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So, About That New Spider-Man Movie Picture…

Well played, Sony. Whether it was coincidence or internet-monitoring extraordinaire, releasing the first official picture of Andrew Garfield as Spider-Man on the same day as a leaked pic reveals the complete movie Captain America costume was a masterstroke, and a sure way of dominating fanboy conversation. Of course, whether or not it’s dominating in a good way, well…

Okay, I admit it: I think the released image is pretty great. Garfield looks good, suitably skinny and teenager-like despite the sculpted abs, and releasing an image where Spider-Man is (a) unmasked and (b) beaten-up – dig those scratches on his cheek – seems like a smart move, in terms of making Garfield the focus, instead of the slightly redesigned costume, while also reinforcing the “being Spider-Man is as much about the downside as the fun” message. With great power comes great bruises, after all.

And, yes, the costume has undergone a slight redesign, much to the consternation of some online, it seems. Me, I don’t really see what’s so bad about it; it’s still recognizable as the classic costume, even if the chest emblem continues all the way down to his waist, and the gloves have been rethought to be tapered and broken up into pieces at the hand. The redesign is subtle enough to differentiate itself from the previous movies (and also Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark, which may or may not have been a concern), but there’s no mistaking who Garfield is playing. What’s the big deal, really?

Overall, it’s an effective tease – Eyecatching, vague enough to avoid spoilers entirely (OMG, Peter Parker is Spider-Man! etc) while also teasing out questions (Just why is he so beaten up and upset?), and maybe most importantly, pretty damn reassuring: They haven’t messed with anything too much. It’s still the Spider-Man we know and love. The only real question it raises is, Why now? The movie is still eighteen months away, after all, and has only been in production for a matter of weeks, so… why release this image today?

It’ll be likely to remain an open question, as I doubt that anyone at Sony will ever come forward with a full explanation, but I’m fairly convinced that it’s all about variations on controlling the narrative. Releasing this image today does three things for Sony:

It Stops People Talking About Captain America, and Start Talking About Spider-Man Instead
Like I said above, the timing really might just be coincidence, but in that case, it’s a great coincidence for Sony. Marvel/Disney’s Captain America: The First Avenger movie may only be a few months away, but if Sony can piggyback their movie over buzz for Cap, all the better.

(Plus: This photo already makes Spider-Man look more interesting than Cap to me, but I may be biased; I’ve not really seen or read anything that makes Joe Johnson’s movie seem particularly appealing so far.)

It Lets Sony Beat The Inevitable Leaks
How do you make sure that no-one online leaks what your costume look like before you’re ready to reveal it yourself? By beating them all to the punch. Pictures from the set have already leaked to the internet, even if it’s just been Andrew Garfield sharing a laugh with co-star Emma Stone, so it was only a matter of time before someone tried to get a pic of Garfield in the costume. Putting this image out now steals that thunder, and also manages to shut down any fakes who’d want to try and convince people that they have an “exclusive” that’s really the result of Photoshop and well-lit cosplay.

It’s A Sneaky First Strike Against The Haters
Remember when the news that Marc Webb was chosen to direct the Spider-reboot broke, and people started bemoaning the fact that his only previous movie as director was 500 Days Of Summer, snarking that this would mean his Spidey would be musical, whimsical and entirely unbefitting such a… uh, serious superhero icon, I guess? This is a picture to tell everyone: No, it’s not all fun and games, we get that tragedy is at the heart of the character, calm down already. He’s beaten up and feeling down, everyone. Save your musical numbers for Tobey Maguire and jazz clubs.

Will it work? It already has, in the ways that count: Everyone is talking about the image, having an opinion, even if that opinion is a too-forcefully-stated “I don’t care” or “Meh.” It’s still a year and a half away, but already, Sony’s new Spider-Man is Go.

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Comments

  • http://www.youtube.com/majadi7 Majadi7

    The new spidey looks like the new doctor from doctor who (11th one)

  • cfosmoooooooov

    It looks pretty good. This really is ULTIMATE Spidey, where SURPRISE! He’s a skinny kid. Backpack included ( total USM staple).The designs differences surprised me at first, but it matches the grittier real world feel. I can see the webshooters on the wrists. And it looks way more like something a kid would make than the costume from the Raimi movies ( that one was also good, but way too professional). And you can see the frustration in Garfield as Parker. Very focussed, like a kid who would be dealing with getting his butt whipped.

    Hope the mask is good. Good job!

  • http://twitter.com/fasttboy80 fasttboy80

    This looks very interesting in respect to the original spidey character. This is a most exciting time for comic book fans, young and old alike.

  • Madmike

    The re-design stuff just seems unnecessary. Mech webshooters? Okay. A new script? Fine. A new actor? No problem. But Spider-man’s costume is fine just the way it’s been for about 50 years, so don’t fuck with it! Change just for the sake of change is stupid.

  • Madmike

    A new script is a given. I meant a new direction. D’oh.

  • stealthwise

    That is Spider-Man’s costume. No idea what you’re talking about here, as it looks just fine.

  • M F Luder

    The strangest thing to my eye was the lack of a “belt”, but if you look closely, you can see red on his hip. Maybe it will be an ACTUAL belt, for web cartridge storage, and it’s just not in this picture.

  • Jason F

    I think the costume looks just fine. Everything else about the production so far has just been “meh” to me so far. Maybe I’ll start to care once it gets closer….

