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The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

August 15, 2014 by  



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“The Amazing Spider-Man 2” is an action-packed popcorn film.  Where it stumbles on character development and potentially a much deeper plot, the film does deliver in action and visual effects.   The film does look and sound magnificent in HD and definitely one of the better looking and sounding Blu-ray releases of 2014! If you are a big fan of the “Spider-Man” films, “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” is recommended!

Image courtesy of © 2014 Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. and LSC Film Corporation. All Rights Reserved. Marvel, Spider-Man and all related character names and their distinctive likenesses: ™ & © 2014 Marvel Entertainment, LLC and its subsidiaries. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: The Amazing Spider-Man 2

YEAR OF FILM: 2014

DURATION: 141 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, 2:401 Aspect Ratio, English and French 5.1 DTS-HD MA, Spanish and English – Audio Description Track 5.1 Dolby Digital, Subtitles: English, English SDH, French and Spanish

COMPANY: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

RELEASE DATE: August 19, 2014

Directed by Marc Webb

Screenplay by Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, Jeff Pinkner

Screenstory by Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, Jeff Pinkner, James Vanderbilt

Based on the comic book by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko

Produced by Avi Adrad, Matthew Tolmach

Executive Producer: Alex Kurtzman, Stan Lee, Roberto Orci, E. Bennett Walsh

Associate Producer: Beatriz Sequeira

Music by Johnny Marr, Pharrell Williams, Hans Zimmer

Cinematography by Daniel Mindel

Edited by Pietro Scalia

Casting by Kathleen Chopin

Production Design by Mark Friedberg

Art Direction by Kim Jennings, Richard L. Johnson

Set Decoration by Susan Bode

Costume Design by Deborah Lynn Scott

Starring:

Andrew Garfield as Spider-Man/Peter Parker

Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy

Jamie Foxx as Electro/Max Dillon

Dane DeHaan as Green Goblin/Harry Osborn

Colm Feore as Donald Menken

Felicity Jones as Felicia

Paul Giamatti as Aleksei Sytsevich

Sally Field as Aunt May

Embeth Davidtz as Mary Parker

Campbell Scott as Richard Parker

It’s great to be Spider-Man (Andrew Garfield). For Peter Parker, there’s no feeling quite like swinging between skyscrapers, embracing being the hero, and spending time with Gwen (Emma Stone). But being Spider-Man comes at a price: only Spider-Man can protect his fellow New Yorkers from the formidable villains that threaten the city. With the emergence of Electro (Jamie Foxx), Peter must confront a foe far more powerful than himself. And as his old friend, Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan), returns, Peter comes to realize that all of his enemies have one thing in common: Oscorp.

With the first film in the Spider-Man reboot, “Amazing Spider-Man” and it’s dominating the box office with over $757 million earned, there was no doubt that a second film would be made.

Featuring the return of filmmaker Marc Webb (“(500) Days of Summer”, “The Amazing Spider-Man”) and the return of Andrew Garfield (“The Social Network”, “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus”), Emma Stone (“The Help”, “Easy A”, “Zombieland”) and Sally Field (“Mrs. Doubtfire”, “Lincoln”, “Forrest Gump”), the sequel would continue the casting of star talent.

“The Amazing Spider-Man 2” would star Jamie Foxx (“Django Unchained”, “Ray”, “Collateral”), Dane DeHaan (“Chronicle”, “Lincoln”), Colm Feore (“Thor”, “Face/Off”), Felicity Jones (“Like Crazy”, “The Tempest”, “The Invisible Woman”) and Paul Giamatti (“Sideways”, “Saving Private Ryan”, “The Illusionist”).

And similar to the first film, “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” would earn over $708 million in the box office, thus ensuring a third film and also an expected success when released on 3D Blu-ray, Blu-ray and DVD in August 2014.

“The Amazing Spider-Man 2” continues the storyline of Peter Parker, who is also the masked hero known as Spider-Man.  The second film does incorporate Peter’s search for his parents as seen from the first film:

“The Amazing Spider-Man” begins with a four-year old Peter Parker, looking for his dad in his office.  But suddenly his father and mother are seen gathering their belongs, and his father, a scientist, gathering his work and taking young Peter to stay with his uncle Ben (portrayed by Martin Sheen) and Aunt May (portrayed by Sally Fields).

