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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
[img]http://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-prn1/c0.0.403.403/p403x403/60783_10151227659282488_553108406_n.jpg[/img]


Studio(s): Sony Pictures Entertainment/Columbia Pictures/Marvel Entertainment
Rating: PG-13
Disc/Transfer Information: Region A/B/C; 1080p High-Definition 2.40:1
Tested Audio Track: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (Blu-ray)
Director: Marc Webb
Starring Cast: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Denis Leary, Martin Sheen, Sally Field
Blu-ray Release Date (U.S. Region "A"): 11/09/12

















THE UNTOLD STORY BEGINS.


PLOT ANALYSIS:


This “review,” at the present moment, will only encompass my sentiments and analysis of the plot with regard to Marc Webb’s Spider-Man franchise reboot attempt, with detailed breakdown of the picture and audio quality to follow later once I get a chance to run the Blu-ray through its paces. I just picked up the “Blu-ray+DVD+UltraViolet Target Exclusive” version of The Amazing Spider-Man, which includes, as usual, the prerequisite “Exclusive Bonus Disc” as marketed by the Target superstore chain and a raised-relief slipcase featuring artwork of the re-imagined web-slinging hero (played this time by Andrew Garfield); also available, at Target at least, was a 3D Blu-ray (with an awesome holographic slipcase) and a very cool Four-Disc Gift Pack that bundles, if I am not mistaken, all the media versions of the film (DVD/Blu-ray/3D Blu-ray etc.) and collectible figurines of the main character and his long-awaited-by-fans adversary in this, The Lizard. Unfortunately, I just did not see any personal justification for purchasing the rather expensive Gift Set (funds are always tight too) as I would have no use for the 3D version of the film or any other version for that matter save for the “regular” 2D Blu – but those figurines are definitely cool and would look great on a collector’s shelf. I wish Sony would have released a more affordable 2D-only Blu-ray version that included the Spidey and Lizard figures.

So, as soon as I watch the disc later tonight, I will report back with my audio and video findings and thoroughly analyze the 2.40:1 transfer and 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack – for right now, I will discuss my feelings on the film itself and where it fits into the regenerated franchise landscape. [UPDATE: AUDIO AND VIDEO ANALYSIS NOW COMPLETE AND INCLUDED BELOW.] To begin with, I find it ironic that the director of a new Spider-Man film possesses a last name of Webb – beyond that, my first thought when hearing the news of this franchise reboot was…”why?” Was this really necessary? Generally speaking, the three Sam Raimi-helmed Spideys weren’t so entrenched in passing years that a reboot of this was called for, as far as I was concerned. Alas, what always happens came to the forefront again – filmmakers and studio execs felt a burning need to “re-introduce” an iconic character to a new generation raised on sleeping and eating with their iPads (because, you know, Tobey Maguire’s portrayal of the main character was just so inexcusable to the teens and twenty-somethings that may have caught the original trilogy; ridiculous), and so Andrew Garfield was brought in to replace Toby Maguire in the role of Peter Parker and his alter ego. For what it’s worth, I can’t quite figure out what to make of Garfield in this role – sometimes, I feel like he’s okay, and other times (well, most of the time) he looks ridiculous in the getup and this new suit, or even out of the suit with his unkempt hair and Banana Republic model-esque approach. In the end, I bought Maguire 100 times over in the role of soul-tortured Peter Parker – from the goofy facial gestures to the way he spoke and acted behind the mask and costume. He was our Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man to me. Those gestures and dialogue line deliveries is what turned me off about Garfield in many places throughout this; specifically, the scene in which he sits in the back seat of a car and talks to a criminal with his Spidey mask on…the dialogue in this sequence was ridiculous, with Garfield suggesting to the criminal reasons why he shouldn’t dress the way he does or some such rhetoric. To me, this was not Maguire swinging on to a flagpole in Raimi’s Spider-Man 2, looking Doctor Octopus in the face and exclaiming “WHERE IS SHE?” with regard to Mary Jane Watson’s whereabouts – that was a cool, comic-like, almost angry Spidey. We just don’t get that here with Garfield, but as I stated, this reboot seems geared towards a brand-new, very young demographic, the kind that packs into theaters to drool over the next Twilight saga or who sit at home and text one another about the “hot” bloodsuckers they’re watching in The Vampire Diaries. That’s exactly who this reboot feels aimed at; for serious fans of the comic, like me, there was a lot wrong with the approach here.

But beyond the poor casting (in my opinion) and what appears to be an unnecessary attempt at rebooting a viable, successful franchise (save for the semi-disaster that was Spider-Man 3), Marc Webb’s Amazing Spider-Man had a primary saving grace in bringing a fan-favorite villain to the screen for the first time – The Lizard. Fans had been clamoring to see Lizard ever since Raimi announced his three-film contract with Sony/Columbia/Marvel, but the character was just never fully realized, whether for creative obstacles by CGI teams or Raimi himself having reservations about Spidey’s long-running adversary, instead concentrating on other classic villains such as Green Goblin, Doc Ock, Sandman and, unfortunately Topher Grace as Venom (probably the worst comic adaptation character casting choice in the history of cinema). Anticipatory fans – yours truly included – were ecstatic beyond belief when we first saw the international teasers for Webb’s reboot that featured clips of the fight sequences between Lizard and Spidey, thinking “Finally! We’re getting The Lizard!” Alas, with the introduction of this long-awaited villain came some inconsistencies that bothered me and some other critics – in Webb’s version, we have Dr. Connors as the character, of course, that becomes The Lizard, but in this reboot he portrays a scientist that had something to do with Peter’s father…in Sam Raimi’s trilogy, Connors is portrayed as a one-armed college professor of Peter’s who has nothing to do with Peter’s past or real father or anything like that. Why the discrepancy, and which one can be considered more accurate when it comes to comparing this to the comic’s run? I’ll have to go back into my mental archives of when I was an enthusiast of the books and look into that.

