The very first glimpse at what would become one of the most beloved superhero movies of all time is also a very weird one — because for years, it was actually impossible to see it. While in the two decades since Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man first hit theatres it has re-emerged online, it’s suddenly hit the web (sorry not sorry) in a quality unlike anything we’ve had before.
The infamous World Trade Center teaser (a scene which wasn’t meant to be in the film itself) presented our first look at what Raimi was going for with his take on Spider-Man—and using the Twin Towers as a piece of iconic New York imagery in such a way made the hometown link between Spidey and the city immediately and evocatively.
Alas, the teaser was only in theatres for a handful of months. After the tragic terror attacks of 9/11, Sony and countless other studios raced to pull content that featured the now-destroyed towers in the New York skyline. The original teaser, as well as a poster featuring the towers reflecting in Spidey’s lenses, vanished from theatres.
In the years since, the trailer has made its way online for people to get a glimpse at its strange place in cinematic history — but it’s all been in, putting it diplomatically, varying quality. That changed this week, when seemingly out of nowhere, a 4K restoration from the original 35mm film version of the teaser has hit YouTube, giving us the original tease in a quality unseen in 18 years:
It’s an amazing look at a little piece of film history — totally of its time even without the context of the World Trade Center (god, the use of Lunatic Calm is extremely early-aughts, isn’t it?), but finally restored to its original glory.