SAN DIEGO – The final panel in Hall H Friday afternoon belonged to Marc Webb’s “The Amazing Spider-Man 2,” and leave it to star Andrew Garfield to say the magic words that have all of Comic-Con buzzing: “The Avengers.”
Garfield was joined on stage by Webb, co-stars Jamie Foxx and Dane DeHaan as well as producer Avi Arad for what was an incredibly entertaining end to the day. It was the last question from a member of the audience that made the fanboys start to dream. The 29-year-old actor is known as a die hard comic book fan and was asked which famous storyline from Spidey’s history he’d most like to bring to the big screen.
“I’d like to see him with the Avengers,” Garfield immediately replied. “Wouldn’t that be awesome? Just sayin’.”
Granted, while that would be music to Sony Pictures’ ears (they currently control the movie rights to the web-slinger), it’s unclear what sort of deal Kevin Feige and Marvel Studios would even consider to put Spider-Man in Joss Whedon’s upcoming “The Avengers 2.” Spider-Man has been a member of the comic book Avengers for almost a decade, but until the two companies come to a mutually beneficial agreement, Garfield’s wish may just remain a fanboy dream.
Friday afternoon’s main objective, however, was to get the Comic-Con faithful excited about the second installment of the recently rebooted franchise. The show began with the Hall’s main screens expanding beyond their normal size (something we saw last year when Legendary and Warner Bros. won the convention with their impressive “Pacific Rim” presentation). Webb and Arad appeared on stage briefly discussing the film before a video played that had someone dressed as Spider-Man crawling and jumping from the Hard Rock Hotel across the convention. In the footage, a security guard won’t let him into Hall H and we hear him insisting he’s Spider-Man (with Garfield’s voice). Then Spidey decides to just jump over him and climb into the convention center through the roof. At that point the stage went dark and nothing happened. In fact, nothing happened for a good three to four minutes. Then, finally, a fully costumed Spider-Man hit the stage to sit down and it was clear Garfield was in full costume, but unlike his fan costume two years ago he stayed completely in character with his mask on.
Next, the moderator played a canned video of Emma Stone apologizing for not being there in person as she’s shooting a movie in Europe. Before the video could finish, it was disrupted and a montage of Electro appeared. The lights came up and Jamie Foxx walked on the stage as “Gold Digger,” his collaboration with Kanye West, played.
The following is an edited version of the cute conversation between Foxx and Spider-Man as the Oscar winner sat down next to Marvel’s greatest hero.
Spider-Man: “I loved ‘Django.'”
Jamie Fox: “I like the way you die boy. (Laughs.) Is this the real Spider-Man?”
Marc Webb: “I asked him to consult on the last movie.”
Spider-Man: “Who is Andrew?”
Foxx: “He’s the actor who plays you in the movie.”
Spider-Man: “I thought Eduardo Savrin played me. Oh, interesting. I thought he made Facebook.
I gotta go to the bathroom, but Jamie Foxx? Jamie Foxx??? Thanks for having me.”
After Spidey walked off, Foxx spoke about how much fun it was to play the villain, Max Dillion, aka Electro.
“You don’t have to color inside the lines, if you will,” Foxx said. “The thing is, when I got the call about this, my 3-year-old, she is putting on her Spider-Man jumper and having a Spider-Man party.”
Foxx said his daughter told him, “‘Man, Spider-Man is gonna kick your ass,’ but I plan on doing some ass-kicking myself.”
The character intrigued Foxx because of his tragic backstory, which is partially explored in the film.
“Max’s father left him as a kid, so immediately there is something draw on,” Foxx said. “His mother is overprotective. So, there is this 42-43-year-old guy who has been living at home with his mom. I know guys like that. That’s great to draw on. [Basically he’s] betrayed by three things: love, his family and his work. When you see him, it’s actually his birthday and even his mom doesn’t remember his birthday. You immediately see that he’s in a hole. When he turns to Electro, it makes so much sense why he has so much venom and so much anger. He wants to burn the city down and Spider-Man along with it.”
[More on the following page]
Webb prefaced that they only finished shooting a few weeks ago, but Foxx’s answer was the audience’s cue: it was time to see an extended preview of “ASM2.”
