held worldwide sneak peek event for The Amazing Spider-Man on Monday in 13 cities. “The Untold Story Begins” events took place simultaneously, with the cast and filmmakers appearing live in various cities, connecting with each other though live satellite feeds in Los Angeles, New York City, Rio de Janeiro and London. Almost a thousand fans lined up at the AMC Theater in Century City, CA, many more than Sony had anticipated. The studio added additional screenings of the footage (sans in-theater celebrity appearances) to satisfy most of the fans who showed up.

Watch a video blog reaction I recorded with Alex from FirstShowing below:

The main purpose of the event was to drive home that this is a much different Spider-Man adaptation than we’re seen before — it’s “the untold story”. And after seeing the new trailer (which will premiere at midnight PSD tonight online) and an eight minute sizzle reel, that was my main take away. Keep in mind, Sony planned it this way. Also, the studio and filmmakers carefully chose each and every frame projected on the screen. As with any of these early footage presentations, we’re probably seeing the best spoiler-free moments from the film. But this is all I have to go on at this point, so here are my take-aways:

  • Many of Spider-Man effects were performed and shot practically. The web-swinging sequences look amazing, especially in 3D. Even the computer rendered versions of Spidey flying through buildings look 10 steps above the amazing web-swinging sequences from the Raimi trilogy.
  • The love interest has switched from Kirsten Dunst‘s Mary Jane (who was in love with Spider-Man) to Emma Stone‘s Gwen Stacey (who is more in love with Peter Parker). Part of the sizzle reel is the scene shown at comic con where Peter kinda sorta asks Gwen out on a date — this moment feels so real, right and natural. Stone and Garfield have incredible chemistry. A magical moment like this and the connection it brings has to come to play when the action and drama begins. I think this is director Marc Webb’s largest gift to the reboot — giving moviegoers the chance to connect emotionally with the characters, in a way that other superhero films have rarely attempted.
  • The stakes are more personal — with Stacy’s father heading the man hunt for the costumed vigilante and Doctor Connors (aka The Lizard) having a connection to Parker’s parents. There is a moment that was in the reel and you’ll see in the trailer where the topic of Spider-Man is being discussed at the Stacey dinner table — Peter defends Spidey telling Captain Stacy (Denis Leary) that he thinks Spider-Man is doing what the police can’t. Stacy doesn’t take this well — this relationship, a triangle of sorts, adds a very interesting new dynamic to The Amazing Spider-Man.
  • It feels darker and more realistic (while Raimi’s films perfectly captured the classic comics, Webb’s film captures the more modern/contemporary feel of the Ultimate editions) but still nails the comedy from the comics (for example, how Spider-Man plays around with a carjacker before capturing him). There are shots that look like they were ripped right out of the Todd McFarlane-era comics, with Spidey crouched down in signature style on top of a massive spider-web.
  • The one thing I’m still not sure about (and forgot to discuss in the video blog above) is that villain, a completely computer generated version of The Lizard. The filmmakers cleverly choose shots that kept the character obscured in the action, which may or may not be stylistically how he is presented in the film. I’m still waiting to see more before I make any judgements.
  • I left the theater more impressed with what I had seen than I did with the reveal of Christopher Nolan’s prologue for The Dark Knight Rises. I’m very excited to see the final film, although I’m already getting nervous that I’ve seen too much from the 8 minute sizzle reel. I’m not going to describe what was shown in detail because you can probably find a detailed rundown somewhere else online and because its better to experience it yourself.

The Amazing Spider-Man hits theaters on July 3rd 2012.

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