Marc Webb

Denis Leary in The Amazing Spider-Man

The Amazing Spider-Man can get ridiculous. By its very nature, there’s an inherent silliness to Marc Webb‘s reboot of the iconic character. There’s a giant talking lizard wearing a lab coat, and in terms of comic books movies, you can’t get much more cartoony than that. What stops The Amazing Spider-Man from playing as an all out cartoon is both the emotional grounding from Webb’s part and the comedic touches made with Captain Stacy, played by Denis Leary. Without ever making an obnoxious ironic smirk about that kid in unitard, Webb utilizes Leary as a way to pull the film back down to earth. In the 1990s, we saw Denis Leary in his fair share of commercial movies, and, as even he would admit to and poke fun at, not many of them were particularly good. As of late, while Leary’s schedule was packed with his Rescue Me duties, we saw a real lack of him appearing on the big screen. What does it take to get Leary in your movie now? The possibility of a good time is certainly a part of it. Denis Leary, who seemed to be enjoying himself during The Amazing Spider-Man‘s press day, sat down with us to discuss firing shotguns, when making a movie doesn’t “suck,” and the importance of knowing structure:

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Drinking Games

Today, Columbia Pictures is releasing the reboot of the Spider-Man franchise with The Amazing Spider-Man. In case you don’t want to spend $15 to $20 to see this movie in IMAX 3D, you could always rent the original Sam Raimi Spider-Man and watch it. Heck, the first hour of these films is virtually identical anyway. Ten years ago, Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man broke box office records on its opening weekend, on the way to be one of the few movies to gross more than $400m in the United States. We’ll see if Andrew Garfield and Mark Webb can do that with their new movie. But in the meantime, have a few drinks with the older movie and see how it holds up.

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A large portion of The Amazing Spider-Man does not come off as a typical summer movie. Battling that lab coat-wearing Lizard aside, the heroics of Peter Parker’s life often take a backseat to his identity crisis. Director Marc Webb, as he told us, did not want to retell the origin of Spider-Man, as we already got that film ten years ago. No matter how much we all like to chuckle at the “untold story” tagline, Webb gives us good reason to reconsider why this is a new origin story: this is Peter Parker’s origin, not Spider-Man’s. The first hour of The Amazing Spider-Man takes its time to set up this new Peter Parker and the grounded world Webb aimed to capture. Tonally everything, including the giant green lizard who talks, Webb takes as seriously as he can. The Amazing Spider-Man isn’t realistic and gritty in the Nolan sense, but bares a key similarity in its dramatic grounding. Here’s what director Marc Webb had to say about the emotional chip Peter Parker carries on his shoulder, the wise-cracking teenage hero he saw while reading the comics, and why we’ve seen so much footage from his major tentpole release:

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The release of The Amazing Spider-Man this week has left some people scratching their heads. How can a movie that is billed as “The Untold Story” be so achingly repetitive? With the first hour of the film an alternate take on the first hour of Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man from 2002, people have questioned the need to rehash essentially the same origin story of such a widely-known superhero. As reported in Latino Review, director Marc Webb insists the reboot was necessary. (Spoiler: it wasn’t.) He continues to say it was to introduce the world to a new Spider-Man and, more importantly, a new Peter Parker. (Spoiler: It really doesn’t.) Whether Webb was pressured by the studio for the redux origin or if he just wanted to not have to follow any of the Raimi canon, it seems silly to tread such familiar ground so soon. In 2002, Spider-Man continued the trend that X-Men started two years before, making superhero films profitable and possible in the big studio system. Since then, we’ve seen quite a few origin stories – from full-blown reboots of known characters as in Batman Begins to introduction of heroes who aren’t known much outside of comic book fans as in Iron Man. However, with The Man of Steel coming up next year and an obvious Batman reboot once The Dark Knight Rises finishes its run, who knows what Hollywood is going to do next?

