Comic-Con: THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 Panel Recap; Andrew Garfield, Jamie Foxx, and More Talk Electro, Gay Spider-Man, THE AVENGERS, and More

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We had to wait until Friday evening to see a major superhero panel in Hall H at Comic-Con, but The Amazing Spider-Man 2 kicked things off with a bang. During the film’s panel, we were treated to an extended look at footage from the sequel along with a rather elaborate entrance from Spidey himself, Andrew Garfield. Along with Jamie Foxx, Dane DeHaan, director Marc Webb, and producers Matt Tolmach and Avi Arad, Garfiield discussed facing off against Electro, the villain’s transformation, juggling the multiple characters in the ensemble, Garfield’s comments about a possibly bisexual Spider-Man, the prospect of joining The Avengers, and much more.

Hit the jump to read my full recap from the Comic-Con panel for The Amazing Spider-Man 2.

the-amazing-spider-man-2-costume-posterSony began the panel by opening up the side screens in Hall H, just as Warner Bros. did last year, signaling The Amazing Spider-Man 2 as the first big, big movie here in Hall H.

Andrew Garfield made a memorable and heartfelt entrance last year, and Sony tried to do something similar this year by playing a video in which Spider-Man is trying to get into Hall H but is denied by the security guards. He does his crawly, web-slingy thing and makes it in, but there was a timing issue when the lights came up and Garfield was a tad late appearing on the stage in full costume.

Spidey (Garfield) took his palce on the panel with Marc Webb, producers Avi Arad and Matt Tolmach, Dane DeHaan (Harry Osborn), and then they ran a video message from Emma Stone who is busy filming a movie with Woody Allen in France. In the middle of her message, the video started cutting out and we saw Jamie Foxx’s Electro cutting in, singing his own take on “Itsy Bitsy Spider” backed by some electricity cackling. Foxx then took the stage to the musical stylings of Kanye West’s “Power,” with Garfield/Spidey greeting him by saying, “I liked you in Django Unchained.” Not missing a beat, Foxx replied, “I like the way you die boy.” Continuing on with the Chris Farley Show-inspired bit, Garifeld—still in character as Spider-Man—brought up Any Given Sunday and he and Foxx broke into a spontaneous rendition of Foxx’s “My name is Willy, Willy Beaman” song from the Oliver Stone film. It’s obvious that the two have some great chemistry, and I’m eager to see their interplay in the film.

Getting to the actual panel, the moderator asked Garfield (still in character as Spider-Man) about playing Spider-Man:

  • the-amazing-spider-man-2-jamie-foxx“It all gets to be a little old hat after a while; you get kind of irritated by the banality of the swinging,” Spidey continued, saying that once he’s hanging from a tall building, he gets to thinking that he wishes they had Wi-Fi up there.

Choosing Electro as the villain:

  • “It’s extremely fun to play the villain, you don’t have to color inside the lines,” said Foxx. His three-year-old was having a Spider-Man birthday at the time that he got the call that Sony wanted him to be in The Amazing Spider-Man 2.

  • Foxx said the character of Max Dillon is great as an actor because Dillon’s father left him as a kid and his mom was overprotective. They don’t show it in the movie, but Dillon was married previously and now he lives with his mom

  • “We wanted to take away three things from Max: love, his family, and then his work.” We see Max on his birthday and even his mom doesn’t remember his birthday.

  • Foxx wanted Electro to be “a serious individual that wants to burn the city down and burn Spider-Man along with it,” adding that there’s no hokey-ness to his performance.

  • amazing-spider-man-2-jamie-foxx-electroDid Foxx worry about getting into the comics costume? Foxx said you want to be true to everything, but you also want to be a pioneer in your vision for the character.

  • Foxx said that Dillon is hurt, and when Spider-Man saves him and calls him “his partner,” Dillon starts to kind of worship Spidey as a hero.

What was it like to be freed after having already told the origin story?

  • Webb wanted to build a universe that was a little more elaborate and that would build out over a few movies. Once he finished the origin story, he felt liberated and a sense of exhilaration.

  • At the beginning of the sequel, Spider-Man is having fun being Spider-Man. There’s a level of virtuosity in his abilities, but when he gets a little cocky they wanted to bring Electro in to teach him a lesson or two.

