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The Amazing Spider-Man(2012)
Teenage social outcast Peter Parker spends his days trying to unravel the mystery of his own past and winning the heart of his high school crush, Gwen Stacy. Peter discovers a mysterious briefcase belonging to his father, who abandoned him when he was a child, which leads him to his dad's former partner, Dr. Curtis Connors. The discovery of his father's secret will ultimately shape his destiny of becoming "Spider-Man" and brings him face to face with Connors, who becomes the vicious and vengeful Lizard.
For more about The Amazing Spider-Man and the The Amazing Spider-Man Blu-ray release, see the The Amazing Spider-Man Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on October 24, 2012 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.5 out of 5.
Director: Marc Webb
Writers: James Vanderbilt, Alvin Sargent, Steve Kloves, Stan Lee, Steve Ditko
Starring: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans, Denis Leary, Martin Sheen, Sally Field
» See full cast & crew
The Amazing Spider-Man Blu-ray Review
Sony's latest Blu-ray entangles viewers in a web of high definition greatness.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, October 24, 2012
If anyone's destined for greatness, it's you.
Movie studios seem to be pushing up the timetable for remakes and re-imaginings to years, not decades. What was once something rare has become something commonplace has become something movie fans simply expect. Uproar over the ruining of various films has given way to begrudging acceptance of the new norm, which has itself given way to anticipation if the movie promises big things and new ideas, improving on older material and not simply cashing in on a name. Perhaps this new wave should be called "Revampings" (cooler than "Reboot," with the whole bloodsucker "vamp" angle; it sort of fits the Hollywood mold of sucking viewers dry of their cash, does it not?) rather than "Remakes" or "Re-Imaginings." Probably the most notable of the new "Revamps," before now, was The Incredible Hulk, a movie released a mere five years after the disappointing Hulk and, indeed, upping the ante considerably, making amends for Director Ang Lee's admirable but shaky effort with a crazy-good Superhero movie on the way to The Avengers (which, oddly enough, starred a third actor in as many movies playing the not-so-jolly green giant). What Marvel and Sony have done with the Spider-Man franchise, however, seems even more radical. The trio of Tobey Maguire-starring web-slingers grossed a combined $2.5 billion (yes, with a "B") from 2002 through 2007, give or take a few million. The movies were largely well-received by critics and embraced by fans. It seemed like a franchise that could do no wrong, or at worst only a little wrong (everyone remembers Tobey's sigh-inspiring song-and-dance routine from Spider-Man 3). But when plans for a fourth installment fell through, and with Spider-Man and Superhero flicks still as popular as ever, the decision was made to revamp (see?) the franchise, take it in a slightly new direction with new talent, and rake in the money for a brand-new trilogy of films. Hence The Amazing Spider-Man was born, a critical success that, even with more costly 3D showings, failed to beat out any of the Sam Raimi/Tobey Maguire films in box office returns. The good news, however, is that The Amazing Spider-Man is, well, pretty amazing, a movie that gets off to a very slow start but picks up considerable steam once Peter Parker polishes his powers.
A young Peter Parker (Max Charles) is forced from his home when his father finds his study ransacked. He's left to live with his aunt May (Sally Field) and his uncle Ben (Martin Sheen). His parents never return for him. Years pass, and Peter (Andrew Garfield) is now something of a nerdy high schooler. He's an expert photographer and a science and technology wizard, but he's an easy target for bullies -- including jock "Flash" Thompson (Chris Zylka) -- and uncomfortable around the fairer sex. He does, however, have his eye on Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone), a beautiful classmate who works as an intern at Oscorp. When Peter's uncle's basement floods, the family races to save its valuables. Peter uncovers his father's old satchel and finds inside of it a complex algorithm which leads him to Oscorp and Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans), a research scientist with a missing right arm who's working on a process to regrow human tissue, mimicking the unique abilities of the reptile family. Peter impresses Connors with his extensive knowledge that seems to rival -- and maybe surpass -- the doctor's own. On a stealth visit to the facility, Peter is accidentally bitten by a spider housed inside a restricted area. He suddenly gains impressive powers he cannot initially control, such as super strength and a greatly enhanced grip. When tragedy befalls his family, Peter embraces his powers, fashions a suit, harnesses the technological power of a strong spider web-like "biocable" material, and transforms himself into a masked vigilante, calling himself "Spider-Man." As his relationship with Gwen blossoms, he becomes aware of a terrible secret and dangerous research that could lead Dr. Connors down a darkened path, leaving him in an altered physical state and possibly spelling doom for the entire city.
