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

October 24, 2012 by  



“The Amazing Spider-Man” may not be the most faithful film when it comes to film adaptation from the original comic books, but then again, not many superhero films are.  Overall, the film turned out to be much more exciting, much more deeper than I was expecting.  And every ounce of skepticism that I once had, was no longer there.  I absolutely enjoyed “The Amazing Spider-Man” and I loved this Blu-ray release for its wonderful PQ, AQ and the special features galore!  There is no doubt in my mind that this is the best “Spider-Man” film yet! “The Amazing Spider-Man” is highly recommended!

Images courtesy of © 2012 Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. All Rights Reserved. | Marvel, and the names and distinctive likenesses of Spider-Man and all other Marvel characters: ™ and © 2012 Marvel Entertainment, LLC & its subsidiaries. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: The Amazing Spider-Man

FILM RELEASE: 2012

DURATION: 86 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (2:40:1), English, French, Portuguese 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, Chinese, Thai 5.1 Dolby Digital, Subtitles: Chinese (Mandarin Traditional), Chinese (Mandarin Mandarin Simplified), Chinese (Mandarin Traditional), English (US), French (Canadian), French (Parisian), Indonesian / Bahasa, Korean, Portuguese (Brazil), Spanish (Latin Am), Thai

COMPANY: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

RATED: PG-13 (Sequences of Action and Violence)

Release Date: November 9, 2012

Directed by Marc Webb

Screenplay by James Vanderbilt, Alvin Sargent, Steve Kloves

Story by James Vanderbilt

Based on the Comic Book Series by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko

Producer: Avi Arad, Matthew Tomach, Laura Ziskin

Executive Producer: Kevin Feige, Michael Grillo, Kyla Kraman, Stan Lee

Associate Producer: Beatriz Sequeira

Music by James Horner

Cinematography by John Schwarzman

Edited by Alan Edward Bell, Michael McCusker, Pietro Scalia

Casting by Francine Maisler

Production Design by J. Michael Riva

Art Direction by Page Buckner, Michael E. Goldman, David F. Klassen, Suzan Wexler

Set Decoration by Leslie A. Pope

Costume Design by Kym Barrett

Starring:

Andrew Garfield as Spider-Man/Peter Parker

Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy

Rhys Ifans as The Lizard/Dr. Curt Connors

Denis Leary as Captain Stacy

Martin Sheen as Uncle Ben

Sally Field as Aunt May

Irrfan Khan as Rajit Ratha

Campbel Scott as Richard Parker

Embeth Davidtz as Mary Parker

Chris Zylka as Flash Thompson

Max Charles as Peter Parker (Age 4)

Jake Keiffer as Jack

Kari Coleman as Helen Stacy

Teenage social outcast Peter (Andrew Garfield) spends his days trying to unravel the mystery of his own past and win the heart of his high school crush, Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone). A mysterious briefcase belonging to his father, who abandoned him when he was a child, leads Peter to his dad’s former partner, Dr. Connors. The discovery of his father’s secret will ultimately shape his destiny of becoming “Spider-Man” and bring him face to face with Connors’ villainous alter ego, the Lizard.

For generations, many children, teens and adults have grown-up reading “The Amazing Spider-Man”.  The Marvel Comics series was created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko back in 1963 and in December 2012, will end it’s run (the series will be temporarily replaced with a new series titled “Superior Spider-Man” as part of the Marvel NOW! line).

But many people have grown up with Spider-Man, may it be the comic books, video games, animated series, live action series and in the last decade, treated with three live -action films directed by Sam Raimi.

But one thing that Marvel Comics have done for new generation of readers was to create an Ultimate Line featuring a story that has little similarity to the original history of a character or group, but revised for a modern audience, with a modern storyline.

And while the three Sam Raimi films were blockbuster films that made a lot of money, it would end as a trilogy as the success of the films would set a pretty high price tag to retain filmmaker Sam Raimi and its main cast. also, the price tag for the original cast to continue in the films was quite high.  And the budget for the films were also quite high.

So, how to get away from that high price tag?  Reboot the film series and making it different from the original storyline using modern elements.

And so, we have “The Amazing Spider-Man”, a film directed by Marc Webb (“(500) Days of Summer) and a screenplay by James Vanderbilt (“Zodiac”, “The Losers”, “The Rundown”), Alvin Sargent (writer for “Spider-Man 2”, “Spider-Man 3”, “Unfaithful”) and Steve Kloves (“Harry Potter” films, “The Fabulous Baker Boys”).

The film would star Andrew Garfield (“The Social Network”, “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus”), Emma Stone (“The Help”, “Easy A”, “Zombieland”), Rhys Ifans (“Notting Hill”, “Anonymous”, “Little Nicky”), Denis Leary (“Rescue Me”, “Ice Age”), Martin Sheen (“The West Wing”, “Apocalypse now”, “The Departed”) and Sally Field (“Forest Gump”, “Brothers and Sisters”, “Mrs. Doubtfire”).