Then Webb revealed some footage, which was esentially an extended trailer with some unfinished effects. It opened up with Spidey chasing down Paul Giamatti’s Rhino through the streets of New York (before the villain’s character transformation), and in the midst of the chase Spidey ends up saving Max Dillon’s life—he picks Dillon up, makes him lick his hand, and fixes Dillon’s comb over in that charismatic Spidey way. It appears that Rhino will be a secondary character used to motivate Spidey and Electro’s meet-cute, though clearly Webb and Sony are opening the universe up to many possibilities further down the road. There was some humorous interplay between Garfield and Sally Field, an ominous shot of Emma Stone looking at a bridge (don’t go there, Gwen), and then the tease of Max Dillon’s transformation into Electro.

the-amazing-spider-man-2-dane-dehaanWhen plugging in a cable at what I assume is Oscorp, Dillon electrocutes himself and falls many stories into a tank full of eels, thus beginning his transformation into Electro. We also saw shots of DeHaan as Harry Osborn visiting his sickly father Norman in the Ravencroft Institute, played by Chris Cooper. The footage ended with an action sequence in Times Square, where Electro starts shooting lightning out of his hands while seemingly levitating. The final shot was Electro sending out a powerful electrical pulse that cuts off all the electricity in the area.

Foxx’s Electro looks pretty great in action, and the lighter side of Peter Parker that we glimpsed in the first film is still on display. However, the darkness in the film comes from the complication of Parker’s human relationships.

Garfield then took the stage as himself and the floor was opened up to audience questions:

  • Garfield earnestly talked about how great it feels to be back in Hall H, talking about having “the fondest memories” of being in this room last year.

  • amazing-spider-man-2-andrew-garfield-emma-stoneRegarding the Peter/Gwen relationship, Garifeld said that “intimacy issues abound as time passes,” and “it’s complicated as everything is in Peter’s life.”

  • Webb said there’s an “operatic theatricality” to the spectacle in the film, but at the base of it is strong intimate character relationships, which is where his talented ensemble comes in.

  • A fan asked how Garifeld tones down his swagger as Peter Parker, noting that Tobey Maguire’s performance was more nerdy. Garfield said the fan was mistaken: “Tobey Maguire was a sex machine in my eyes.”

Harry Osborn:

  • In this version of the story, Harry and Peter are childhood friends whose friendship was cut off when Harry was sent to boarding school due to family difficulties at a young age. When they graduate high school, Harry has to come home and reconcile his relationship with Peter.

  • “The appearance of Harry complicates Peter’s life in a significant way,” said Webb.

The comics influence:

  • amazing-spider-man-2-jamie-foxx-andrew-garfieldThey try to find precedent in what they’re doing by looking at the comics, and Webb said that he’s a big fan of the Ultimates.

  • Garfield was asked about which comics storyline he would like to tackle in the future, and he said “I’d like to be part of The Avengers….but I’m not allowed to say that.” Obviously the crowd erupted into thunderous applause, but the prospect of Sony ever sharing rights with Marvel/Disney is very, very, very slim.

Garfield on his previous comments about a bisexual Spider-Man:

  • Garifeld was asked by a fan about opening Parker up to the possibility of a gay interracial relationship. Garfield said Spider-Man stands for everybody, gay, straight, black, white, Asian, but “it wouldn’t make sense if in the third movie suddenly I was with a black guy; we haven’t really established that.” He said his comments were a philosophical question that’s worth asking, adding that Spider-Man is a hero and anyone could be under that costume.

Are there too many characters in the film?

  • amazing-spider-man-2-paul-giamatti-rhinoWebb said that Giamatti’s Rhino is used to establish a fun tone, but Electro is the main villain. Webb enjoys that Electro is godlike; how do you fight someone where if you touch him, it’s like touching a third rail?

  • Webb also confirmed that Electro can travel through electrical sockets.

Closing thoughts:

My favorite moments in The Amazing Spider-Man were the intimate character scenes, and I’m happy to say that there appears to be a strong focus on character in this sequel. Electro looks to be a formidable villain, but I’m even more excited about the prospect of seeing an antagonist that doesn’t have to be created entirely using CG. The inclusion of Norman Osborn, Harry Osborn, and Rhino complicate things greatly, but Webb emphasized that the main villain of the story—and thus the focus—is Electro. He’s an incredibly tough villain to defeat, and it sounds like his transformation from admirer to foe will impact Peter Parker greatly. Overall, I’m encouraged by the rough footage we saw and I’m eager to see a character-centric Spider-Man film with The Amazing Spider-Man 2.

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