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The Amazing Spider-Man

It was a kinder, simpler time back in January of 2010. Daybreakers and Youth in Revolt were both in theaters, New York City was asking people to eat less salt, and we were all about to find out the one-two punch that Sam Raimi was done with Spider-Man but Sony was not. It was the sort of news that reeked of corporate thinking – extending a franchise cash cow without the creative forces behind it; rebooting an unimaginably familiar character just five years after his last outing; and deciding to do all that on a dime. Optimism pointed to characters like James Bond getting new actors, but this was that rare time where a character introduced to us was being re-introduced to us, and the announcement was, admittedly, a bit surreal. It won’t be revolutionary, but there are two ways, two chances for that reboot to change the ways that movies are made. Marc Webb‘s The Amazing Spider-Man will have a lot of eyes on it these week, and a few of them will be watching it as an experiment instead of entertainment.

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Marvel has enjoyed a pronounced measure of success with their films of late. Captain America, X-Men: First Class, and especially The Avengers have proven worthy of all manner of flashy adjectives. And now we arrive at Marvel/Sony’s reboot of the character for which flashy adjectives are often indivisible from his name. The unfortunate irony is that any number of films on Marvel’s slate from the last year are more deserving of the descriptor “amazing” than Marc Webb‘s The Amazing Spider-Man. That’s not to say the film is a total disaster, but in the company’s current climate of quality, passable is not acceptable.

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For the past few days a comical and depressing mash-up of the marketing materials for The Amazing (and pretty good) Spider-Man has taken the internet by storm. Louis Plamondon – who was today’s Reject Radio’s fine guest – made a short film out of all the footage Sony has released, nearly nailing the film down beat by beat. Speaking to the film’s director Marc Webb today, his response was simple: just don’t watch it. If you care about the movie, then why delve more into spoiler territory? When asked if he had seen it yet, Webb responded, “I have not seen it, but, listen, I think most movies reveal as much stuff. That’s a marketing department thing, so I wasn’t necessarily involved in that. If you don’t want to watch it, don’t watch it. Is it really that hard?”

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How much movie advertising is too much? What’s the number? When 25% of the movie is online in ads before it comes out? 10%? 2%? Are you ready to go back to a world where the magic and mystery happens when you’re in the theater instead of at your laptop? Louis Plamondon’s (aka Sleepy Skunk) “Amazing Spider-Man in 25 Minutes” is an awesome look at the movie, but it’s also a critical middle finger to movie marketers for stealing that magic. We spoke with the mash-up editor about finding 20% of a blockbuster online before it hit theaters, what that means for piracy and how that’s deeply unfair to the people who worked on the movie. Download Episode #139

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The Amazing Spider-Man

It’s the oldest, three-year-old joke in the book: ubiquitous movie marketing means we know everything about a movie before it comes out. It’s resulted in many fans shunning trailers altogether or, gasp, avoiding Twitter. Here finally, Sony has given Vimeo user SleepySkunk the ammo to prove what we all already know (which is too much). The result is a 25-minute version of The Amazing Spider-Man cobbled together from advertisements and featurettes. At first, watching it is sort of funny – a video middle finger to an overzealous marketing culture – but after a few minutes, it starts to feel like you’re watching the movie itself. That’s a creepy feeling, knowing that the movie is almost completely out there in the world, waiting to be assembled with a little editing magic. What’s even crazier is that it features a beginning, middle and end. At 25 minutes, it’s missing a lot, but it’s like watching a plot outline version of the final product. Check it out for yourself:

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Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy in The Amazing Spider-Man

While everyone might still be buzzing about The Avengers, this summer does still hold yet another major comic book movie that just might end up being the unexpected hit of the season. Marc Webb‘s The Amazing Spider-Man again returns Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) to high school, but the focus this time around is on Peter’s relationship with his true first love, Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone), and his quest to discover his parents’ background and how that effects who he’s turned out to be. Oh, and of course he’s dealing with becoming a superhero with spider powers, but that’s just old hat at this point. The film’s latest international trailer features a lot of material we’ve seen before – some shots of the Lizard going after Spidey, a few sweet moments between Peter and Gwen, and a hefty reliance on Peter’s parents and whatever the heck it is that Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans) is cooking up in his lab – but it also continues to hint that Stone’s Gwen Stacy is quite aware of what’s really going on with her boyfriend. Especially when Spidey tosses her out a window and reels her back in, thanks to those nifty web-shooters. Do you have that kind of trust in your relationship?