“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.

When Peter tracks down Dr. Connors, he reveals himself to be the son of Richard Parker and Dr. Connors explains that the two were working on a project to combine genetics but Richard Parker left without the missing key.  But since Peter has found his father’s hidden work, he gives Dr. Connors the key.  And he begins to spend time helping Dr. Connors, unfortunately while disobeying his uncle and not following up on his responsibilities.

And during a night where he was supposed to pick up his Aunty May, he ends up working late with Dr. Connors, which upsets his Uncle Ben and leads to a heated argument.   His Uncle Ben explains how his father would talk about how his father would talk about the importance of responsibility.  But this infuriates Peter even more as his father didn’t live up to his responsibility of being a father.  The argument leads Peter to run out, while his Uncle Ben goes out to look for him.

While at a convenience store, Peter tries to buy some milk but is two cents short.  The convenience store owner denies in giving Peter a break and before Peter leaves the store, he sees the customer that was standing behind him, stealing money from the cash register.  As the thief runs away, he trips and his gun slides on the pavement.

Ben, who is looking for Peter, spots the gun and fights with the thief and during the altercation, the thief shoots and kills Ben.

Because of this incident, Peter uses his new skills to become Spider-Man and search for the criminal responsible for killing his uncle.

Meanwhile, Dr. Connors is under the gun to help develop the serum for Norman Osborn but has been focusing on regenerating his arm.  And because he refuses to help develop the serum, he is fired from his job.  But not long after, the regeneration of his arm seems to have worked as Dr. Connors has found a way to use a lizard to regrow his arm.

But unbeknown to Dr. Connors, by doing what he has done, his whole body has turned into a lizard.  And now, the Lizard is terrorizing the streets.

As for Peter Parker, he tries to learn about to know about his responsibilities with his new power, but also how he can use this power for good, not just for revenge in searching for the murderer of his uncle.

While Peter’s relationship with Gwen Stacy starts to grow, her father (portrayed by Denis Leary), a police captain is deadset in trying to capture Spider-Man who he regards as a vigilante and not helping the police.  And as the Lizard continues the rampage, Captain Stacy puts the blame on Spider-Man.

VIDEO:

“The Amazing Spider-Man” is presented in 1080p High Definition (2:40:1 aspect ratio).  And as one can expect, this film looks absolutely magnificent on Blu-ray.  Everything from the detail of Spider-Man’s costume, detail on the strands of webbing to the beautiful skyline and of course, character close-ups, the film looks absolutely gorgeous.  Even the shots from high above the city looking down towards Spider-Man and just the overall look and environment looks believable and breathtaking.  Black levels are inky and deep, skin tones are natural and if anything, videophiles will no doubt love how “The Amazing Spider-Man” looks on Blu-ray!

It is important to note that there is a 3D release of the film on Blu-ray (not included with the Blu-ray+DVD+UltraViolet version).

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“The Amazing Spider-Man” is presented in English, French, Portuguese 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, Chinese, Thai 5.1 Dolby Digital.  And as one can expect from this film, filled with many action-packed scenes, the lossless soundtrack sounds magnificent and is truly immersive.

The use of surround is done remarkably well.  From Spider-Man shooting out his web, swinging through the city to Peter Parker being thrown around by the Lizard to getting into a fight with Flash, the dialogue and special effects are crystal clear and good use of surround sound usage and LFE.

But also equally impressive is James Horner’s music for the film.  There are tracks that just captivate you, such as the wonderful “The Ganali Device” which showcases James Horner’s piano playing.  But you will also have the action-driven sequence  upbeat tracks such as “The Bridge”, “Lizard at School!”, “Saving New York” (which was an effective style of James Horner to use the piano in such a way).

For the most part, James Horner is a master in creating beautiful music, emotional music.  From his orchestral direction, his use of piano, voice utilization, the music for “The Amazing Spider-Man is original and manages to be different than Elfman’s “Spider-Man” compositions.

Similar to the film, the soundtrack for “The Amazing Spider-Man” is emotional and he builds upon each track that it begins to grow on you and you find yourself enjoying the soundtrack even more.

But I have to say that this is one of the most original soundtracks when it comes to how the piano is utilized.   But at the same time, aiming for beauty, aiming for emotion, there is not a score that  found that sticks out, a track that I found memorable.

Subtitles are in English, English SDH, Chinese (Mandarin Traditional), Chinese (Mandarin Mandarin Simplified), Chinese (Mandarin Traditional), English (US), French (Canadian), French (Parisian), Indonesian / Bahasa, Korean, Portuguese (Brazil), Spanish (Latin Am) and Thai.