In this version, Connors is definitely more menacing and threatening as compared to Raimi’s take on the character – of course, we witness him transforming into a half man half reptile in Amazing Spider-Man, so I suppose it’s fitting. While I had no issue with the casting choice for Connors, I didn’t buy – at all – Martin Sheen and Sally Field as Uncle Ben and Aunt Mae. Cliff Robertson in particular was so much more believable as Uncle Ben in Raimi’s films – and then there was the decision to initially concentrate on the Gwen Stacy character (played here by Emma Stone versus Bryce Dallas Howard in Spider-Man 3) as Peter’s love interest instead of Mary Jane Watson (returning in the sequel, and played by Kirsten Dunst in Raimi’s films)…I suppose this was a nice change from the kind of tired Mary Jane storyline that got a bit long in the tooth by the end of Spider-Man 3, but I wonder why Webb went with this right out of the gate in the reboot initial film. At any rate, Stone and her Stacy character seemed to be window dressing against the inevitable showdown between Peter and Dr. Connors in this, which we wait for after we witness their first confrontation when Peter swings onto a New York bridge and knocks The Lizard off his reptilian feet as he’s attacking someone in a taxicab. Oh – and then there’s Denis Leary as Gwen’s father, Captain Stacy of the New York Police Department, who seemed like an odd casting choice, almost as if he was thrown in as a favor to someone or because he’s simply Denis Leary…or perhaps because he was a fan of the comics and asked to be in this. It really does feel that way.

Another positive element we see in The Amazing Spider-Man – outside of the wise choice to call this franchise reboot launcher something different than just Spider-Man, as well as representing a nod to the title of the original comic run – is the exploration of Peter’s past before he lives with his aunt and uncle. While the opening sequence is brief, at least here we get to get a bit of a sneak peek at what happened to his parents and why he ended up living with Ben and Mae – still, the story itself and what it attempts to suggest is convoluted a bit and again begs the comparison to the original comic origin stories. Is this the way the original comic story went, with Peter’s father having something to do with Oscorp and Connors, specifically some kind of secret or deal that went sour? Consequently, does Peter end up tangling with Connors because of this? The whole Oscorp thing is also explored in a different light in this reboot – where in Raimi’s original, Oscorp is headed by Peter’s friend Harry’s father, Norman Osborn (played by Willem Dafoe), who also ends up becoming The Green Goblin, here Oscorp has something to do with Dr. Connors with no real mention (that I could recall) of Harry or his father. Are these just creative liberties being taken? If so, why? Why not stick with the way the comics went for the most part? As I said, I’ll have to do some research on this to refresh my memories of the books. The absence of Harry Osborn as Peter’s best friend was surprising here too – but we do get to see the “Flash” character that beats up on Peter routinely, albeit played by a different kid of course.

Then, there’s the issue of Peter’s homemade web slinger as compared to the way in which webbing flew out of Tobey Maguire’s wrists in Raimi’s original franchise – this has been the topic of controversy ever since the first teasers hit, and there are many who are divided on this subject. Some fans say it’s a more accurate approach to feature the mechanical web slinger, as this appeared in some runs of the comic, while others argue the webs always shot out of Peter’s actual body after he was bitten by the spider – I don’t really know which I care for, but there is no denying that Marc Webb’s Amazing Spider-Man is a somewhat darker take on the character (irrespective of its gearing towards an absolutely idiotic, brainless young generation), much like Christopher Nolan’s take on Batman. For what it’s worth, I am still more of a fan of Sam Raimi’s Spidey franchise.

And so the plot analysis…as I stated, Amazing Spider-Man opens not with a narration by the main character (as seen in Raimi’s original) already in his high school years living with Aunt Mae and Uncle Ben, but rather with depicting what happened to his parents and his father’s involvement with Oscorp’s secrets. Eventually, we learn he’s living in Queens, New York with his Aunt Mae (Field) and Uncle Ben (Sheen) and is almost being shielded and hidden from a terrible secret regarding his family. I just didn’t like Garfield in this role; I mean, most of his dialogue comes off as whiny and childish, and I did not buy him like I bought Maguire – once the action picks up, and he’s swinging through the New York City streets as his alter ego, you kind of forgive the shortcomings of his performance out of the mask and just look forward to the fight sequences with Lizard. In school, Peter’s love interest is, of course, the blonde Gwen Stacy (Stone), daughter of a New York Police captain (Leary), and during a trip to Oscorp headquarters (more a clinical research facility in this than the mechanical military factory portrayed in Raimi’s first film) he is bitten by an experimental genetically altered spider. The symptoms of his changes begin, this time manifesting themselves during a subway sequence in which Peter’s about to get bullied but immediately turns the tables with his new-found strength. We witness the typical Spider-Man formula – Peter goes through the cheesy original costume phase as he beats up on criminals with his new powers, eventually making his own iconic red and blue suit (which is as different compared to Toby Maguire’s as Superman’s suit was in Superman Returns compared to Christopher Reeve’s costumes) and web shooter, all the way up to finally mastering his swinging abilities and fighting powers to confront the master villain creature at the end. In between, Leary’s Captain Stacy character is attempting to arrest the masked vigilante while trying to keep his daughter away from Parker who appears to be a Spidey-fanatic misfit.

