Josh Wilding Reviews: THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN Blu-Ray (Film And Special Features)
The Amazing Spider-Man is released on DVD and Blu-ray in the UK on Monday 26th November and is available now in the US. You can read my spoiler-free verdict on both the film and special features after the jump! Check it out.
It's been a decade since Spider-Man first swung his way onto the big screen, so is it too soon for another origin story? Perhaps, but Marc Webb delivers a fresh spin on a familiar tale, with only a few déjà vu moments. Comparisons between The Amazing Spider-Man and Sam Raimi’s trilogy are of course inevitable, but it quickly becomes apparent that this is an altogether different take on the character. Here we have a Peter Parker who is haunted by the loss of his parents, and it is this which sets him on a collision course with Doctor Curt Connors (and eventually the Lizard). The main problem with the reboot is that there are just a few too many unanswered questions left over by the time the credits roll. Some of these make sense, but others will more than likely just leave you feeling frustrated. Regardless, we spend a lot of time with Peter Parker before he suits up as Spider-Man and get to know the character extremely well. His relationship with Uncle Ben is nicely developed, although the same can’t quite be said for Aunt May. Does she know he’s Spider-Man? If not, she must be incredibly naïve because Peter makes very little effort in hiding it from her. For everything the film does right, the screenplay can’t help but trip itself up with the odd minor few niggles such as these.
Andrew Garfield embodies Peter Parker and Spider-Man perfectly. The British actor comes close to doing for this character what Heath Ledger did for The Joker, and he brings a level of likeability to the character, delivering a wide range of emotions. Rhys Ifans is equally as impressive as Curt Connors and has no issues with portraying both the man of science and a genuinely scary and psychotic villain. It turns out that there is a lot more to him than what was shown in the trailers and TV spots, and the Lizard is a very fitting choice of villain who, like the Hulk, benefits from being a motion capture creation. Emma Stone is good as Gwen Stacy and like Ifans, she shares a great deal of chemistry with Garfield. Martin Sheen (Uncle Ben), Sally Field (Aunt May) and Denis Leary (Captain Stacy) all deliver solid performances, although Irfan Khan’s occasionally hard to understand Doctor Ratha is entirely forgettable and not quite effective enough as an antagonist, possibly because he vanishes halfway through the movie. Chris Zylka also surprises as Flash Thompson, with a couple of key scenes adding a lot of depth to a character who was previously portrayed so entirely unconvincingly.
Where The Amazing Spider-Man never falters is with the visuals. This is a stunning film in every respect and Marc Webb has truly brought these characters to life in the best possible way. Spider-Man looks as if he was torn straight out of the pages of the comics, and the suit is photographed beautifully by the director. The mixture of practical and special effects web-swinging is superb and blends together far more naturally than in the previous films. While The Lizard’s appearance has been a little controversial topic with some fans, he ends up looking absolutely fantastic, and the decision to use Ifans’ voice and likeness really pays off. However, it is the action sequences which are truly breathtaking, exciting and downright awe-inspiring. The battles between Spider-Man and the Lizard are like nothing we’ve ever seen in a comic book movie before, and are choreographed so perfectly and brutally, you will undoubtedly be on the edge of your seat throughout. It’s a shame that the much talked about point of view sequences end up being few and far between. While it's good that they never make the mistake of going over the top with them, anyone hoping for more than seconds of seeing through the eyes of Spider-Man might find themselves disappointed. The picture quality is top-notch, though no better than most releases, and it is for the most part just what we have all come to expect from the Blu-ray format. The sound is perhaps most impressive as the score and a lot of the dialogue seem to be a little crisper than in the theatrical release.
The Amazing Spider-Man may not be perfect, but that shouldn't put you off from seeing what is a solid and enjoyable fourth outing on the big screen for arguably the world’s greatest superhero. It’s a solid entry into the comic book movie genre, as well as a fresh and exciting new take on the character which will leave you eagerly anticipating the sequel (let is not forget that it also happens to include THE best Stan Lee cameo of all-time). James Horner's score is extremely effective, while Marc Webb brings with him a sampling of great tunes (as he did with the brilliant (500) Days of Summer). The film features realistic dialogue and some wonderful humour. It's frustrating then that despite all of this, Peter’s powers never seem to be that well explored. Despite a few sound effects, it’s never actually made abundantly clear whether or not he even has spider-sense. Regardless, it would be a great shame for Marc Webb to be blamed for shortcomings such as these, as he is the one who saves the film when it so occasionally stumbles. The visuals he brings to the screen are truly iconic (whether it’s Spider-Man’s many poses or an actual recreation of the image on the first teaser poster) and Webb not returning to helm the sequel would be a real shame.
A flawed but still fantastic Spider-Man movie which mostly delivers the faithful portrayal of the character fans have waited so long to see. Incredible acting, action and special effects make this a must-see!
The "Second Screen App" is perhaps the biggest draw when it comes to The Amazing Spider-Man's special features as iPad and Sony Tablet users can sling content from their handheld device to their television, including interviews, alternate takes and storyboards. However, it's the 90+ minutes long behind-the-scenes documentary which REALLY delivers the ultimate look at the creation of the movie, and while the stars of the film only occasionally pop up in the interviews here, there are plenty of fascinating sound bites from director Marc Webb (who shows time and time again why he was the right man for the job). These in-depth featurettes cover The Amazing Spider-Man's development, the casting, costumes, locations, stunts, visual effect, score and more, and there's really nothing which isn't covered here that you would want to know.
Of course, with some complaining about the odd few plot holes in the movie, it's the deleted scenes which many fans will most want to check out. They are all very good (with only one or two arguably not essential to the film - the different version of Uncle Ben's death is particularly interesting) and it's hard to understand why some of these were cut. The scene in the sewers with Peter, Connors and Ratha is a perfect example of this, but it's great that they are still all offered up here regardless of WHY they didn't make it into the final film. The Blu-ray also includes a ton of concept art, pre-visualisation sequences, stunt training and a superfluous featurette about The Amazing Spider-Man video game. Finally, there's a director's commentary with Marc Webb, Matt Tolmach and Avi Arad which is a nice addition for those who enjoy that type of thing - it's genuinely very interesting!
The disc is packed full of great featurettes and bonus content, making the Blu-ray an essential purchase for anyone who wants a truly in-depth behind-the-scenes experience.
The Amazing Spider-Man is the story of Peter Parker (Garfield), an outcast high schooler who was abandoned by his parents as a boy, leaving him to be raised by his Uncle Ben (Sheen) and Aunt May (Field). Like most teenagers, Peter is trying to figure out who he is and how he got to be the person he is today. Peter is also finding his way with his first high school crush, Gwen Stacy (Stone), and together, they struggle with love, commitment, and secrets. As Peter discovers a mysterious briefcase that belonged to his father, he begins a quest to understand his parents' disappearance - leading him directly to Oscorp and the lab of Dr Curt Connors (Ifans), his father's former partner. As Spider-Man is set on a collision course with Connors' alter-ego, The Lizard, Peter will make life-altering choices to use his powers and shape his destiny to become a hero.
Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker/Spider-Man
Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy
Rhys Ifans as Curt Connors/The Lizard
Martin Sheen as Uncle Ben
Sally Fields as Aunt May
Denis Leary as George Stacy
RELEASE DATE: Out Now.
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