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Category:    Home > Reviews > Superhero > Action > Adventure > Comedy > Science Fiction > Drama > Horror > The Amazing Spider-Man 3D (2012/Sony Blu-ray 3D w/Blu-ray 2D & DVD)

The Amazing Spider-Man 3D (2012/Sony Blu-ray 3D w/Blu-ray 2D & DVD)

 

3D Picture: B+     2D Picture: B/C+     Sound: B+/B-     Extras: B     Film: B

 

 

After Sam Raimi made such a success of his Spider-Man Trilogy, many wondered why a new version of the adventures were being launched.  Raimi was even planning a fourth film, but the third was so compromised for commercial reasons and Raimi still could not make the connection between the action with the heart and soul of the characters, that continuation fell apart and all the major actors left with him.  Yet, there is so much more Spider-Man material and so many more stories to tell, so as with any other all-time popular character, it was time not just to “reboot” in some shallow way, but dig deeper into the character and world he lives in.

 

For starters, the producers and studio hired Marc Webb, the highly successful Music Video director whose feature film debut (500) Days Of Summer was terrific and showed how well he handled relationships.  Then it was rumored The Lizard would be the villain, a great choice.  Then the biggest coup of all was scored when the makers looked for a successor to the very successful Tobey Maguire and found the perfect choice in Andrew Garfield.

 

The young actor had already found international recognition as Eduardo in David Fincher’s The Social Network and has made impressive showings in every film he has made to date.  I thought it was a great choice and now, I am convinced he is the best actor to ever take the role on, including those who have voiced his animated versions.  Garfield is perfect throughout as the hero, Peter Parker and adds so much more that I actually caught remarkable things he pulled off the second and third screenings I missed the first time I saw The Amazing Spider-Man In 3D (2012).

 

Matching his work (he is one of the best actors of his generation) as his love interest, friend and more, Gwen Stacy is played by the dynamic and very talented Emma Stone, making for a classic cinematic pairing that is magnetic, chemistry-filled and even electric.  It is one of those rare male/female pairing we do not see enough and together, they are incredible and put an already ambitious, quality, grade-A big budget Hollywood film that works over the top.

 

The supporting cast is just as impressive with Sally Field in her best role in years as Aunt May, Martin Sheen as Uncle Ben, Dennis Leary as Gwen policeman father, Chris Zylka as Peter’s school nemesis Flash Thompson and other actors and performances that keep this film moving with a smoothness and energy we do not see enough in major motion pictures today.

 

U.S. audiences had some adjustment disorder to deal with when this opened and despite doing huge business in North America, too many did not see it or give it a chance and I hope those who missed out will catch up on Blu-ray and the other formats because this is every bit is great as Marvel’s The Avengers and Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises.  The Amazing Spider-Man is not just a part four, but a return to basics with seriously detailed character development so we can really know the characters and the action is equaled with heart, soul, humor, intelligence and a pure cinematic sense that shows a studio serious about making a film everyone can enjoy without being phony, condescending or fake towards it audience.

 

As a result, it is the biggest of the Spider-Man films overseas and the underrated Rhys Ifans is dead-on as a pumped up version of The Lizard, though he is equally as effective as the Dr. Curt Connors.  As much as any actor here, he gives a performance that is easy to overlook and underrate because he is the villain, but also an ambiguous challenge to the moral center of the film and the people init, so his madness is not as easy to write off as pure evil and “just getting rid of him” like so many formulaic (and even angry) action genre films is insufficient in the world of the film.

 

This is a more layered and complex work, which the characters needed to grow after the successful previous trilogy.  Ifans pulls off some fine work here and you have to (hard as it might be with all the great things that are going on here) really concentrate strictly on him to see what he achieves.  It is not easy, but then all involved go all out and as a result, The Amazing Spider-Man is one of the year’s best films, period!

 

 

The 2.35 X 1, 1080p full HD MVC-encoded 3-D – Full Resolution digital High Definition image on the Blu-ray 3D version is the best presentation of all the options here, even though we do not get pure 3D all the time.  The point is, the 3D is not used all the time and that actually adds to the world and narrative of the story by not overdoing it.  Seeing it in only 2D, even on the fine 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition 2D Blu-ray robs the viewer of the full impact that filmmakers intended as in a too rare case in a live action release, the 3D adds to the world and even secrets of what is going on here and I was very pleased with this smart approach.

 

Add the amazing amount of money on the screen and one of the few advanced uses of color in any HD shoot to date and the result is a true state-of-the-art release handled masterfully by Director of Photography John Schwartzman, A.S.C, who described using the 5K RED EPIC HD camera for starters (native 3D camera systems were also used, plus some conversion was involved in scenes and via visual effects added later) as akin to using VistaVision and he goes for it scene after scene.  Though not offering the advanced detail that 35mm film format can deliver, this is one of the best uses of any RED camera I have seen to date.  The overall look can still be mixed between 3D vs. 2D and different settings (the tech labs vs. school lab vs. school, vs. homes vs. several versions of New York City, etc.) so the look is more comic book than classical or contemporary cinema, yet it is just as effective as the previous Spider-Man films (reviewed on Blu-ray elsewhere on this site) and one of the best looking films of the year.

 

The anamorphically enhanced DVD version is 2D only and passable, but no match for the Blu-ray editions.

 

The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix on the Blu-ray is one of the most impressive sound mixes of the year, even though it is not 7.1, it has a warm, constantly fine soundfield with character that ranges from simple dialogue scenes to general sound effects to sonic full force as the .1 LFE kicks in and the sound design delivers demonstration-level mixing and editing throughout.

 

Add James Horner with one of his best music scores to date and you get an amazing overall soundtrack that can and will challenge any home theater system around as well as any Blu-ray soundtrack to date.  Enhancing the narrative thoroughly without ever making this animated radio or coming across as phony, even audiophile show find movie sound bright, limited and even sloppy will be in for a big surprise.

 

The lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 on the DVD version is good, but not great and no match for the Blu-ray DTS-MA.

 

Extras include Ultraviolet Copy, a promo for a new charity project Garfield is promoting that looks great, a really interesting feature length audio commentary track by Webb, Avi Arad & Marc Tolmach, Deleted Scenes, Stunt Rehearsals, Oscorp Archives – Production Art Gallery, Blu-ray exclusive Second Screen App., Progression Reels, Pre-Visualization Sequences, Rite Of Passage – The Amazing Spider-Man Reborn documentary (90+ minutes) and Blu-ray 3D exclusive 3D Progression Reel and Interactive 3D Film School with Webb.  Even this collection of extras is one of the best of the year!

 

 

-   Nicholas Sheffo


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