Meanwhile, Dr. Connors, who obviously has some connection to Peter’s father, is experimenting with DNA at Oscorp in a possible attempt to regenerate his missing arm – when reptile DNA gets into the mix, something goes horribly wrong and the scientist is transformed into a half man, half giant lizard creature, with the effect coming and going throughout the film’s run time. Of course mad with rage and anger, Connors’ creature goes on a rampage throughout New York, eventually coming face to face with the son of the man he once had dealings with – and having to square off against his alter ego, Spider-Man. The initial confrontation sequence between the two is kind of brief, and features Peter swinging in onto a bridge where Connors’ Lizard is attempting to attack a victim of his in a taxicab, knocking the reptilian beast over but also suggesting more fight sequences are yet to come. Peter knows exactly who this “Lizard” is – Dr. Connors – and begins to unravel the mystery behind the connection he had to his father. When he attempts to warn police and Gwen’s father in particular about what Connors has transformed into, his alerts pretty much fall on deaf ears and Peter decides he must confront the monster on his own with his spider abilities. This leads to exciting fight sequences involving a classroom in Peter’s high school, in which Lizard and Parker are duking it out, smashing each other through walls and floors while Stan Lee makes a prerequisite cameo in the foreground as well as final confrontation atop a New York building that I felt could have been a bit more lengthy and fleshed-out.

We get a glimpse at what is coming in the already-in-production sequel in a brief pre-end credits sequence, but what it suggests is still up for debate and was a bit confusing to me; it will also be interesting to see if like Chris Nolan and his Dark Knight in which he re-introduced The Joker, Marc Webb (or whoever helms the sequel) will re-imagine The Green Goblin.

I still can’t warm up to Garfield in the main Peter Parker role, though.

This “Target Exclusive” Blu-ray/DVD/UltraViolet release includes a plethora of extra material including the aforementioned Bonus Disc exclusive to the Target release entitled “A Hero Will Rise,” plus features such as “The Amazing Spider-Man Second Screen App,” “Rite of Passage: The Amazing Spider-Man Reborn,” pre-visualization sequences, image progression reels and much more.

And, I still have to ask – was rebooting this franchise just to appease a younger generation really that necessary?


[img]http://images.wikia.com/amazingspiderman/images/3/32/The-Amazing-Spider-Man-Screenshots.jpg[/img]
VIDEO QUALITY ANALYSIS:

What struck me right off the bat when viewing Amazing Spider-Man's 2.40:1 widescreen Blu-ray transfer was the inherent, obvious softness exhibited by the opening Richard Parker/Peter Parker childhood sequence -- this scene was coated in a smooth, waxy, detail-less characteristic that I was hoping wouldn’t set the tone for the rest of the film. While more than likely purposely done for flashback/vintage effect, it was a bit off-putting in terms of expectations from a high definition format. As the film progressed, this softness really didn’t clear up all that much, especially during interior shots – again, more than likely a stylistic approach on Webb’s behalf, or perhaps the result of digital manipulation of the cameras utilized (we saw this soft look on Superman Returns as well). Still, for the most part, I was not that impressed with Amazing Spider-Man on Blu-ray when taken as a whole. It wasn’t that razor-sharp in most places, and while there were definitely outstanding moments – close-up shots of Peter’s suit were stunning in terms of detail, as you can nearly make out every single strand of material he used to make it, while the blue and red of the suit was ridiculously vibrant from certain angles, in addition to certain characters and their close-ups in which you could make out nearly every pore and imperfection in their skin – in general, I have viewed more reference-grade video from this format.

However, I must add this -- I did not detect a hint of noise, grain, twitching, aliasing (well, to be expected in 1080p) or any other video abnormaility on Sony's transfer here. The entire feature, from start to finish, was rock-solid and so utterly stable it was almost as if someone did indeed get their webs on a DNR algorithm device. I am in the camp -- and very much in the minority, I know -- of those BD fans who don't care for film grain, and there wasn't a touch of it on display here at least from my viewing distance. Of course, this can come at the expense of some fine detail, and that is what may have gone wrong with some of the "pasty" looking faces and somewhat "flat" looking frames I experienced and reported on. What is also important to note is that Marc Webb's new direction for this series, with its more ominous overtones and darker look at the character's lore, is what puts it in stark contrast as compared to Sam Raimi's kind of over-the-top, brightly-lit and colorful style in the original trilogy, and as such, that opening sequence I spoke of which comes off appearing somewhat murky and soft can most likely be chalked up to the visual style decided on by the filmmaking team. This isn't a punchy, cheerful look at Peter Parker and his world -- the tones are definitely dialed down quite a bit here and in that regard, the transfer did in fact stick to authenticity. For example -- when Pete receives the deep scratches and wounds from his sewer battle with Lizard, the injuries and subsequent damage to his red and blue suit are exhibited with such dreary realism on this 1080p encode, it's almost surreal. For that, I have to applaud the production team and Sony's home video division engineers.