SPECIAL FEATURES

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

  • Amazing Spider-Man Second Screen App – On disc supporting content – You can watch the film at the same time on your smartphone or tablet.
  • Commentary with Marc Webb, Avi Arad and Matt Tolmach – Insightful audio commentary by director Marc Webb, producers Avi Arad and Matt Tolmach.  Very informative!
  • The Oscorp Archives – Production Art Gallery – Featuring production art of Spider-Man, The Lizard and the Environments.  You can view each artwork via using your remote (or keyboard if viewing on a computer).
  • Rite of Passage: The Amazing Spider Man Reborn The Drawing Board: Development and Direction  – (1:49:49) An excellent seven part documentary which focuses on: Friends and Enemies: Casting, Second Skins: Spidey Suit and the Lizard, Spidey Goes West: Production – Los Angeles, Safe Haven: Production – Sony Studios, Bright Tights, Big City: Production – New York, The Greatest Responsibility – Post Production and Release and Iconic Poses and Digital Environments.  You can watch each as one featurette or individually.
  • Deleted Scenes – (16:21) Featuring eleven deleted scenes.
  • Pre-Visualization – (39:08) Featuring the storyboards and animated sequences for the following sequences: Revised Opening Sequence, Spider Room, The Subway, Birth of Spider-Man, Handstand, Roof Top POV, Overpass, Bridge, Love Swing, Lizard Sewer, High School, Lizard Ambush, Standoff, Crane, Oscorp Lab, Oscorp Finale.
  • Image Progression – Featuring various digital scenes and how they progress over time.   Featuring a total of five image progression reels with optional commentary by Sr. Visual Effects Supervisor Jerome Chen, Animation Supervisor David Schaub and Digital Effects Supervisor David Smith.
  • Stunt Rehearsals  – (12:01) Featuring eight stun rehearsal clips which can be viewed as one featurette or separately: Live Subway, Dave’s script, Spidey Luis Sequence, Escape Under Bridge, Sewer Fight, Big Liz Vs Spidey, Lizard Attacks SWAT, SWAT Attack – V3
  • Developing The Amazing Spider-Man Video Game – (3:30) A look at the development for “The Amazing Spider-Man” video game.

EXTRAS:

“The Amazing Spider-Man” comes with a cardboard cover case.  A DVD of the film is included with this release plus an UltraViolet code which allows people to stream or download the film to their Smart Phone or tablet.

As a child who grew up reading and enjoying Spider-Man fan, from being introduced to the comic books at a young age and having collected (and recently sold) decades of Spider-Man comic books and toys that I collected over the years, I have to admit that I was a bit skeptical of a new Spider-Man film, especially a film not so long after the third film of Sam Raimi’s “Spider-Man” trilogy.

Being familiar with what Marvel Comics have done to modernize the character(s) for their films, especially to bring in a new generation of fans not so familiar with the comic books, let alone the ever changing storylines of the character, I look at this reboot as a way of meeting older and newer fans half-way with the classic Spider-Man and the new Ultimate version of Spider-Man, but with newer technology of today, bringing Peter Parker and Spider-Man to the modern age.

And while I know hardcore fans can easily get dismayed with how Hollywood tends to give their own version of super heroes and their origin, personally, I don’t think anyone should be too shocked by now, considering how different other superhero films have been compared to the comic books.   You’re just just not going to get a 100% faithful film adaptation.  And it’s best to come into watching a film based on popular superhero and just accepting that things will be different, while some things will be similar but most importantly, how effective the story will be be, especially the superhero itself.

“The Avengers” and even the recent Dark Knight (Batman) films have shown how these films could be exciting, well-written and enjoyable.  So, can “The Amazing Spider-Man” right?

For “Spider-Man” fans who are trying to forget the third Sam Raimi “Spider-Man” film, fortunately, “The Amazing Spider-Man” manages to incorporate a good balance between the old and the new.

First, let’s talk about the storyline.  The evergoing battle between Spider-Man and the Lizard has been ongoing for so long in the comic books. A good choice for antagonist but it’s also a good way to show a connection Oscorp Industries because of this Peter Parker/Gwen Stacy storyline.

But one thing that was never introduced in the original comic books was Peter Parker’s parents.  It became more of a bigger topic in the ’90s when Marvel introduced this nonsense of clones, but for the film, I actually enjoyed how they brought in the parents, made things a mystery and unlike the comic books, trying not to have this Weapon X connection.  While it’s too early to see how this plays out, I’m glad the subject was introduced into this film.

As a “Spider-Man” fan, while the Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson storyline (and their happiness as a couple to a married couple) will always be important in the life of Peter Parker, what is also important is the relationship between Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy.

Before Peter Parker and Mary Jane, the story of Gwen Stacy has always been important in the Spider-Man universe because Peter Parker will truly learn about the great responsibility he has of being a super-hero.  While a lot of us who have read the comic book series, pretty much knows what will happen to Gwen Stacy, I felt that the writers did a good service for fans by making Gwen the counterpart to Peter Parker.

