Burdened with justifying its existence so soon after Sam Raimi’s trilogy—and amid general superhero and “reboot” fatigue—last summer’s advance teaser for The Amazing Spider-Man didn’t offer much in the way of arguing for the film’s existence, focusing primarily on an origin story so familiar it could have been dealt with on flashcards, and giving over nearly half its running time to a goofy CGI sequence straight out of a first-person shooter. And granted, this new, extended trailer arrives in a year more saturated with superheroes and reboots than ever, but at least it goes a little further in showing why Spider-Man deserves a fresh start—even if the poster's promise of "The Untold Story" seems a little audacious.
Director Marc Webb describes his version as a “more realistic, naturalistic” take on Peter Parker and the preview bears that out, abandoning Raimi’s canted angles and comic surreality for a, yes, grittier approach (choosing mechanical web-shooters over organic, let’s say). But this is, after all, a big-ass 3-D comic-book movie, so even amid Andrew Garfield’s subdued, indie rom-com romancing of Emma Stone’s Gwen Stacy, there’s still plenty of big effects sequences and cartoonish CGI supervillains—namely Rhys Ifans’ The Lizard, perhaps the major stumbling block to the film remaining “grounded.” (If only Daredevil hadn’t claimed the Kingpin.) Still, with an emphasis on human supporting characters like Denis Leary (as Capt. Stacy) and Martin Sheen and Sally Field as Uncle Ben and Aunt May, Amazing Spider-Man seems intent on fleshing out Peter Parker’s world with real people, rather than just one-dimensional props and foils. And actually, that is a story we haven’t seen before.