The Amazing Spider-Man (Blu-ray)

October 29, 2012 8 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

Too soon?  Was it too soon? It’s been a decade.  Is that enough time?  Hmmm. I called in sick to work in May 2002 to head to the movie theater (surprisingly I no longer am employed at the place) to see Spider-Man, with Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst thinking that no one else would be there.  The line wrapped around the block.  Wow, this was going to be big.  It was.  As was the second and third installments.  Spider-Man 2 was called “the best superhero movie ever.”  That’s a bold statement.  They made plenty of money, had top notch stars and it’s only been five years since part 3.  There was still time to continue the trend, right?  Evidently not.  They started over.  Why?  I’m sure there’s been plenty of debate as to why they did this and no doubt both sides have what they think are legitimate arguments.  I didn’t read any of those debates because I didn’t want it interfering with my opinions here and I just don’t really care what others think about such trite issues.  A lot can happen in a decade, evidently four Spider-Man movies.

Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) is your typical high school nerd.  He gets picked on by the class bully, Flash (Chris Zylka) and longs for Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone).  He’s a scientist of sorts and while on a tour of Oscorp, is bitten by a spider that gives him special powers.  Peter’s Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen) and Aunt May (Sally Field) have raised him since his have disappeared.  Peter’s not sure what these new powers are or what they mean and, more importantly, what he’s supposed to do with them.  As fate would have it, Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans) is also searching for something that can regenerate appendages.  He’s got a particular interest since his right hand is, well, missing.  As the mad scientist in him wins out, he becomes “The Lizard” because Spider-Man needs someone to fight, right?

Ok, look, if you’ve seen the first Spider-Man or any superhero movie for that matter, you can pretty much guess what happens.  For the record, I really liked this movie, but it really didn’t do or say a whole lot that the original didn’t.  Yes, there are some subtle differences like Peter’s web shooters are mechanical (in the comic books, Spider-Man was always running out or had to refill his shooters) as opposed to organic and the female lead is now Gwen Stacy as opposed to Mary Jane (again, both appeared in the comics, though Gwen was back in the 60’s and 70’s whereas Mary Jane was in the 80’s/90’s).  Everything else is pretty much the same.  Ok, the villain is different which makes sense seeing as they’ve already used The Sandman, Hobgoblin, Venom and Dr. Octopus.  I just don’t get why they remade something that didn’t really need to be re-made.  Maybe it’s time I took a look at some of those blogs.

Video: How does it look?

My personal thoughts on the validity of the movie aside, The Amazing Spider-Man looks positively, well, amazing.  The 2.40:1 AVC HD image is one of sheer perfection and try as I might, I wasn’t able to find a single flaw in the 136 minute movie.  Colors are bold and brash, black levels are rock solid as is the contrast (and there were some pretty dark parts to this movie).  The main thing that really made the movie was the sheer intricate details.  I’m speaking of the little lines on Spidey’s suit, the texture in his hair, the freckles on Gwen Stacy’s face and so forth.  These are little things that add so much to the image quality that make you feel as if you can reach out and touch what’s on the screen.  Sony has done a top notch job with their visuals here.

Audio: How does it sound?

As is the case with most every superhero movie, The Amazing Spider-Man also sounds top notch.  James Horner’s majestic score fills the speakers with his work, dialogue is radiant even muffling Spider-Man’s voice from behind his mask.  The little directional effects in the battle scenes to the crashes and booms later on in the film.  Surrounds play off the front channels very nicely creating a very nice progression from front to back and back to forth.  This mix puts you right in the middle of the mix as we feel as if we’re flying around New York with Spider-Man himself.  It’s a testament to the DTS HD Master Audio lossless soundtrack and how good it can actually make a movie sound.  A superb effort.

Supplements: What are the extras?

I’m assuming the reason was to make the audio and video sound better, but the supplements are divided across two discs.  The first disc houses the film as well as a commentary track by director Marc Webb (a coincidence with his name, I’m sure) as he’s joined with producers Avi Arad and Matt Tolmach.  The trio is talkative and does provide some insight on the film, the reboot of the franchise and several other technical details that I quickly forgot.  The “Second Screen Experience” is something that’s actually pretty cool though it does require an iPad or a Sony device.  You can download an app and “interact” with the film while watching it.  There’s a lot of possibility for this technology.

Moving onto the second disc we find the remainder of the supplements, notably the seven-part documentary entitled “Rite of Passage: The Amazing Spider-Man Reborn” runs nearly as long as the film itself and gives us a very comprehensive look at essentially everything involved in the movie; from casting to production (pre and post) and everything in between.  Several deleted scenes are also included as are some storyboards entitled “Pre-Visualization.”  We get some more images with “The Oscorp Archives Production Art Gallery” which shows us three categories: Spider-Man, The Lizard and Envrionments.  “Image Progression Reels” are digital breakdowns of the scenes and the process that’s needed to get them to the final cut of the film.  Quite interesting, actually, though it looks like a LOT of work.  We see some stunt footage as they rehearse for a few of the key scenes and we see the crew work on the Spider-Man video game, because you don’t have a movie these days without having a video game to accompany it.

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