“The Amazing Spider-Man” is a film that tries to make compromises with both classic and modern versions.  While Peter Parker is seen as a non-popular guy in “The Amazing Spider-Man”, gone is the science nerd with glasses.  Also, modern technology plays a big part of the film.

I’ve always wondered how a high school student would effectively create powerful webs with the technology used back in the ’60s but at least with “The Amazing Spider-Man”, Peter Parker utilizing technology from Oscorp Industries, makes sense.

I actually like the costume design for “The Amazing Spider-Man” this time around and with the always change in technology, the special effects for “The Amazing Spider-Man” looks absolutely fantastic.  When you see Spider-Man swinging from building to building, you can feel the height and was quite pleased with how technology has improved since the release of the past “Spider-Man” trilogy.

But it’s the characters that really brought a lot heart and soul to the film.  Andrew Garfield may not look super nerdy but he played the part of Peter Parker quite effectively.  Different from Tobey Maguire’s portrayal of Spider-Man, I felt that Garfield brought a positive, cool vibe to the character that fans can sympathize for.

Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy was fantastic!  Just the final scene alone with Peter Parker, just the look in her eyes and the smile she gives, is more than enough to make me feel that the right person was cast for the role!

And while Sally Field may not look like the elderly Aunt May that was portrayed in the comic books, to have Sally Field and Martin Sheen play Uncle Ben and Aunt May was another positive when it comes to casting.  Both also did a wonderful job.

And last, Denis Leary did a wonderful job of playing Captain Stacy.  You need a man with attitude to play the role and he nailed it!

As for the primary antagonist, while Rhys Ifans did a great job with Dr. Curt Connors, I was a little iffy when it came to the Lizard’s design.  I wanted to see more the protruding snout that was seen of the character in the comic books with the razor sharp fangs and hissing long tongue.  He looked more like an alien from out of space or swamp creature than the Lizard that I was hoping to see.

But I felt the writers did a wonderful job of separating this reboot from the Sam Raimi trilogy.    And because Gwen Stacy is the love of Peter Parker in this film, one can only wonder how things will playout in the second film.

But overall, I felt that Marc Webb was able to craft a different kind of Spider-Man film that although not 100% faithful to the comic book series, does a magnificent job in capturing those important elements and is able to take the plot and entertain audiences of today!

And with newer technology for CG and special effects, the film looks very fluid during the more action-intense sequences and it played to this film’s overall efficacy.

Speaking of technology, for the Blu-ray release, it’s important to note that there are two versions out on Blu-ray.  One includes the 3D version of the film, while this Blu-ray release features the film via Blu-ray, DVD and UltraViolet.

The Blu-ray is bundled with many special features and the picture quality and lossless audio is fantastic!  Video and audiophiles should be pleased with this Blu-ray release.

“The Amazing Spider-Man” was a risky film to reboot, not long after the original “Spider-Man” trilogy had ended.  But with over 60-years of comic book history, there is a lot of Spider-Man stories to be told.  And one of those most significant storylines involve Spider-Man and Gwen Stacy.

While Spider-Man fans know how much of an impact Gwen Stacy had on Peter Parker’s life through the comic books, what better than to bring these two characters and put them in the forefront of this Marvel reboot.  Where the Sam Raimi films did a lot of experimentation of Spider-Man, the superhero, especially his relationship with Mary Jane Watson.

Also, “The Amazing Spider-Man” manages to take the character to a more modern setting and for the most part, the technology behind Peter Parker’s web shooters to the modern technology utilized in his suit, now makes sense.  But it was important to make that distinction of how Peter Parker, a science whiz, was able to incorporate this technology for Spider-Man.  You have to have that connection and that connection is with Oscorp Industries and if you have Oscorp, comic fans know what hopefully, the future of this film series will lead to.

“The Amazing Spider-Man” may not be the most faithful film when it comes to film adaptation from the original comic books, but then again, not many superhero films are.

Overall, the film turned out to be much more exciting, much more deeper than I was expecting.  And every ounce of skepticism that I once had, was no longer there.  Sure, I enjoyed “The Avengers” much, much more than “The Amazing Spider-Man”, but I have to admit that I enjoyed this film much more than any of the three Sam Raimi films.  I felt the way the characters were handled, was much more effective.

Especially the handling of the Peter’s parents but also this new, fresh and cool vibe with its characters utilizing modern technology and setting.  Everything seemed right!  The technology seemed right!  And with the solid performances by its characters with a much more entertaining storyline, there is no doubt in my mind that this is the best “Spider-Man” film yet!

I absolutely enjoyed “The Amazing Spider-Man” and I loved this Blu-ray release for its wonderful PQ, AQ and the special features galore!

Highly recommended!

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