2014 is the Year of the Superteam. There’s Marvel’s goofball space-squadron Guardians of the Galaxy. There’s an X-Men movie starring two or three or seven different groups of X-Men. Captain America’s on furlough from The Avengers, but in The Winter Soldier he’s hanging out with a B-team of Capsters like Black Widow and Falcon. That makes The Amazing Spider-Man 2 an outlier. The second chapter of Marc Webb’s reboot saga once again focuses on the travails of a teenaged Peter Parker, still dating Emma Stone’s Gwen Stacy and still trying to solve the mystery of his father.
Until now, the movie was generally pitched as a face-off between Spidey and new villain Electro, played by Jamie Foxx. But the new trailer for Amazing 2 features some intriguing hints that the movie may have quite a bit more going on than we thought. For one thing, there might actually be a superteam in this movie — although not all superteams are good superteams. You can watch the full trailer here. Now let’s dive in, shall we?
We see Peter Parker in a cemetery. Maybe mourning for his dead parents, or for his dead Uncle. Or maybe someone else? Click here for a SPOILERSPOILERSPOILER but suffice it to say that this film could get dark.
Or maybe Peter’s just in a dark mood because new threats are popping up everywhere. Like this fellow in a gigantic suit of armor, with a helmet shaped like a horn. This is a pretty awesome-looking incarnation of longtime Spidey nemesis The Rhino, who in comic book form is basically just a big dude in Rhino pajamas. The costume designers basically just gave him a giant-sized N7 exoskeleton from Mass Effect. Any homage to Mass Effect, intentional or otherwise, is a good thing.
But then there’s also this guy, a shadowy figure who appears in flashes throughout the trailer. He’s wearing a green exoskeleton. Later on, we see him riding what appears to be a tiny flying object. He has blond hair. Could this the Green Goblin, Spider-Man’s ultra-nemesis variously played by Norman Osborn and his son Harry? It definitely looks quite a bit like the costume Franco rocked as the New Goblin in Spider-Man 3. (Listen, I’m a defender of Spider-Man 3, and even I don’t want to see any homages to Spider-Man 3.) Complicating matters: We don’t see this guy’s face. He may not even be a guy. Throwing it out there that it would be very impressive/batcrap-crazy if they turn Gwen Stacy into the Green Goblin.
After that blitzkrieg opening, the trailer orients us a little bit. Meet Amazing‘s Harry Osborn, played by Chronicle star Dane DeHaan with a haircut that is somehow almost as ridiculous as Harry’s vintage comic-book brillo-pad hair. His eyes look green. Everyone’s eyes are so bright in this movie. Ah, to be young again.
Apparently hanging out on the Fox News Deck, Harry uses a gigantic touchscreen to show Peter that his family has been tracked by Oscorp. In case you forgot, the first Amazing Spider-Man refocused the mythology on Peter’s missing parents. Peter’s dad was a scientist who worked at Oscorp before he died mysteriously, along with Peter’s mom. This mystery was never solved in the first movie, because the plot required spending lots of time with the Lizard, that villain we all totally remember.
Peter has a conversation with kindly old Aunt May, who sends him down into what appears to be an abandoned subway station. Peter somehow opens up the tracks, revealing an underground laboratory inside of a subway. Right about now is when you find yourself thinking that this is going to be some kind of Beneath the Planet of the Apes thing, where Peter finds a cult of mutant telepaths worshiping a nuclear bomb. And the maybe lead telepath, played in an uncredited cameo by Tobey Maguire, gives a sermon: “Glory be to the Bomb, and to the Holy Fallout.” That’d be wild!
Nope! Instead, Peter finds video footage of his father — played by Campbell Scott, who’s really getting a lot of mileage out of this role considering that he died like a minute into Amazing 1. Papa Parker explains that he discovered what Oscorp was going to use his research for, and that he has a responsibility to protect the world, and we get it already Oscorp mysteriously killed Peter’s father for mysterious reasons. This all seriously better be building up to a crazy twist where Peter’s Dad turns out to be the Jackal and Peter is one of several dozen Peter-Clones.
But now let’s get down to the real brass tacks here. We see a man in a black hat walk into a green-tinted sub-basement of some kind. Easy money has it that this guy is the shadowy fellow from the Amazing Spider-Man end-credits tease. Or he’s Norman Osborn. Or he’s Kraven the Hunter. Or he’s Richard Parker. Come on, Evil Spidey Dad!
The mind-blowingest shot in the trailer. On the left, that’s pretty clearly the set of wings used by Spidey villain the Vulture. On the right, the arms of Dr. Octopus. Reading between the lines a bit here, this seems to indicate that Oscorp has a secret weapons area — with technology designed by Richard Parker — that will produce pretty much every villain Spider-Man has ever seen.
Adding more fuel to the fire: This shot, which appears to be in the same subterranean basement. We see six doors — maybe lockers, maybe cells. In the comic books, Spidey was frequently bedeviled by a supervillain group called the Sinister Six. In its original incarnation, the lineup was Doctor Octopus, Vulture, Electro, Kraven the Hunter, Mysterious, and Sandman; later groups included Hobgoblin, who’s basically the Green Goblin except orange, and Gog, an alien who is so ridiculous and curiously also orange. (Suggestion for further reading: “Revenge of the Sinister Six,” the great kitchen-sink saga by Erik Larsen. It’s a great read, and it also features a whole host of so-cool-in-1991 characters like Deathlok, Nova, Cyborg X, and Solo.) We saw a hint of Vulture and Doctor Octopus a moment ago, and we’ve already seen Rhino and Electro; the Lizard could be out there awaiting a return trip in Amazing 3, hopefully with better animation and more coherent motivation. But who else could be in the Amazing Sinister Six?
…although that’s Norman Osborn, played by Chris Cooper. Osborn was an offscreen figure in Amazing 1, and he doesn’t look so hot here. But a little bit of radiation juice could heal him right up. Or this could all be a gigantic scam, and the real villain was Mysterio all along.
And back to that dang Goblin person! In a quick shot, we see Spidey flicking around that Goblin-ish person. That could be Dane DeHaan, with his crazy hair crazily slicked back. Or it could be someone else. Frankly, in this shot, it almost looks like Andrew Garfield. CLONE SAGA, Y’ALL! Just kidding. It’s definitely Benedict Cumberbatch.
And that’s definitely DeHaan, getting what appears to be a painful Goblinization procedure. Or maybe not? The Amazing Spider-Man 2 trailer is intriguingly good at revealing a lot of things without quite revealing them. And whereas the first Amazing flecked bits of Spidey mythology, the sequel looks like it’s directly approaching characters who featured prominently in the Raimi Spider-Men and trying to put a new spin on them.
This closing line from the trailer is intriguing. Pitching Amazing 2 as the dawn of Spidey’s “Greatest Battle” adds further fuel to the idea that we’re building up to a Sinister Six mega-showdown. But that “begins” is a bit worrisome. It implies that Amazing Spider-Man 2 — the sequel to a reboot, and the fifth Spider-Man movie in twelve years — will merely constitute the opening act of a much longer story, to be explored in Amazing Spider-Man 3 and Amazing Spider-Man 4 and let’s be honest probably Amazing Spider-Man 5 assuming Andrew Garfield likes money. All I’m saying is, we’re probably not seeing the Vulture until 2018.