In the footage, we begin with Spider-Man riding on the roof of a fleet of NYPD patrol cards as they speed toward an unknown emergency. Our hero stops a band of criminals (robbers?) while mixing in his trademark banter. Cut to him running into a sheepish Max Dillon (like you’ve seen in the on-set paparazzi photos), who he quickly and innocently befriends.* The footage then dances between Peter Parker telling Aunt May (a returning Sally Field) that all the clothes turned blue and red cause he was washing an American flag, Gwen Stacey talking to Max in an Oscorp elevator, Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan) walking through his family’s swank Manhattan apartment, Osborn talking to his father Norman (Chris Cooper) who is in bed sick, Spidey fighting Aleksei Sytsevich (Paul Giamatti, purely for comic relief) and finally, the circumstances that turn Dillon into Electro. When Dillon gets electrocuted while working a Oscorp, he ends up falling into a vat of giant electric eels that somehow warp his transformation even more. The trailer segues to Foxx saying “I am Electro” as he hovers over Times Square like a god with electric energy blasting out of his hands. The preview ends with a New Yorker being saved from a flying cab by Spider-Man as he catches it with his back and then lifts it above his head.**
*Foxx noted later, “He says to Max, ‘You’re my partner. You’re my ears and eyes out here.’ And Max takes that to heart. He thinks Spider-Man is the most solid person.”
**A level of super strength we’ve rarely seen in the Raimi films or the first “Amazing Spider-Man.”
With the video finished Andrew Garfield emerged on stage without the Spider-Man costume, apologizing for being late and insisting he’s rude. “Oh, man, it’s so nice to be back here,” he said. “My fondest memories are from this room two years ago.”
The rest of the panel found Garfield and Foxx charming the pants off the Hall H crowd. Garfield got some strangely tough questions from the fans (even before the Avengers answer) and handled them like a seasoned pro.
The first question was from a fan who wanted to know how he could tone down his awesomeness so he was more like Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man. Some of the Hall H crowd booed the young man’s question, but Garfield made it clear it’s OK, smiled and replied, “Tobey Maguire was a sex machine! And he still is. And he will always be Spider-Man. You can’t take that away from me! No matter who fills those shoes. I don’t know what to say. I’ll meet you in the back after.”
The next inquiry referenced Garfield’s recent public comments that there is no reason Spider-Man couldn’t be gay. The attendee said, “As a gay Asian-American [the fact you asked that question] means a lot to me personally. As a famous celebrity, do you plan on using your fame to promote social causes?”
“I’m an actor and I only want to be an actor right now,” Garfield replied. “Here’s the thing: Spider-Man stands for everyone. Black, white, Asian, gay, bi-sexual, it just wouldn’t make sense if in the movie I was with a black guy.”
Foxx looked puzzled and interjected, “I’m a good cuddler.”
“It’s a philosophical question I think is worth asking,” Garfield continued. “He is covered head to toe. He’s a hero. Gay straight, lesbian, black or white, he’s a hero. He stands for the underdog and those who need protecting.”
(Cue the polite applause.)
Webb got his own tough question as an audience member asked, “Are going to make sure the film isn’t overstuffed with characters like ‘Spider-Man 3’ was?”
“That’s a good question,” Webb replied. “It’s just the right amount of stuff in it, obviously. The main villain in this movie is Electro. Paul Giamatti is in the movie for a couple of scenes for a fun tone. I think what I enjoy about Electro is he is god-like. How does Spider-man fight someone when it’s like touching 1,000 third rails? When your main weapon is a web that conducts electricity, how do you stop that?”
Someone in the back yelled out “water” and the audience laughed, but the panel ignored it.
Another fan asked Foxx if he was afraid they were going to put Electro in the classic green and yellow comic book costume. Clearly relieved that wasn’t the case, Foxx said, “You want to be true to everything, but you want to move forward. How they crafted this is how he gets where he is. He’s really not worried about what he has on. He wants to get to this guy and make him pay. The people here on this panel, what’s great about them is they will huddle up and make sure they have you guys in the back of their minds. Mark would pull us aside and say, ‘Let’s make sure we’re making the right steps.’ When this thing opens up I think you’re going to be pleasantly surprised.”
And then Garfield dropped the Avengers bombshell. Well, perhaps not a bombshell, but it’s certainly a quote that may make Whedon and Marvel’s life difficult for the rest of the Comic-Con weekend.
[Check out Drew McWeeny’s exclusive interview with Garfield embedded at the top of this story.]