[img]https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSVeIeozsM0MAOI-toaUCvnePUw04-ZBc3YSUdUopMTmVA4cRmU[/img]
AUDIO QUALITY ANALYSIS:

Similarly, the English DTS-HD Master Audio track Sony provides for Amazing Spider-Man on Blu-ray, in 5.1, wasn’t that wall-shaking to be completely honest – and therein lies one of the bigger problems with this track, which was its distinct lack of deep, low LFE. The mix required me to goose up the volume a bit more than I’m normally comfortable with, which was odd because usually the 7.1 tracks played back on my 5.1 arrangement causes this, and there appeared to be a distinct subdued quality to the audio from my perception. When the fight sequences begin between the main character and Doctor Curt Connors/The Lizard, the mix opens up quite a bit with chaos and thrashing being spilled into all channels, yet I felt like some surround activity could have been utilized a bit more.

This track wasn’t without its merits, though, much like the video presentation – some moments of surround activity were startling real, including audio cues supporting Spidey’s web shooting, car chases, traffic ambient support, gunshots and one in particular that I thought was pretty creative: In the opening title sequence, when “Amazing Spider-Man” is presented onscreen almost in the same fashion as Sony/Columbia presented it in Sam Raimi’s trilogy, there is a sudden whipping effect in which webbing seemingly shoots from the surround channels and grabs the lettering of this titling onscreen. The overall punch and volume of this moment wasn’t impressive, as it’s done in a very subtle way, but the approach was nice.

I suppose, all in all, The Amazing Spider-Man wasn’t a disappointment on Blu-ray, it’s just that I feel like this was a mediocre presentation in both audio and video…as if it just could have been a of a lot better and more involving. In fact, I couldn’t help but recall when watching the disc last night how Spider-Man 3 completely rolled over this one in terms of its visual depth, level of eye-popping detail and almost surrealism in the video department while its Dolby TrueHD track was miles more aggressive than this reboot’s DTS-HD Master Audio mix.

In taking a gander online at some other reviews of this title, it seems to me I am not really alone in my assertion that there was something a bit "off" with this mix and that it could have been more -- a quick glance at the audio quality section of High Def Digest's review on the title, for example, suggests indeed something kept this DTS-HD MA mix from hitting us over the head and really being a barn-stormer in terms of sheer dynamics. They even go so far to mention the element regarding the bass/LFE track which I brought up above -- essentially, something was lacking. I'll be honest; I actually enjoyed the lossy DTS mix on the SUPERBIT version of Spider-Man 2 on DVD (which I own) as well as the outrageously aggressive and expansive Dolby TrueHD track attached to Spider-Man 3 on Blu over the DTS-HD Master Audio track of The Amazing Spider-Man.


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SUMMARY/RECOMMENDATIONS:

To me, this was a buy. I liked it enough in theaters to warrant a Blu-ray purchase when it was released, as I applauded Marc Webb for introducing The Lizard to us fans, something Sam Raimi was never able to do, and just thought it wasn’t a disaster in terms of overall execution. Was this Raimi’s Spider-Man world, though? NO way. Maguire had the feel of the behavior and voice behind the suit down so much better than Andrew Garfield did, and the original trilogy just felt like it stepped off the pages of the comic, what with the Aunt Mae/Uncle Ben renditions, the J. Jonah Jameson newspaper editor character (played brilliantly by JK Simmons), Kirsten Dunst’s accurate portrayal of Mary Jane Watson complete with the correct reddish hair and, most notably, the downright awesome fight sequences between the web slinger and Doc Ock in Spider-Man 2, which I still regard as THE best comic adaptation film ever to be made.

Garfield’s behavior and acting in this is beyond awkward and off-putting and I just didn’t buy him as Peter Parker even with the glasses; the inconsistencies regarding Oscorp and the way in which Curt Connors fit into the picture, coupled with the Norman Osborn element hinted at here but in complete contrast to the way in which Raimi explained that end of the story plus the goofy, ridiculous dialogue delivery exhibited by Garfield in this especially when he first starts utilizing his powers to find the guy that kills Uncle Ben was just not effective. Still, I do appreciate Webb and Marvel attempting to show a different side of this story, as Chris Nolan tried to do with his Batman franchise, and in that way, Amazing Spider-Man does take a slightly darker look at the character and story. I just still don’t think a reboot was entirely necessary.

If you haven’t seen this yet in theaters but are concerned about a full purchase, give this a rental. As is standard fare today, the Blu-ray was released in several different variants to choose from – the standard 2D/DVD/UltraViolet digital download version I purchased and reviewed here (I am not sure if Best Buy did any kind of “exclusive packaging,” but Target had a bonus disc attached to this one), the 3D Blu-ray which has a very cool holographic cover of Spidey swinging into action and the special four-disc Gift Pack which bundles all versions of the release with two collectible figurines of Spidey and Lizard.