His parents leave with no explanation of where they are going.

Fast forward over a decade later and Peter Parker is a talented photographer and a smart student who excels in science.  But he’s not an athlete and is constantly bullied by jock, Flash Thompson (portrayed by Chris Zylka) and not popular with the girls at school either.

But one student recognizes his intelligence and compassion, Gwen Stacy (portrayed by Emma Stone), a girl that Peter Parker likes.

While living with his uncle and aunt, Peter accidentally finds a hidden bag in the house containing information left behind by his father, including a photo of his father with another scientist. Dr. Curt Connors.  But unfortunately, not much is known of why Richard and Mary Parker left.  But being the curious teen who wants to know what really happened to his parents, Parker’s investigation leads him to Oscorp Industries. where Dr. Curt Connors works and interesting enough, where Gwen Stacy works as an assistant.

He amazes Dr. Connors on his knowledge but is unable to talk to him and we learn that Dr. Connors is being pressured by Dr. Ratha to complete a serum that will cure a terminally ill Norman Osborn, the head of Oscorp Industries. But for Dr. Connors, he is more interested in regenerating his right arm, which he lost long ago.

As for Peter, Peter goes into a lab, where genetically modified spiders are kept. One of the spiders ends up escaping and crawling on Peter Parker and bites him on the neck.  Not feeling well, Peter Parker starts to learn that he has the ability to stick to things, has superhuman speed, strength and a heightened sense of danger.

With “The Amazing Spider-Man 2”, the film begins with Richard and Mary Parker abandoning Peter at a young age and leaving him with his Aunt May.  Richard Parker explains to his wife that their lives are over and to protect their son, they will need to be on the run.  Richard manages to record one final recording before both leave on flight.  But as Richard is uploading data, a gunman comes and a fight ensues on the plane in which Mary Parker is shot, while the data is uploaded.

Fastforward and we see a confident Peter Parker as Spider-Man tracking down a group of criminals who stole chemicals from OsCorp Industries and late for his graduation. While tracking these criminals, he still sees the face of Gwen’s deceased father, who gives Peter a look (reminding Peter of the promise they made that Peter would not allow Gwen to get into any danger and he would stay away from her).

As both Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy celebrate their graduation, the burden of having seen Gwen’s deceased father everywhere he goes, is starting to take his toll on Peter who wants to keep his father’s promise and both Peter and Gwen break up.

At OsCorp, Peter Parker’s childhood friend Harry Osborn (portrayed by Dane DeHaan) finds out that his father Norman is dying of a disease which he tried experimenting with different chemicals to keep himself alive to no avail.  With Harry having the same type of disease, Harry learns that he is going to die and hopes he can find a way to keep himself alive as the inheritor of OsCorp.

As Peter meets with Harry to discuss the past, Harry tells Peter that he needs his help to find Spider-Man (as Peter is known for getting photos of the web crawler) and needs his blood to experiment and see if it can save him.

Meanwhile, Max Dillon (portrayed by Jamie Foxx) is an electrical engineer who works for OsCorp and gets no respect.  An obsessed fan of Spider-Man, Max is forced to fix a problem in which he falls into a tube of electrical eels which have their way with Max.

Thought as dead, Max manages to escape from OsCorp (who are trying to do studies on him) and learns firsthand that he has inherited great electrical power and can absorb and use that power to be someone important.  But when Max’s paranoia kicks in and thinks Spider-Man is trying to ruin him, and becomes a threat to anyone who goes against him.

As Peter follows Gwen, he starts to learn that he loves her so much, that he can’t stop himself from being away from her.  But will being with her, put her in the path of danger?

VIDEO:

“The Amazing Spider-Man 2” is presented in 1080p High Definition (2:40:1 aspect ratio).  The sequel is mastered in 4K and the picture quality for this film is amazing.  Closeups are full of detail, Spider-Man’s costume is fully detailed and colors are vibrant, skin tones look natural and black levels are nice and deep.  If anything, one will notice how detailed this film looks on HD, this is reference quality and Blu-ray videophiles will no doubt feel that this is one of the better looking action films on Blu-ray of the year!

