Being an entertainment journalist comes with a few perks. Like watching half an hour of exclusive footage of one of the most fancied superhero films of the year - The Amazing Spider-Man 2 - much before it is released in the world.
This special screening started in New York and other American cities before percolating down to India. Journalists in America also got to chat with director Mark Webb, we didn't. But the 'me-time' with Spidey was worth it.
Gone is the gravitas that Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst brought to the job in the previous reincarnation. Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone are one-film-old now in the Amazing Spider-Man franchise and, boy, have they changed things.
The basics first: the film is going to be a little over two hours, it will be releasing in India a day before the US, it will be 3D again and it has some big boots to fill - The Amazing Spider-Man broke all records at the ticket windows.
Here's a review of the exclusive footage and we have tried to keep spoilers to the minimum. Listed below are the five things which make The Amazing Spider-Man 2 a must watch.
1 The amazing special effects
If you thought you were done with CGI and nothing could ever beat Avatar, this film comes as a happy surprise. You could see Spidey down to the soles of his suit as he swings in loops around the skyscrapers (they're neither red nor blue by the way). When the battle begins and buildings start shattering, you are afraid that a piece of metal is actually going to hit you in the face. Once or twice, you may actually flinch.
There is some good old Spidey action in the film and the effect is 10 times more thanks to the special effects. A chase around the city and an epic battle between Spider-Man and Electro at Times Square are both visual spectacles.
2 Meet the parents
Peter Parker aka Spider-Man's parents have a story of their own. And this time, we will get to know exactly what it is. Peter was left with aunt May and uncle Ben as a kid because some very influential people were after his parents. The film opens with the couple trying to make their escape on board a plane when an attack happens. As always, everything leads to Oscorp.
We are left wondering if Uncle Ben's death pushed Spidey over the edge, how will he react to the revelations about his parents?
3 The villains
A great superhero needs a great villain. We've got three, although not all of them are in the same class. The one who is sizzling (literally so) is Electro, played by Jamie Foxx. A pathetic little man who transforms into an ego-driven supervillain, you can actually sense the emotional upheaval of the man behind the CGI-generated blue body.
We also meet Paul Giamatti who will go on to become the armed villain, Rhino. Parker's friend-turned-Green Goblin - played by Dane DeHaan) also makes an unhinged, angst-ridden appearance.
4 Classic Spider-Man is back
The tormented Spider-Man is gone and in his place we have the classic webbed hero in action. He loves the fame he gets as the masked crusader and revels in it. He banters with the villains, performs for the camera and has a witticism to offer when saving a life.
This is the classic Spidey we have known on the pages of comic books who could irritate his villains with his smart one-liners. His act of saving New York came with flourishes of showmanship.
Welcome back old Spidey, we missed you.
5 Gwen-Peter chemistry
It has been a year since Gwen and Peter met (it was how her dying dad wished it and Peter's a gentleman). The meeting between the two is charged. When they try to set ground rules of their new friendship, you can feel the chemistry. Between giving Emma Stone's Gwen puppy dog stares, Andrew Garfield's Peter tells her that he has been following her ("Sometimes just once a day, sometimes more"). There have been reports that Stone and Garfield are seeing each other. In that case, the chemistry should be helping their on-screen personas. We aren't complaining.