Thanks for reading!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Re: THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN TARGET EXCLUSIVE BLU-RAY (2D)+DVD+ULTRAVIOLET (Sony/Marvel)

Hey, Jeff!

Thanks so much for reading and commenting! Indeed, I am not a fan of changing up actors and rebooting franchises (except for the re-imagining of sorts of the Bond character with Casino Royale, as I happen to be a fan of Daniel Craig in the role and the more serious action tone of these new Bonds), but this one wasn't particularly awful in the least -- and, as I stated, we finally get to see The Lizard/Curtis Connors as the adversary, who has been a fan favorite in the comics for decades. I just still hold to the fact that this was not a necessary reboot; it had a lot to do with the original director of the trilogy (Sam Raimi) and his creative differences with Marvel and Sony Pictures in terms of where he saw the series heading. I don't know if Toby Maguire, consequently, was interested in doing a fourth film anyway, but I do know I definitely buy him as Peter Parker 100 times more than I did Andrew Garfield in this reboot. This kid is just plain awkward (Garfield).

I am going to post my findings regarding the audio and video of the disc now -- thanks again for reading. Indeed, if you didn't see this in theaters (I did), give it a spin. Did you like the original Spidey trilogy?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Re: THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN TARGET EXCLUSIVE BLU-RAY (2D)+DVD+ULTRAVIOLET (Sony/Marvel)

UPDATE: Audio and Video Quality analysis now included in review.

Thank you!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Re: THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN TARGET EXCLUSIVE BLU-RAY (2D)+DVD+ULTRAVIOLET (Sony/Marvel)

Some additional comments and notes added to the video and audio quality analysis sections.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Re: THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN TARGET EXCLUSIVE BLU-RAY (2D)+DVD+ULTRAVIOLET (Sony/Marvel)

Has anyone seen this yet? What were your thoughts on the Blu-ray's audio/video?
 

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Re: THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN TARGET EXCLUSIVE BLU-RAY (2D)+DVD+ULTRAVIOLET (Sony/Marvel)

I guess I feel differently regarding the movie, visuals and soundtrack.
I really loved them all and was thoroughly engaged throughout. I may be missing something but for me, it worked very well on all fronts, story, character, visual and aural. It was a 2 hour blast of fun and in the end, feel good.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Re: THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN TARGET EXCLUSIVE BLU-RAY (2D)+DVD+ULTRAVIOLET (Sony/Marvel)

I guess I feel differently regarding the movie, visuals and soundtrack.
I really loved them all and was thoroughly engaged throughout. I may be missing something but for me, it worked very well on all fronts, story, character, visual and aural. It was a 2 hour blast of fun and in the end, feel good.
Hey Jack,

Thanks very much for your input and opinions; indeed, everyone is going to have their own idea of what they like and don't like, and our differences is what makes us unique! I appreciate your candor in the matter...

I didn't really think it "didn't work," per se; I just liked Sam Raimi's original trilogy much better, as it just felt like a realization of the comic more -- what I did love, as I pointed out, was the fact that we got to see Lizard in this finally, and it was somewhat eye-opening to get a different, darker perspective on the material here, much like Chris Nolan's take on Batman. I did not like Garfield in the lead role, but maybe I will eventually warm up; I'm in that group that feels like there is no Peter Parker but Tobey Maguire.

I agree, it definitely was fun, and I am looking forward to seeing what they're gonna do with the sequel.

Now, let's get to the disc's specification analysis -- did you buy or rent the Blu-ray? Or, did you only see this in theaters? If you did view the disc, did you not see the moments of softness and inherent veiling of visuals especially in the opening flashback sequence with Peter's parents? With regard to the DTS-HD Master Audio track, did you feel it was completely engaging from start to finish?

I'm curious because I read on some other sites that reviewed this title the fact that their staff too found "something lacking" in the audio here -- hard to put their fingers on it, as it was for me, but there was a lack of bass and sheer dynamics in some areas that made this a bit disappointing. I know for a fact that the Dolby TrueHD track on the Region A Blu-ray Disc of Spider-Man 3 was leaps and bounds more aggressive and engaging than this Master Audio mix on the reboot...

Go figure...:blink: :rolleyesno: :coocoo:

Thanks again for your thoughts; looking forward to your response!

As a side note...is it just me, or does Home Theater Shack have a plethora of "Jacks" in its membership roster? :unbelievable: :gulp: :rubeyes: :D
 

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Re: THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN TARGET EXCLUSIVE BLU-RAY (2D)+DVD+ULTRAVIOLET (Sony/Marvel)

I posted this in Mikes review.
My thoughts on the video was they did a great job with the night scenes, as said above no banding or artifacts at all and detail was superb. This movie does not get high marks for eye popping color that jumps out at you but it sure works with the darker storyline.
There is lots of heartfelt emotion and gripping at the edge of your seat action.
I think my only real gripe is that there were a few spots that the CG was a little sloppy as far as detail compared to what we are now used to, for example Many of the downtown traffic scenes seemed rushed.

I also thought the audio was a bit how shall I put it, soft, not muddy but not as crisp as I like it to be. the use of the LFE was good when it needed to be and was not over done like some recent action movies. The surround channels were well used and it felt like you were there.
 

