HTS Moderator , Reviewer
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=9734[/img]Title: The Amazing Spider-man
Starring: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Dennis Leary, Martin Sheen
Directed by: Marc Webb
Written by: James Vanderbilt, Alvin Sargenet
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1 AVC
Main Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HD MA
Studio: Sony Pictures
Runtime: 136 minutes
Blu-Ray Release Date: October 9th, 2012
HTS Overall Score:94
This has definitely been the year for Superhero movies. We have been regaled with mega blockbusters, such as “The Avengers” and “The Dark Knight Rises,” and, as luck would have it, Spidey rebooted and served up to us as “The Amazing Spiderman.” It seems to be a trend recently that reboots are coming faster and faster to the point of only having a few years between iterations before the next rendition is in order. Only five years ago, that the debacle known as Spiderman 3 played in your local Cineplex, and word on the street is that Batman is getting ANOTHER reboot in the next 3 years or so. I’m not sure whether this is a good thing or just the studios trying to have lightning strike twice in the same place financially. “The Amazing Spiderman” was originally going to be “Spiderman 4”, but when plans for that tanked, Sony was forced to go with a reboot or suffer the same fate of “The Punisher” series and have the rights revert back to Marvel Studios. When I originally heard that Spidey was getting a reboot and not going back to Marvel Studios, I winced in pain. I’m the EPITOMY of a Spiderman fanboy, and I was just DYING for the rights to revert back and have Marvel do the same magic that they did with the Avengers movies. As fates would have it, Sony slapped this one together and dashed those hopes to dust. As someone who had SERIOUS problems with the Sam Raimi take on Spiderman, I was just a tad worried about what would come out of this new reboot. I didn't think that they could do much worse than Tobey McGuire and Kirsten Dunst, but reboots when made out of desperation to keep the rights, as this one is, almost never turn out well. Luckily for us, “The Amazing Spiderman” turned those preconceptions on their ears and delivered a fantastic adaptation of the Spidey source material.
Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield), our classic hero, gets a new take on his back story. Instead of his parents dying when he was a child, leaving him with his surrogate parents Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen) and Aunt May (Sally Fields), they mysteriously leave in the middle of the night, entrusting his childhood with the aforementioned guardians. There is definitely some foreshadowing there for future movies, most likely to be brought back if “The Amazing Spiderman” grossed enough for sequels. The film then shoots forward over 10 years to Peter’s senior year of high school, where he stumbles upon his father's old leather briefcase in the basement of Uncle Ben’s house. After studying the briefcase, Peter finds out that his father had a partner at Oscorp, one Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans). Compelled to look up Dr. Connors, Peter sneaks in to a private intern field trip over at Oscorp, being the science aficionado that he is; alas, in his urgency to find Dr. Connors, he deviates from the tour only to end up in an experimental lab that is working on genetically engineered spiders. As per the lore, Peter gets bit by one of those spiders and wakes up having gained incredible strength, flexibility, and the ability to climb walls. As Peter tries out his new powers, he gains an understandable amount of cockiness and lack of humility. That same arrogance mixed with teenage angst inadvertently gets his Uncle Ben killed. Wallowing in grief and anger, Peter starts hunting down the man that killed his uncle, developing his trademark costume and webbing along the way. That, however, takes a side seat after Curt Connors, with some help from Peter, develops a serum using cross species genetic modification that will allow him to re-grow his severed arm. While the Serum works and miraculously starts to regrow the arm, it has some unforeseen side effects: instead of just having the ability of a lizard to regrow one’s own limbs, Dr. Connors takes on the aggressive tendencies and form of a giant lizard. The lizard DNA starts to take over Dr. Connors' mind, turning him completely primal, and he wrecks havoc on New York City. Now Peter, with the help of his sweetheart Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone), has to evade the aggressive New York Police Chief Stacy (Dennis Leary), learn to control his powers, navigate his relationship with Gwen, AND take down a giant lizard all while keeping his high school grades up.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=9738[/img]I’ve got to tell you, I’m the epitome of a Spiderman fanboy. I grew up reading “The Amazing Spiderman,” “The Fantastic Spiderman,” “Ultimate Spiderman,” and even the highly underrated “Spiderman 2099.” I can tell you every villain, every plot line and every crossover; I can dissect them like a frog. As a result, I was only mildly entertained with Sam Raimi’s “Spiderman.” I actually LOATHED “Spiderman 2” and pulled a Darth Vader NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO when the abomination known as “Spiderman 3 came out. I understand that some creative license must be made when adapting comics and books to film, but I just could not justify the character butcheries that happened in the Raimi trilogy. Tobey McGuire and Kirsten Dunst were hopelessly miscast, and the villains, such as Doc Ock, were completely trashed and given a remake so that we could “connect” with them. My wife actually