Memorial Day weekend was fast and furious, but we're not done with superheroes yet. Iron Man 3 was the opening salvo in a summer soon to see the likes of Man of Steel and The Wolverine. Yet, we haven't had nearly as many behind-the-scenes glimpses of those film as of director Marc Webb's Amazing Spider-Man 2.
Thanks in part to prodigious photo-tweeting by Webb, we've had glimpses of the Ravencroft Institute, an intriguing image of the Gene Chamber, set photos revealing Spidey with Jamie Foxx's Max Dillon (AKA presumed main villain Electro) and of course Paul Giamatti as the less-than-brilliant super-powered henchman, Aleksei Sytsevich, also known as Rhino.
While we've had plenty of images of Giamatti's human form - Russian prison tattoos and all - we have yet to get an idea of what the full-on Rhino will look like. We've had strong hints that many of the character designs will be based on the "Ultimate Spider-Man" continuity, and now a slew of on-set photos have surfaced which feature Giamatti inside a huge pre-CGI Rhino suit:
Originally debuting during the Silver Age in the 60's, Rhino was an Eastern Bloc thug who underwent a procedure to augment his size and speed by having a super-strong polymer bonded to his skin. He's known as one of Spider-Man's most powerful - and least-intelligent - adversaries.
The new set photos clearly show Giamatti in a rig that will require extensive CGI - and he's not even moving under his own power, which could indicate that this incarnation of the Rhino will be massive.
There is little in the way of context for this, but reports from Worst Previews quote an onlooker as saying the scene "involves the Rhino on a rampage and Spidey jumps onto an NYPD squad car with a bullhorn and taunts the Rhino by calling him a mechanized hippopotamus."
"A mechanized hippopotamus?" If this is accurate, (and it may not be), it could point towards some kind of robotic suit, which Giamatti's Sytsevich could be piloting as the source of his powers in this rendering of the character, rather than the super-power infusion as seen in many versions of the comics. Either way, we have a full-blown fight scene between the two (and one has to admit that Giamatti's in-character mugging even while trapped behind the rig is impressive.)
Given that Sytsevich is usually a hired thug in the comics, he could be working for one of the main villains in the sequel. Exact details on the plot remains under wraps, but there is no shortage of baddies he could be working for. Here's the roll call: Giamatti is joined by Jamie Foxx as Electro, Chris Cooper will appear as Norman Osborn - who might become the Green Goblin down the line - and Dane DeHaan as Norman's son Harry, whose character might just get a transformation of his own.
It sure sounds like super-villain overload - the exact thing which turned Sam Raimi's Spider-Man 3 into an overblown mess. Still, there is the theory that co-writers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci (who also have Star Trek Into Darkness to their credit) and director Marc Webb are setting the stage for the Sinister Six, and some of the potential villains could be simply chess pieces being moved into place.
We'll know for sure when The Amazing Spider-Man 2 opens, on May 2nd, 2014.
Sources: Super Hero Hype, Worst Previews