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Re: THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN TARGET EXCLUSIVE BLU-RAY (2D)+DVD+ULTRAVIOLET (Sony/Marvel)

Thanks for the reply Osage, I did find Spidey 2 the best of the series with this newest being the second best, imo of course. As far as video, yes it was a purchase BR disc and I saw no real issues that I would not expect, in other words everything that I saw looked to fit what was happening on the screen. On many films, going back to Doris Day there is a softening of image during some ECU's so that we did not see any skin or pore defects. This is a normal part of film, always has been and always will be. The one thing I did notice it that they never hid or softened up the interface between CGI and real life. Someone took great pride in making these things work and not look phony. I enjoyed it and even grain, a natural part of using film in dark spaces was minimal at best.

Sonically, I had no expectations so everything I heard was fine. I dont judge on movie based on the bottome end of another one. I take them all on their own. In musical terms it would be like putting the bottom end of "I want to hold your hand" a fine recording in and of itself by the Beatles against, the Taj Mahal, Strong Man Holler cut on his Maestro CD. One has bass for days the other seems much more in line with reality. Which one is right ? I go with the Beatles. Does this make sense ??
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
Re: THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN TARGET EXCLUSIVE BLU-RAY (2D)+DVD+ULTRAVIOLET (Sony/Marvel)

Hey Tony,

Thanks for the reply and for your thoughts.

I posted this in Mikes review.
My thoughts on the video was they did a great job with the night scenes, as said above no banding or artifacts at all and detail was superb. This movie does not get high marks for eye popping color that jumps out at you but it sure works with the darker storyline.
My findings, after putting the disc through its paces in detailed observation, was that there was an inherent softness to the transfer -- but after reading interviews with Webb and discussing this with other media reviewers I know on the circuit, it was indeed a stylistic choice on behalf of the filmmakers, and, as you stated, this worked with the slightly darker take on the material conceived by Stan Lee. Indeed, the transfer was completely blemish-free -- no artifacts, grain, digital noise...nothing creeped in as far as I could tell, but my display IS calibrated correctly in the sharpness department (the area which would aggrevate the noise/abnormalities the most). That said, once the action heats up in present-day Queens at the Midtown Science High School, Oscorp and other New York locations, and we see Peter's suit in close-ups, the transfer jumps to life especially with regard to detail (as I mentioned, take a look at the close-up shots of the blue and red suit on display here; you can nearly make out every eye-popping piece of material used). Still, throughout, there was this "milky softness" I couldn't quite warm up to; I actually prefer Raimi's stylized look in his trilogy which was a bit candy coated and brightly lit -- it made the Blu-ray of Spider-Man 3 actually look fantastic in the outdoor sequences, and I thought that was something just missing here. Again, though: This was a darker look at the material, so...

There is lots of heartfelt emotion and gripping at the edge of your seat action.
I think my only real gripe is that there were a few spots that the CG was a little sloppy as far as detail compared to what we are now used to, for example Many of the downtown traffic scenes seemed rushed.
I still have a hard time wrapping my head around Andrew Garfield in this role; whenever he was onscreen with that skateboard in his hand, in those ridiculous skinny jeans that kept falling down around his , I couldn't help but think just how much this was supposed to be a take on this comic geared towards a much younger demographic...it's like we're watching a Hollister clothing ad with the way the young stars are on display (although Emma Stone looked mighty delicious in those miniskirts she tramps around in during the run time). It's like this was a Spidey for the iPad generation -- like the WB Network belched out some stars to turn into a comic hero character...but we're seeing that in all the reboots/remakes as of late, and it's something I just cannot warm up to. Witness this "Smallville generation" take on classic films that were remade such as Friday the 13th, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Star Trek and House of Wax (that last one was a real doozy, with none other than Paris Hilton in one of the leads as the blonde bimbo dating the "ghetto brotha" with a blinged-out Escalade...give me a break. :sarcastic:

As far as the CGI work, I'll have to rewatch the disc to see if I pick up on what you single out with regard to the traffic sequences -- I thought some of the web-shooting scenes, in which Peter is rapidly flinging his weapon to try and stop Connors as The Lizard, looked a bit rushed and hokey; but they were cool.

I also thought the audio was a bit how shall I put it, soft, not muddy but not as crisp as I like it to be. the use of the LFE was good when it needed to be and was not over done like some recent action movies. The surround channels were well used and it felt like you were there.
I agree with some of what you state here; my findings had me thinking the LFE could have definitely been turned up a few notches. I have been finding this "soft, not that crisp or punchy" phenomenon with regard to the DTS-HD MA audio on most titles released today, and I just don't understand it: The last great MA mix I really experienced was on Paramount's Iron Man 2, wherein the LFE was tight and explosive, the dynamics of the mix were hot and the overall track was just engaging. Titles that subsequently followed -- Thor, Captain America, Avengers and now this -- have not been wowing me in comparison. And, as I pointed out, I thought the Dolby TrueHD track -- and perhaps the Uncompressed PCM mix on the same disc -- of Spider-Man 3 kicked some serious tail compared to the mix on this reboot's release. :bigsmile:
 

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Re: THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN TARGET EXCLUSIVE BLU-RAY (2D)+DVD+ULTRAVIOLET (Sony/Marvel)

Titles that subsequently followed -- Thor, Captain America, Avengers and now this -- have not been wowing me in comparison. And, as I pointed out, I thought the Dolby TrueHD track -- and perhaps the Uncompressed PCM mix on the same disc -- of Spider-Man 3 kicked compared to the mix on this reboot's release. :bigsmile:
This seems a bit off but again, different folks have different tastes and expectations. I have no issue with any of the movies you mention above, although I have seen in this fine forum that a good number of gents thought the Avengers needed a bit of a boost, especially in the forest battle royale scene. I guess I am an easier target and feel that if my room moves and my heart skips a beat every now and then, all is well. My wife is even easier, she says if her butt vibrates in the chair, she is happy. I guess that makes me a successful husband eh ?? Actually Thor, imo had some stunning bottom end that about made me look like the Maxell man in the magazine adds.