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As superhero fever sweeps across the world and The Amazing Spider-Man’s release date approaches, the film’s Viral Videos Division (I assume this is a thing movies have) is ramping up their efforts and doing everything possible to get the public excited about Spidey’s new screen villain, The Lizard. To that end, two new videos have been released: one that’s structured as a fake recruitment video and feels all virally, and another that looks like the traditional sort of featurette you’d find in a DVD’s special features menu or whatnot.

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The summer of 2012 will go down as one of the biggest movie-going seasons for comic-book superheroes, and it’s a feat that probably won’t be repeated anytime soon. Joss Whedon’s fantastically entertaining The Avengers opens tomorrow and Christopher Nolan closes out his epic Batman trilogy with The Dark Knight Rises this July, but nestled in between those two guaranteed blockbusters is a web-slinging wildcard. Director Marc Webb’s The Amazing Spider-Man is fighting an uphill battle as it reboots Sam Raimi’s beloved trilogy that’s less than a decade old. It’s an origin story, of course, but Webb and friends insist that doesn’t mean we know the whole story… Check out the new trailer for The Amazing Spider-Man below.

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It’s funny how desperate the anticipation for a movie can make some people. Months ago, when blurry images of plastic toy prototypes leaked onto the internet, some went nutty trying to find them and then trash them for looking ridiculous. Those toys were from any comic book movie ever, but the latest were from The Amazing Spider-Man and featured a very naked Lizard in all his glory. Now, Apple has some better pictures to look at. They feature the Lizard having to choke a bitch and holding a very family camera. Not at the same time, though. It’s two different pictures. Check them out for yourself:

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Sony doesn’t need time to take a breath. They’re already planning on shooting the sequel to The Amazing Spider-Man sometime in early 2013. That’s not set in stone of course (because, you know, the movie has to earn a sequel first), but the studio has already hired the superstar pairing of Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci to re-write the script from James Vanderbilt. According to Deadline Five Burroughs, the pair are “excited to be part of [the] legendary franchise,” which is better than being ho-hum about writing for Peter Parker. It’s a fairly obvious choice considering their work on giant budget fare like Tranformers and Star Trek, and they’re talented. No doubt about that. But they’re specifically talented at use broad brushstrokes and pouring on the melted butter. That’s a rare talent to be sure, but while it’s easy to see that brand of largeness brought to the action of Spider-Man, it’s the more intimate moments that might suffer. Of course, the pair have also had their work pushed through the vision of Michael Bay, J.J. Abrams and Jon Favreau so it’s not exactly easy to pick out where they shine individually. At any rate, they’re veterans of the tentpole game, and Sony could do worse than to rely on them to bring a second story to life.

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With Christopher Nolan’s follow-up to the hugely successful The Dark Knight and Marvel’s unprecedented live action team-up of their biggest names, The Avengers, both hitting theaters this summer, The Amazing Spider-Man has started to feel like the odd man out. Clearly Spider-Man is one of the most popular superheroes of all time, but enough time just hasn’t passed between his last big screen trilogy and this franchise relaunch to build a level of anticipation and excitement for the film comparable to these other big, comic book-based events. That hasn’t stopped the marketing team from doing their damnedest to sell this movie to a superhero-saturated audience, however. This might not be the summer of Spider-Man when all is said and done, but it’s undeniable how cool all of the recent advertising for the film has been. The recent additions to the marketing blitz are a new, Japanese trailer that takes, mostly, the same  footage from the second trailer, but remixes it to produce a much darker tone and sense of dread, and a couple of new posters that look standard at first glance, but might tell us a bit about where this story is going with closer consideration.

