‘Amazing Spider-Man 2′ Director Marc Webb: You Think You Know What Happens in This Movie But You Don’t
One of the biggest movies at Comic-Con 2013 is ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2,’ which will premiere its first footage to the excited masses in San Diego. Right before the big ‘Amazing Spider-Man 2′ panel, we sat down to talk with director Marc Webb about the many villains in the film, the Sinister Six and how you think you know what is going to happen in the movie but you’re wrong.
Where does a Spider-Man fan begin?
Oh, you’re a Spider-Man fan?
Well, I think if you talked to anyone, the character is so embedded in our culture, it’s hard to not feel an affinity towards Peter and his story.
You’re doing my job for me. This is great!
You wrapped not that long ago –
We wrapped about two weeks ago so we’re just in the early phases of the editing process.
Do you take a break after filming? Give yourself some time to clear your head?
No. We were editing through the course of the film. It’s hard to break that momentum. I would have a hard time taking a vacation honestly. I’ve been a little easier on myself. I slept in a few days.
When you’re planning this movie, Spider-Man has such a vast rogues gallery of villains, probably moreso than any other superhero. There are so many iconic villains, so how do you decide that Electro is the one who is really going to give Spider-Man his biggest challenge?
Well, Spider-Man at the beginning of this movie is very good at being Spider-Man. He’s developed a level of virtuosity that we hadn’t seen in the first movie. He’s having a blast being this character. He’s running the show and doing a good job of defending the city. I wanted to create a foe that was profound and able enough to give him a run for his money. When you think about Electro, there is something godlike in his abilities. The idea that when you approach him, when you get within a foot of him, your hair starts to go out and if you reach out to touch him, it’s like touching 1,000 third rails. You get rattled and obliterated by the electricity. How does Spider-Man stop somebody that can disappear into the electric current. It’s a really terrifying set of abilities. And not to mention, he just looks cool. Spending time developing the look of that character and the theatricality of it was really fun. But if you’re gonna understand Electo, you have to understand Max Dillon as well. Max Dillon is someone who is a fan of Spider-Man in our version of events and he felt a real affinity for him but because of his corrupted sense of reality, he transforms into a shadow-side of admiration.
Is part of this movie taking Spider-Man down a peg? You mentioned he’s getting more confident, possibly even cocky with his powers.
You want to confront the protagonist with as many problems and obstacles as you can. To let that character develop and expand. And certainly that idea that he can have it all is really challenged right from the outset of the movie.
As you’re planning the second movie, you were planning a third and now, with a fourth, does that plan where you go with this movie?
I think there are shadows and hints if you pay attention to the second movie, there are situations and scenarios that will develop over time. But you have to be attention to details.
Do you feel like you have the luxury of time now that you have a fourth film to tell your story? It’s almost a new trilogy.
This was really about the first three movies. The fourth movie, I haven’t really thought much about to be honest. The third one, there was some ongoing structure that we wanted to embrace at the beginning of the movies.
You’re setting up a world here where you have Electro, Rhino, the Goblins –
You get to meet Norman Osborn in the movie, played by Chris Cooper, who does an exceptional job with the character.
Just hearing that casting you go, “YES.”
It just makes sense, doesn’t it? He showed up and he really showed up. But there’s a lot of characters and there’s a lot going on in the movie but the main villain is Electro. That’s the main focus of the movie.
One of the big criticisms of ‘Spider-Man 3′ was that it tried to do too much with too many characters. How do you keep this film focused very much on the Electro story but still introduce some important characters without distracting from that plot?
Just trying to find the right balance. Rhino is only in the movie for a brief period. He’s in the beginning of the movie to kick things off. But, when I was working with the writers, I walked into the room with an idea that all the storylines would merge from a single theme. That guided us through it so it would feel like one cohesive story.
You almost have here a mini-universe, not unlike what Marvel has created with their cinematic universe. Do you think there is room for expansion?
I think there are ancillary characters, or characters that may appear ancillary, in the Spider-Man universe that could spinoff and make protagonists or heroes and villains in their own right. That would be exciting.
It was probably disappointing and difficult to cut Mary Jane from this film but did it, in a way, free you up to have that clarity and focus that you were just talking about?
Yeah, exactly. It was a very simple thing. Mary Jane was just in the movie for a brief few scenes and we were all about teasing out her character. It’s hard because Shailene [Woodley] is wonderful and a great actor but we wanted to focus on Gwen and Peter in this movie.
Any Spider-Man fan worth his salt knows where the Spider-Man/Gwen Stacy story is headed. Do you consider that a spoiler? Is this something we acknowledge or not acknowledge?
Well, I’m not gonna tell you what happens in the movie, but I’ll tell you what, I’ve read a lot of theories online and I can say with confidence that none of them are right. You’re going to be surprised.
Another one of those theories you read online is that the Sinister Six could eventually be making an appearance.
And as it happens, you’re a little more than halfway there. Could we see some old villains come back or new introductions to create the supervillain team?
Anything is possible. Anything is possible. It’s yet undefined. But….everything is possible. There are some…very interesting possibilities with the Sinister Six.
Rhino may be a very small part of this movie but what Paul Giamatti has done with it looks to be very fun.
“The Many Faces of Paul Giamatti” (laughs). I did see that.
He looks like he’s having so much fun.
One of the great things about working with actors like Paul Giamatti and Chris Cooper and Jamie Foxx, they can be really funny and big but there’s also a real humanity to them. There is no nudge or wink and it makes that performance that much more dynamic and that much more fun.
There’s a lot of heavy stuff going on in this movie but is there still a healthy sense of humor?
I think it’s playful. The foundation that we wanted to build upon is the playful, fun Spider-Man from the comics.
He’s not Batman.
Yeah, exactly. He’s an incredibly colorful, witty character. We actually sat down with a table of comedians before filming and created some one-liners for the movie.
Can you name names?
I’m not sure if I’m allowed to talk about it. But…people.
(Pause) Patton Oswalt is a genius.