had to calm me down in the theaters for “Spiderman 3” because I was muttering under my breath constantly during the film, just picking it apart. However, “The Amazing Spiderman” totally floored me. It takes elements of “Ultimate Spiderman” and blends them with “The Amazing Spiderman” back story, then throws in the very first episode of the 90’s animated Spiderman for good measure; we are given a totally unique throwback to the Spiderman of old. “The Amazing Spiderman” doesn't try to reinvent the wheel, or make a wildly dark take on the superhero genre, but rather, it does what a comic book story does best - entertain us. There are some minor plot holes, and Peter Parker tends to wear more hair gel and skinny pants than I remember Peter wearing , but overall the movie is absolutely fantastic, blending a stunning set of visual effects and a compelling story (with much less angst than Raimi’s adaptation), leaving us a story that the whole family can enjoy. While the story is light and engaging, it’s really the characters that bring this to life. Peter is no longer just a nerdy boy with a slightly less nerdy alter ego. Instead, we have the science nerd in Peter, but with the mask on, he transforms into the brutally sarcastic yet lovable superhero that I grew up watching. Emma Stone is fantastic as the tragic Gwen Stacy (if they keep true to the source), and the chemistry between the two of them raised the movie from good to great. While Tobey and Kirsten struggled to keep any chemistry alive between the two of them, Andrew and Emma were literally sizzling with it. They managed to keep a sweet, yet lively relationship that didn't overshadow the actual plot of the movie. While Mary Jane is usually considered the quintessential romance in Peter Parker’s life, Gwen is historically one of THE most important love interests that molds him into the Spiderman that he is to become in the future. Overall, I give this reboot a wild thumbs up.
Rated PG-13 for sequences of action and violence
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=9737[/img]Sony has regaled us with an absolutely breathtaking 2.40:1 AVC encode for “The Amazing Spiderman.” Shot digitally, we are privy to one of the best transfers that I've seen since “The Avengers.” Artifacts are completely absent from the film - no digital noise to distract us, or banding to annoy. I looked long and hard to find some sort of flaw, but I honestly couldn't find any. Colors are rich and clear, not overly garish; the color palette can be a bit muted at times, but still clean. Detail is absolutely stunning, from the individual pores in Emma Stone’s face to the intricate and detailed Spidey suit; you can see every line, every crease and every stitch in the material. Blacks are deep and inky, and shadows are exquisite. The film can be very dark at times, but always clear and crisp. Nothing is lost to crushed blacks or an overly dark experience. Flesh tones are accurate and pleasing to the eye. The CGI for the Lizard is probably the only “flaw” I can think of in the picture being that it doesn't feel “seamless.”
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=9735[/img]Not to be left behind, the audio is about as close to sonic perfection as you can get. As with most superhero movies, we are enveloped by a wildly aggressive track that literally sucks you into the middle of the action. Dialogue is, of course, crisp and clear, centered in middle of the front channels and balanced just right with the effects. No need to turn the volume up and down; the dynamic range stayed well within reasonable ranges. The surrounds - oh my goodness - the surround usage was incredible! A track that can utilize all 5.1 channels seamlessly is a track that can totally immerse the viewer into the storyline. From Spiderman flying through the air to bullets whizzing past, I felt like I was in the middle of an aural hurricane. Audio affects switch seamlessly between channels, and the music is reproduced excellently. James Horner can create a very memorable score, and this is one of his better ones. The action scenes really shine here, explosions going off all around, webbing shooting from every direction, and bullets ripping up the soundscape. My only small complaint that draws this down from complete perfection is the LFE. While the LFE is clean and accurate, it feels just a little bit “lacking” at times. The LFE is deep and low, accurately reproduced, but you are left with this nagging feeling that they could have done more with it. The Lizard crashing through a wall lacks that “umphh” that would make it go from “oh my, that’s awesome” to “WOW.”
• Director's Commentary
• Second Screen Experience
• Rite of Passage: "The Amazing Spider-Man" Reborn
• The Oscorp Archives Production Art Gallery
• Image Progression Reels
• Stunt Rehearsals
• Developing "The Amazing Spider-Man" Video Game
“The Amazing Spiderman” was a movie that worked not only as a superhero film, but as an excellent character driven drama. Spiderman has needed to be redone right for quite some time, and I’m ecstatic that director Marc Webb (I know, the irony of the name isn't lost on me) did such a fantastic job converting the source material from paper to film. Spiderman will always hold a special place in my heart, and I love it when a director can connect with the original feel and tone of a comic so well without turning it into a farce or making it “gritty.” The movie works, and works well, on all levels. Add the fantastic video and audio score to the mix, along with a hefty array of in depth extras, and this is a disc that should be adorning EVERY superhero lover's shelf. This is a movie that I raise from my usual enthusiastic “Watch it!!” to BUY IT!!!
Buy The Amazing Spiderman on Blu-ray at Amazon
Recommendation: Buy It!