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

As for audio, “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” is presented in English 5.1 DTS-HD MA and sounds fantastic.    The soundtrack is immersive as the film is full of action from beginning to end, but also music plays a big part in directional sound as well as the ambiance of New York City.

There is no doubt that “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” is one of the best sounding action films on Blu-ray for 2014 and audiophiles will no doubt be proud of how fantastic the lossless soundtrack is with its use of crystal clear dialogue, music and sound effects.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“The Amazing Spider-Man 2” comes with the following special features:

  • Audio Commentary – Featuring  an audio commentary with writer Alex Kurtzman and Jeff Pinkner along with producers Matt Tolmach and Avi Arad.
  • Deleted and Alternate Scenes – (23:01) Featuring 13 deleted and alternate scenes with optional commentary with Director Marc Webb.
  • The Wages of Heroism: Making the Amazing Spider-Man 2 – (1:43:42) featuring almost two hours of special features that goes into the making of the film, the development, direction, shooting in New York, the villains introduced, costume design, visual effects, music and more.
  • The Music of Amazing Spider-Man 2 with Director Marc Webb – (8:09) Marc Webb discusses how he wanted music to be utilized for the film and Hans Zimmer discusses working on the film and series.
  • Music Video – (3:49) Featuring “It’s On Again” by Alicia Keys.

EXTRAS:

“The Amazing Spider-Man” comes with a slipcover, Blu-ray and DVD version of the film plus an UltraViolet code to watch your films on your PC, laptop, tablet or cell phone.

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As a long time fan of Spider-Man, let alone a collector of the comic books, there is no doubt a difference between the first trilogy of films and “The Amazing Spider-Man” films.

The good news is that the humor of Peter Parker is kept in-tact, the wisecracks are there, the boy scout Peter Parker that he has towards the children or unfortunate is seen in this film.  But of course, the biggest difference is the better use of action, special effects and integration of the villains for this series.

And as most comic book fans should know by now, what you read in the comics, are always going to change in the movie adaptations.

And this is where “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” tends to stray far from the comic books is that the whole history of Electro and the character itself has changed significantly in the movies.  Aside from the fact that the original character was Caucasian, I feel that the character of Max was more of a man with a mental issue and having been shunned for years, he has became a powerful villain and wanting more energy and power.

I felt the character looked too much like an alien species and devoid of anything cool that the comics had him to be.  Sure, the special effects were fantastic but the character could have been developed more, instead of focusing on how music could be integrated with the character of Electro.

The other caveat with this sequel is too much storyline being forced into the film.  There was no doubt the goal was to make “The Amazing Spider-Man” into an action film, but there is so much action that the plot suffers as the characters suffer from the overall plot.

After Peter Parker is seen with Gwen Stacy at graduation, hours later, he is an emotional wreck.  After tragedy, once again, there is too much story in trying to incorporate into the film and parts of the film’s plot felt rushed.

With that being said, despite its rushed storyline and underdeveloped characters, both Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone do shine as Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy.  If anything, Emma Stone does a fantastic job playing the girlfriend who is in love with Peter and would do anything for him.  And if it wasn’t for their storyline, she brought a more humanistic feel to the film as the relationship bond between the two is there, but not so much when it comes to the film’s villains.

As for the Blu-ray release, “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” is a reference quality Blu-ray disc as picture quality and lossless audio are both phenomenal.  There is also a good amount of special features included, especially features on the making of the film that are fascinating to watch.

It’s important to note that if you want the 3D version of “The Amazing Spider-Man 2”, you will need to purchase that version of the film on Blu-ray.  The normal version on Blu-ray includes a DVD.

Overall, “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” is an action-packed popcorn film.  Where it stumbles on character development and potentially a much deeper plot, the film does deliver in action and visual effects.   The film does look and sound magnificent in HD and definitely one of the better looking and sounding Blu-ray releases of 2014!

If you are a big fan of the “Spider-Man” films, “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” is recommended!

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