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Unfortunately for this year’s WonderCon, I was only able to spend one day at the convention. When busting your cherry, convention or otherwise, it is often best to go nice and slow. While I’d have loved to get a few more hours at the convention, which moved to Anaheim, California, this year, I did more than just get my toes wet. Because it was raining. I spent the better, longer part of Saturday sitting in the massive ballroom at the Anaheim Convention Center, just down the street from Disneyland, staring up at a gigantic screen projecting clear images of actors, actresses, writers, and directors which, to my naked eye, were tiny specks about a quarter of a mile away. The panels I managed to get into included Lockout, Battleship, The Amazing Spider-Man, and Resident Evil: Retribution, so let’s all take a look together at the joyous cinematic wonders they had to show!

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As we all know, our streets are riddled with crime. You can’t even go down a dark alleyway without getting mugged or attacked by a roving troop of Improv Everywhere participants. What we don’t all know is whether or not we can trust the red-masked menace who calls himself Spider-Man to be a force for good. Is he really fighting crime or is he committing it? Either way, he’s inspiring local street artists to tag for him – leaving giant spray paint spiders on concrete walls all over the city – and inspiring Captain George Stacy to set up a hotline where citizens can call and report sightings in an attempt to bring in the man for questioning. According to The Daily Bugle, the number to call is 1-877-651-8503, and the police have even set up a website for Spider-Man tips. Check out the interview with Stacy as he explains why Spider-Man is dangerous and suggests the news team over at The Daily Bugle spend some time with a dictionary.

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The new trailer for Marc Webb’s Amazing Spider-Man reboot has just hit the web… and it doesn’t look bad at all! The film stars Andrew Garfield as the titular and angst-filled hero and Emma Stone as the love interest alongside Martin Sheen, Sally Field, Denis Leary, Rhys Ifans, C. Thomas Howell and Campbell Scott (and yes, probably Stan Lee). It claims to tell the “untold story” but appears to be an origin tale, so who knows what Webb and friends have up their sleeve. (Beside the web shooter I mean.) Check out the new trailer below.

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When Sony released the “Untold Story” tagine for The Amazing Spider-Man, it rang about as true as a career politician and lobbyist claiming to be a Washington Outsider (or, for a less current joke, like Hot Pockets claiming they wouldn’t cause your bowels to erupt). It’s a rebooted franchise – essentially a remake of an earlier film that came out of the same studio a decade ago. However, there were always elements that hinted at Sony and direct Marc Webb going big instead of going home. A new synopsis, uncovered by the Times of India (via Screen Rant), shows off exactly what they mean by an untold story, and as it matches up to the original Sam Raimi film – it’s pretty damned untold. Sure, there are the teenage elements of angst and that certain feeling of being lost in a sea of hormones without a rudder or a helping hand. Hopefully there will be some playfulness and some sarcasm. Of course there will be a spider bite. All of it rings familiar, except the rest of the plot. In fact, much like a comic book, it reads like an alternate history of a character delivered by a new writer. Check it out for yourself:

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Now, normally I don’t post stuff like this because staring at plastic toy designs in order to determine what a character might look like in an upcoming movie is less fun than, say, flying a kite or punching myself in the face. However, these speculative product tie-in pictures for The Amazing Spider-Man were too good/terrible to pass up. Why? Because I fear for the movie. I fear for it. I fear that a character I love is getting an unnecessary recharge because Sony wants more money. Beyond that, I’m excited to see more work from Marc Webb, but I fear that a director with incredible creative potential is being wasted on a project no one really asked for – a character introduction to someone we already know really well. Plus, these images from Idle Hands are ridiculous. If this truly does echo the look of The Lizard (Rhys Ifans) in the movie, then we are all in for the laugh riot of the year. The design here is, I believe genuinely, channeled from the abomination that was the 1993 Super Mario Bros.  Judge for yourself:

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