Further, I really have no preference between True Dolby HD and DTS HS Master, they both work well in my room and seem interchangeable.
 

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Re: THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN TARGET EXCLUSIVE BLU-RAY (2D)+DVD+ULTRAVIOLET (Sony/Marvel)

Thanks for the reply Osage, I did find Spidey 2 the best of the series with this newest being the second best, imo of course.
Hey Jack!

I agree that Spider-Man 2 was the best of all of these, and I often argue the fact that it was probably the absolute best comic-to-screen adaptation ever made...if you watch, closely, the fight sequences between Alfred Molina's Doc Ock and Tobey Maguire's Spider-Man -- even their dialogue bantering -- you realize Raimi pretty much brought these guys right off the pages of the books. It was fantastic; the battle on the clock tower, which spills onto the subway train, and then the final battle at the docks where Ock is remaking his machine were all edge-of-your-seat nail-biting in tension and action.

However, I feel the original Spider-Man was still better than this reboot; Willem Dafoe as Norman Osborn was fantastic I thought, and his Green Goblin was an extremely menacing foe for Parker. That end sequence in the original film in which Goblin beats Spidey nearly to death, only to make our web-slinging hero angry enough to turn the tables and beat the Yoo-Hoo out of him, was some of the best hand-to-hand combat sequencing I've ever seen in a comic adaptation.

It's going to be interesting to see who gets to play Osborn in the coming sequels, as he is a big part of the story and the Oscorp connection; I'm also anxious to see if anyone will out-do JK Simmons as Peter's newspaper editor at the Daily Bugle.

As far as video, yes it was a purchase BR disc and I saw no real issues that I would not expect, in other words everything that I saw looked to fit what was happening on the screen. On many films, going back to Doris Day there is a softening of image during some ECU's so that we did not see any skin or pore defects. This is a normal part of film, always has been and always will be.
Well, let me say this -- there were moments of this BD's transfer that DID exhibit eye-popping detail in terms of facial close-ups and such...the sequence in which Norman Osborn's assistant visits Connors in his office to rush him on finding a cure for the dying Osborn exhibits jaw-dropping detail in terms of the assistant's face...so much so, my wife continuously commented on how fake he looked during that scene. I don't know if this was, specifically, a matter of "fixing up" some areas so no skin imperfections were seen as you suggest, but merely a matter of something being tinkered with in the camera filming process that created these soft images -- as I said, we saw this on Warner Bros.' Superman Returns in all versions of that title, be it DVD, HD DVD or Blu-ray, in which the film looked ridiculously soft and lacking punch, yet this was the result of digital filming manipulation -- but I did find that not all scenes were devoid of this extreme facial detail.


The one thing I did notice it that they never hid or softened up the interface between CGI and real life. Someone took great pride in making these things work and not look phony. I enjoyed it and even grain, a natural part of using film in dark spaces was minimal at best.
Yes, grain is an inherent structure of film, rearing its head in difficult-to-shoot places like dark areas, as you point out; however, it must have been, ultimately, my sharpness level on my display because I didn't really detect even mild levels of any film grain.

Sonically, I had no expectations so everything I heard was fine. I dont judge on movie based on the bottome end of another one. I take them all on their own. In musical terms it would be like putting the bottom end of "I want to hold your hand" a fine recording in and of itself by the Beatles against, the Taj Mahal, Strong Man Holler cut on his Maestro CD. One has bass for days the other seems much more in line with reality. Which one is right ? I go with the Beatles. Does this make sense ??
I see what you're saying; yet as a reviewer, I have to explain what I found, why I found it and if I had any expectations (I always do, as an audio junkie!)...and my opinions of the tracks. This one didn't really knock me off my couch, and it seems, after doing some online research and talking with some lads I know in the field, many found the same thing about this DTS-HD MA mix. :huh:
 

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Re: THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN TARGET EXCLUSIVE BLU-RAY (2D)+DVD+ULTRAVIOLET (Sony/Marvel)

This seems a bit off but again, different folks have different tastes and expectations.
What seems off?

The titles I mentioned definitely weren't as "overcooked" as many fans had hoped for; Captain America in particular was on the very soft side in terms of audio; still, as you state, a good deal of all this is personal interpretation.

I have no issue with any of the movies you mention above, although I have seen in this fine forum that a good number of gents thought the Avengers needed a bit of a boost, especially in the forest battle royale scene.
Interesting you didn't have issues with the films I mentioned; with regard to Avengers, I mentioned the "something off" phenomenon in my own review here on this forum, though I didn't specifically single-out the fight scene you cite between Thor, Cap and Iron Man. I DID find some wall-rattling LFE on that track, something missing IMO from Amazing Spider-Man's BD release...

