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'Amazing Spider-Man 2': Marc Webb talks new approach for super-sequel

As the release date for The Amazing Spider-Man 2 approaches, the anticipation among fans is nearing a fever pitch. Factor in the release of the so-called “final trailer” on Wednesday, and you have an added layer of excitement for a comic book franchise whose fans always have something to say.

So director Marc Webb — fresh off the announcement that he won’t be directing the fourth installment of the series — hosted a Q&A in New York City for journalists and revealed the top five things fans really, really need to know before heading to see The Amazing Spider-Man 2 when it hits theaters May 2.

This film reflects a new approach. “I didn’t want to be bound,” Webb said of revamping his approach for the sequel. The first film was emotional and origin-driven, but this time around the 39-year-old said he embraced the “12-year-old-kid in me, the one who thinks ‘this is awesome!’” and opened up the sequel to everything that he enjoyed while reading comic books. “There were things I wanted to try, like moving the camera around for the big Electro sequence,” Webb said. “But I wanted to keep the characters.”

Pay attention to the soundtrack — seriously. Webb paired up with Hans Zimmer and The Magnificent Six — which includes Pharrell Williams and Johnny Marr — to make music an integral part of the film’s experience beyond just a soundtrack. “They were incredible,” Webb said, “really committed to the process of understanding the film.” And that applies to character development too. In fact, Pharrell and Webb worked extensively to “create a balance between Electro’s psychosis and his pathos.”

“He came up with the idea of voices in his head,” Webb said of Pharrell’s contribution. “There’s a scene in Times Square where I had to have Electro switch against Spider-Man and those voices become dominant yo help signal that. … The music literally became part of the character. It’s a way to connect the audience to the thought process of the character.”

Hello, multiple bad guys. This film offers so much more than the first movie in the way of pricey special effects, punchy lines, and expertly choreographed action sequences. Fans will get not one, but three villains in the upcoming film — completing a roster of bad guys who lend extra dimension to the superhero otherwise known as Peter Parker. “Different parts of the character are challenged by different villains, different adversaries,” Webb said of the cast. “One of the great things about the Marvel universe is the complexity of the villains. There’s often a pre-existing, domestic relationship, like with Harry Osborn, that makes those conflicts more emotional and endearing.”

Electro will shock audiences. Shaping the look and dialogue for Electro (Jamie Foxx) was a particular challenge for Webb, who strove to create a parallel between the Oscorp employee-turned-blue bad guy and Spider-Man — with loads of extra-cool special effects, of course. “The cinematic possibilities of that character, I think, were extraordinary,” Webb said about Electro. “I had to explore that, in thinking of the nature of this villain.” Foxx delivered complexity to a character who “wants to be seen,” said Webb, so fans: Make sure to take note of how the hero and villain “react to their situations in a way that defines their characters.”

Gwen and Aunt Mary get a bumped-up storyline. The ladies of The Amazing Spider-Man — Emma Stone and Sally Field — are back for round two. But there’s an extra character (no spoilers!) who adds some extra dimension (and sheds some extra light) on who Peter Parker really is. It’s no mistake that girl power is central to the storyline, Webb said, joking that his mom was his inspiration for the film’s pumped-up female presence. “We’re surrounded by really wonderful women,” Webb noted of the women on his production staff. “It’s just important for the universe…the [women] are a crucial part of Peter’s life.”

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