Spider-Man passed the reboot test with 2012’s “The Amazing Spider-Man” but now he’ll face an even bigger challenge when “The Amazing Spider-Man 2″ — a sequel to the reboot — hits theaters next year.
“We really want to be protective of the plot of the movie,” returning director Marc Webb explains during a press conference at Comic-Con 2013. “Protective of the enjoyment of the movie people should have when they walk into the theater for the first time.”
Among the limited details we already know: the Spidey sequel introduces a slew of new characters to the saga played by the likes of Jamie Foxx, Paul Giamatti, Chris Cooper, Dane DeHaan, Felicity Jones, Sarah Gadon and BJ Novak.
“This is operatic. There’s a hugeness of scale to this movie,” Webb allows. “The ensemble is pretty extraordinary. But it’s cohesive and simple and direct. There’s a unifying theme at the heart of the film that I think will be very impactful.”
One thing audiences won’t see: Shailene Woodley as Mary Jane Watson. The planned introduction of Peter Parker’s true love has been delayed to a later film. (Emma Stone does return as Gwen Stacy, Parker’s love interest from the first film and also Garfield’s off screen girlfriend.) As for whether or not Woodley will still have the role when production commences as expected on “The Amazing Spider-Man 3,” producer Avi Arad will only say, “We love [Shailene] and time will tell.”
However, it’s clear that both Peter and Spidey will be in a new place in the sequel. Andrew Garfield is clearly enthusiastic about playing a Spidey who’s grown more comfortable with the great responsibilities that come with his great powers. “When we meet Spider-Man at the beginning of this film he’s taking great pleasure in his power and he has great control over it,” Garfield shares. “A little like Usain Bolt [before a big race]. What I love about this Spider-Man is he has the confidence to not only be heroic but mess with people while he’s being heroic, he’s Bugs Bunny in a way.”
“There’s a level of virtuosity in his physical capabilities we really had fun playing around with,” Webb agrees. “Fun is crucial. The first movie we had a lot of obligations, it was a little bit darker. This one, from the outset, has that level of play that I loved in Spider-Man growing up.”
Webb — who also directed “(500) Days of Summer” starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel — reveals he went back to the classics to find inspiration for a newer, lighter Spidey. “Physical comedy is something that’s a lost art,” Webb notes. “We went back and looked at a lot of Charlie Chaplin movies, Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd. How difficult the physical task of comedy like that was, it was something we wanted to mess around with. It was incredibly demanding of Andrew and also intensely pleasurable as a filmmaker.”
Garfield admits that even though the role was physically demanding, the ensemble nature of the film allowed him to rest more frequently and conserve his energy better than he could the first time around. He was also particularly pleased with a couple of crucial updates to the Spider-Man costume: “The eyes are much bigger and better, you can see more. It’s still tight as it was before. I was able to urinate in this one easier, that was a very friendly adjustment by our costume designer. It’s mostly my ability to urinate which I’m happy about.”
While Garfield’s having more fun as Spidey, Oscar winner Foxx finds himself in darker territory as the web-slinger’s primary adversary: Electro. “We wanted Electro to be serious,” Foxx reveals. “I wanted him to be a formidable opponent. I really wanted Electro to be angry … I think that’s what works, it makes the fight more epic. He’s not talking a lot, he wants to burn the city down.”
With the aforementioned “Amazing Spider-Man 3″ and an additional “Amazing Spider-Man 4″ already in the works at Sony, Webb knows he has the duty to greatly expand Peter’s world and he acknowledges fans should be on the lookout for hints of what’s ahead. “It’s fun to tease things,” he admits. “If you pay attention in this next movie you’ll see some things that may be in store for us in the future.”