  • Anonymous

    These unsubstantiated movie rumor pieces are painful to read.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_CCZEXB36V6IJE2MKR7LW6QAY6I David Fullam

    Any truth that the new film is going to be subtitled “The Sucking?”

  • NeoSlyfer

    If you look at his hands you will see the webshooters sticking out.

  • Wes

    This article makes no sense. Why would Marvel want people to stop talking about Captain America and start talking about a movie that is over a year away from hitting the screens? Their both Marvel characters. I can understand the author’s argument if he meant Marvel was trying to dominate the conversation against a DC character.
    As for the new costume, it simply looks unfinished. It is clearly missing something namely the belt and as someonse said earlier, change for the sake of change isn’t always good. I think Sony/Marvel is gauging fan response to see if they’ll accept it. This fan doesn’t. If you want to do Ultimate Spidey, make the changes Bagley did and ride the buzz. Masterstroke? Hardly.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QKN5MHOI6VUFOYCTV5REK7M7A4 Jacob

    Spider-Man doesn’t have a belt. The closest it comes is something under his suit at the waist to hold things. Nothing in this design says that isn’t there.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QKN5MHOI6VUFOYCTV5REK7M7A4 Jacob

    It’s not MArvel stopping people talking about a Marvel character. It’s Sony stopping people from talking about another movie (that isn’t theirs). Also… Spider-Man doesn’t have a belt.

  • aPO

    I believe that, even though, they are both marvel characters that when it comes to films, Marvel has nothing to do with Sony. So its not Marvel thats controlling it but Sony alone. So basically Sony is hopping on Marvel/Disney buzz of Captain America to help promote Spider-Man.

  • http://www.rockthedub.com/ khal

    aPO sounds like he hit in on the head.

  • Chris

    I couldnt disagree more – I havent seen anything that makes me look forward to the Spiderman reboot and this photo does nothing to dissuade me at all.

    Everything about Captain America; The First Avenger seems better, cast , setting , story , director etc

  • Guesty

    “Remember when the news that Marc Webb was chosen to direct the Spider-reboot broke, and people started bemoaning the fact that his only previous movie as director was 500 Days Of Summer, snarking that this would mean his Spidey would be musical, whimsical and entirely unbefitting such a… uh, serious superhero icon, I guess?”

    Nah. I remember people being more upset over the casting of a white dude.

  • Anonymous

    “(Plus: This photo already makes Spider-Man look more interesting than Cap to me, but I may be biased; I’ve not really seen or read anything that makes Joe Johnson’s movie seem particularly appealing so far.)”

    Well if a proven director and great cast coupled with a unique period piece script that embraces classic camp in a serious way like Johnston’s the Rocketeer from a studio that prides itself in innovation doesn’t appeal to you more than one picture of Garfield in a costume, then I think you’re just showing your own poor judgment. Spider-Man has much more to prove than Captain America, at least in domestic markets. Garfield is great, don’t get me wrong, but Webb has one decent romantic comedy under his belt. Early set pictures make the whole movie look pandering to the tween market. Sony is a major reason the third Spider-Man fell apart and Raimi left the franchise. This is one picture. A great one, but it doesn’t single handedly make this a great movie.

  • BradRz

    “Sony is a major reason the third Spider-Man fell apart and Raimi left the franchise.”

    True, although I have the feeling that it was over matters financial as much as creative (with finances spilling over into creative decisions). With most of the major players having been contracted for three films, a fourth Spidey flick featuring all of the original cast members would have meant new contracts, and new pay scales; for example, Tobey Maquire getting $17 million vs. Andrew Garfield getting $500,000. With more money on the line, Sony was going to demand more control of the final product than Raimi was comfortable with (as they already did on 3.)

  • Thompson500

    Looks like ass to me. Ditko’s design is among the most classic and timeless of the superhero costumes, right among the greats such as Flash and Green Lantern. This looks fugly.

  • Markwillaim

    Spider-man DOES have a belt, its a belt to hold web cartriges not “things”, and a camera (back in the day) and nowadays the spider-flashlight (that he barely ever uses). I can see it being an actual belt inthe same colour of the suit, sorta like the belt from the 70 spider tv show.

  • Markmilliam
  • Eightiesologist

    Well said and i totally agree. This is nowhere as interesting as the Cap reveal to me. And a lot of that is because i’ve seen three Spider-Man movies, was invested in that series for two films and jilted in the third. At this point, it’s old hat to me. But Captain America is new and looks to be in the hands of a team crafting something really neat. It’s a film i want to see because it’s a fresh character. Spider-Man reboot isn’t really going to cover any new ground to me.

  • JMC

    Quesada stated in a previous article that the Spidey Belt and Spidey-mobile had been retconned out of “official” continuity. Shitty thing to do to Ditko but it’s a fact.

  • Omegasaga

    Spiderman DOES have a belt design you idiot

  • Thom Vane

    I Didn’t like the original either for the same reason I don’t like this one: Rubber. I understand the desire to add texture but why does everything look like it’s been re-purposed sporting goods. Superman Returns suffered from this as well.

  • Markmilliam

    Could provide a link then ? becouse in not the last 60 issues under quesada he is wearing and USING his belt, besides the spider-mobile was referenced last month in astonishing spider-man & wolverine. Or are you just another omd hater spreading lies throught the ?

  • JMC

    That was too easy : )

  • JMC

    Not an OMD hater – here’s the link – enjoy.
    http://media1.break.com/dnet/media/content/pic3226.jpg

  • Arment26
  • awsomeness

    what are you talkind about it looks awsome