Whether you're an old school comic fan or a Sam Raimi enthusiast, the friendly, neighborhood Spider-Man swinging into theaters next week is a brand-new arachnid.
For those of you trying to wrap your web around the concept of a reboot five short years after the last trilogy (and wondering why you need to see it ), we checked out a series of press conferences with the cast of "The Amazing Spider-Man" in New York City.
After listening to Andrew Garfield (the new Peter Parker), Emma Stone (his sweetheart Gwen Stacy), director Marc Webb and the movie's producers, we think we have the power to help.
And you know what they say: With great power comes great responsibility to list 10 things you need to know about the all-new "Amazing Spider-Man."
1. There's a Reason For the Reboot
Producers of the new movie know how odd it seems to restart a series after such a short break. Matt Tolbach explained, "We've been pretty open about the fact that we tried to make another installment of the Raimi/Tobey [Maguire] movies. Sam was the first one to finally say ,"My story's been told, my trilogy has run its course, but someone else should tell this story.
"As much as we all loved what we did with Sam, we knew Spider-Man lives on forever and there are so many different ways to interpret the character. Marc Webb's vision of Spider-Man was wholly different than what Sam was doing. We felt incredibly good and clear about reinterpreting this iconic character who had been reinterpreted so many times in the books over the years. As long as people love Spider-Man, there's a great reason to make these movies. We feel good about it, and we love Spider-Man, so it was an easy decision."
2. Is Tobey Maguire Cool With This?
"When I got cast," Garfield explained, "he sent an email to Matt Tolmach immediately, and it was very, very generous. It made me feel like I could take the torch in confidence and that I had the support in him. He didn't need to do that; it's a testament to him, as a person. We're all just part of that family, the 'Spider-Man' family. "
We'll take that as a yes, then.
3. Why Is Spider-Man Being Played By a Skinny British Guy?
Director Webb was sold on Garfield the day he auditioned — he told us later, in an exclusive one-on-one, that Garfield's nationality didn't give him a moment's pause.
Webb told press, "He could do the emotional gravitas that's required — Peter Parker has a lot of tragedy in his life. But he's also got whimsy. He's funny and alive and light and sarcastic, and those are the kind of attributes that I really wanted to explore in the film. Then he has an incredible physical stamina ... we tried to, especially in the beginning part of the movie, do a lot of the stunts in a practical way. That requires a significant amount of effort on the part of the actor. For someone to have that kind of maturity and focus is really tricky — all embodied in someone who behaves convincingly like a teenager.
4. Garfield Did His Research
"The teenager element is vital to this particular superhero and this person, the character," said Garfield. "The fact that he goes through the same things that I go through. He's all of us, he really is! So the teenage thing ... I did spend time in Queens hanging out with teenagers. Especially for getting the voice, intonation and picking up phrases I might not be aware of, the feeling, a general malaise, or the awkward shyness, every aspect."
5. 'Spider-Man' Uses Mechanical Web Shooters — But They're Not Functional
"Do I lie or do I tell the truth?" Garfield joked. "No, it was a nice exercise in imagination. There's a car-jacker scene that was all improvised, so I had this idea that I could draw the Spidey insignia over the guy's crotch. At one point, they had that in, but I think they took it out — I don't know why. To be able to have that imagination and do whatever you want and know that they could add it in, in post, was kind of liberating. So I could shut that door on that guy as many times as I wanted, I could web him in the face. I could web the lock shut. That was kind of fun, but difficult. It would've been awesome if it was real.
6. Gwen Stacy Is Straight From the Comics
Stone explained, "The costumes were done by Kym Barrett, who's fantastic. We worked together to make sure that Gwen felt like Gwen, in a way that worked in the real world. Obviously, I'm a lot less voluptuous than Gwen, unfortunately, so it didn't really go to those heights. But we had the signature headband, and the thigh-highs and the coats.
"I'm by no means a supermodel or an unattainable-looking person, so that element of Gwen was a bit different than the comic books in some ways, because she was such a beauty queen. I'm a little more next-door than she might be."
7. The First Kiss Doesn't TRY To Compete With the Iconic Mary Jane Smooch
"Obviously there's no comparison there," Stone said. "I thought about it, but you know, it was up to them to write it, so we just kind of went with what they wrote. There was a little tango move, I think it was a nod to 'Indiana Jones.'"
8. Peter Parker and Spider-Man Get Equal Attention
Webb gained his reputation as the director of "500 Days of Summer" —you know, the movie that made Joseph Gordon-Levitt a heartthrob.
"[Webb] prioritized the relationships just as much as the action," said Stone. "I know he had a million voices in his ear. A movie like this, there's a lot of opinions all the time on everything. He would come in on Sundays to work with us on the scenes, and break them down and build them all the way back up until we had the same scene that was on the page but we'd analyzed it to death."
"He was incredibly kind and willing to work on that [Peter/Gwen] relationship, from my experience I was very grateful that he came from that background."
9. 'Spider-Man' Tackles the Real Issues, Like Bullying in Schools
Peter Parker's underdog status is central to his origin story, and Webb's version uses bullying as a catalyst for a few major plot points.
Stone explained, "He's able to fight back with the bullies that he wasn't able to before, it's symbolism for kids that they have so much power within them. To speak out, to stand up for themselves, to stay unique, to stay true to who they are, as Peter does. He finds those heroic elements within him, with or without his powers."
10. Stan Lee Has the Best Cameo Ever
It requires considerable restraint, but we won't spoil a thing about it. EXCEPT THAT IT'S AWESOME.
"The first time I met Stan, who's a fantastic human being and an incredibly creative guy, he said, 'So, Marc, let's talk about my cameo!' After we talked about it and he made his demands, he talked about getting a category at Academy Awards for Best Cameo," Webb told us.
"In all honesty, before we started shooting the movie, I was trying to think of places in the film to add some levity and humor."
Producer Avi Arad added, "It's a tradition that we cherish, we love doing it."