I guess I am an easier target and feel that if my room moves and my heart skips a beat every now and then, all is well. My wife is even easier, she says if her butt vibrates in the chair, she is happy. I guess that makes me a successful husband eh ??
Indeed...my wife HATES bass...:hissyfit: :unbelievable: :doh: :coocoo: :rolleyesno:

Actually Thor, imo had some stunning bottom end that about made me look like the Maxell man in the magazine adds.
LOL; yeah, Thor wasn't that bad on the LFE front -- in fact, now that I think about it, it indeed exhibited wall-rattling LFE that shook things on our walls like no tomorrow...what comes to mind is the sequence in which Anthony Hopkins smashes his scepter down in the temple where Thor is about to be christened king, and then a bit later on when Thor turns the banquet table upside down...these sequences were accompanied by sub-bottoming wallops of LFE...

Further, I really have no preference between True Dolby HD and DTS HS Master, they both work well in my room and seem interchangeable.
There's really little bandwidth here to get into the whole debacle concerning the comparisons between these two codecs -- and believe me, it can go on infinitely -- but I have actually found most TrueHD tracks to be a bit more aggressive, forward and bass-heavy than the DTS-HD MA tracks; of course, DTS-HD MA has become the kind of de-facto standard for Blu-ray releases, much like Dolby Digital was for DVD, and we don't really see many titles today coming with TrueHD mixes (the last one I sampled I believe was Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol) but I have been finding something just "missing" from the majority of DTS-HD MA tracks accompanying the titles as of late.
 

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Re: THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN TARGET EXCLUSIVE BLU-RAY (2D)+DVD+ULTRAVIOLET (Sony/Marvel)

What did you guys think of that mid-end credits sequence which hints at what is going to come in the next Spidey film? Who was that guy that comes to visit Connors in prison...is it Norman Osborn, and what was he talking about when he asked Connors if he has told Peter the "secret" about his father?

Also -- did anyone notice that yet again, a bit of dialogue that was hinted at in the film's trailers wasn't in the final cut? Remember when Connors says "If you want the truth, Peter...come and get it" in the trailer? This wasn't spoken in the final version; I found that a bit disappointing, as it would have seemingly made the Connors character even more menacing...
 

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Re: THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN TARGET EXCLUSIVE BLU-RAY (2D)+DVD+ULTRAVIOLET (Sony/Marvel)

Interesting you didn't have issues with the films I mentioned; with regard to Avengers, I mentioned the "something off" phenomenon in my own review here on this forum, though I didn't specifically single-out the fight scene you cite between Thor, Cap and Iron Man. I DID find some wall-rattling LFE on that track, something missing IMO from Amazing Spider-Man's BD release...

Indeed...my wife HATES bass...:hissyfit: :unbelievable: :doh: :coocoo: :rolleyesno:
It seems a good number of women hate bass, I guess it is their exceptionally good hearing, not sure. I would think icky bits at the top end would be much worse on them.

Osage, being a student of film some years ago, I tend to look at the movie first and then the sound etc as an adjunct to the movie itself. I know I am an audio nut and I should be a bit more harsh on the individual components but I guess that is why you are the reviewer and I am not. I will say that I rarely go the the theater any longer as more often than not the crummy DLP projectors are so underwhelming it makes me ill. I like a good bright, well detailed image and the sound should then add to that image somehow and not take over my senses. The presentation has to work together and if something is out of whack then the whole presentation can take a turn for the worse. This is particularly true with the bottom end in movies. Most movie theaters are set up for volume and some bass, but....and I know I will get stomped on this..but not many theaters get the bass right. There is just too much space and the speakers by definition have to be able to project sound with a minimum of power into a largish hall. They also must be aware that the multiplex next door will also be playing a movie at the same time and cannot overwhelm the adjacent spaces with ultra low, ultra loud bass. It is a tough game to play.

At home however, all bets are off and we set up our rooms to fit our needs, wants and desires....so to speak. My room is set up for music first and foremost and obviously may not play as hard as most folks would want when it comes to block buster movies. Now do not get me wrong, IT CAN if I ask it to, I just usually dont. I want it clean, clear shocking and powerful but not to the point of discomfort. I have Martin Logans supplemented by 4 very good subs which allows me to move a great deal of air without having to have the volume dial set to 11. In practice, I turn it up until I start to feel it a bit loud and then back it off a couple DB. That way with the wide dynamic swings on todays BR discs I always stay in my comfort zone.

Keep on reviewing and let your thoughts be known, it makes for great conversation.
 

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Re: THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN TARGET EXCLUSIVE BLU-RAY (2D)+DVD+ULTRAVIOLET (Sony/Marvel)

I respect everything you mentioned, Jack. I totally appreciate that you are from the "film first" camp, which I definitely am when I sit down in a theater to watch a piece of cinema; at home, I'm always listening for every inuendo of the audio and looking for every bit of film grain even on my relatively small television display system. But I agree many theaters just don't get the bass -- and, most times, even the surround ambience cues -- right.

Thanks for the discussion! :T
 
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