The Amazing Spider-Man tells the same core tale with which comic book and movie fans are already intimately familiar, that of the origins of Spider-Man and how his personal history, intelligence, humanity, and those closest to him all shape his destiny. The good news is that doesn't mean the movie brings nothing new to the table. Along with a new cast, a different director, and some good old 2012 movie polish, The Amazing Spider-Man creates a new feel for the franchise, not so much dazzling with high-flying adventure and huge action scenes -- those certainly remain an integral, important, entertaining, and necessary part -- but rather creating a deeper human element that's more fully realized here, that doesn't take a back seat to special effects but rather guides the movie from beginning to end, defining the action rather than vice- versa. The picture dabbles in deep and dark elements alike, notably in the idea of loss and how man copes with his past and tragedy and how he perceives the future and makes use of hope, hope in all forms: scientific, physical, and emotional. It's a film about the responsibilities of power, which has always been the central theme of Spider-Man but told here with less of a contrast and more of a fuzziness, a greater sense of the abstract, where heroes and villains are distanced not in black and white terms or even, really, shades of gray, but rather slight departures in thought processes that blossom into greater differences manifest in the physical and only then yielding the film's big action moments. The movie's grasp of human nuance, psychology, and the innate goodness of man, combined with themes centered on the ease with which good intentions can yield terrible consequences, all make The Amazing Spider-Man a rousing success, but of course the movie requires polish and skill in the shaping of its action and visual effects to truly become a Superhero movie epic.
No surprise, The Amazing Spider-Man accomplishes both with a seamlessness and excitement befitting a major Superhero blockbuster. The film's second and third acts present audiences with a myriad of top-tier visual effects and amazing stunts that are largely simple but highly effective, whether Peter Parker learning of and playing with his newfound powers on the basketball court, taking out some longstanding frustrations on an old bully, or out in the world subduing the criminal element while still finding his stride, polishing his technique, and harnessing the full potential of his powers. Audiences will believe in Spider-Man's abilities to sling across buildings much as they believed in Superman's ability to fly. Certainly there's nothing so cutting edge, dazzling, classic, or memorable to these visuals, but the raw seamlessness with which Spider-Man maneuvers up around buildings and over roof tops will impress viewers at the very least with how well it's all integrated into the film, how effortlessly it's utilized and not made a gimmick to draw attention away from dramatic shortcomings which, here, largely don't exist. Perhaps the film's single most disappointing element comes in the rather cartoonish Lizard special effects. The creature looks fine but moves a hair awkwardly and doesn't quite find that sense of real life and buried humanity in its eyes. It's a serviceable digital villain but, to be sure, the film's nemesis is rightly built and developed more on human and emotional levels than it is on a purely digital one, which makes the slightly inorganic computer effect a little easier to swallow.
If there's one other thing to potentially dislike about The Amazing Spider-Man, it's the film's slow and terribly stale open. Granted, a film of this sort requires a trudging through the backstory motions, but it's not so much the character development as it is the generic way the film goes about it. It presents the same old "bullied teen" and "geeky nerd" angles to a monotonous fault. There's no spirit to the film's first act, no sense of awe or magic, but perhaps a somewhat more downplayed beginning actually, in a way, helps the film by making its lead character so nondescript that his elevation to superhero becomes all the more magical and dramatically satisfying. If nothing else that's a good theory to embrace, because without some sort of purpose the film's first fifty or so minutes are something of a lethargic drag. The good news is that afterward, The Amazing Spider-Man rocks. The movies does very well in intermixing all the keys to blockbuster cinema success, combining humor and action, serious drama and heart very well. The cast is excellent, too. Andrew Garfield is surprisingly effective as Peter and Spider-Man both, a bit more mature than Tobey Maguire but not completely absent a childlike sense of wonder. The movie's slightly more serious tone aids his performance considerably. Director Marc Webb ((500) Days of Summer) humanizes the character so well and films him so exactly that even through the mask he and Garfield find a humanity in the darkened eyes, the postures, and the poses. Garfield rounds the character very well from lackadaisical beginning to rousing end, supported by an excellent performance from Emma Stone as the likable girl- next-door love interest who, of course, just so happens to be the daughter of Spider-Man's biggest 100% human nemesis played by Dennis Leary, making for an unoriginal but dramatically effective battle of wits and physical confrontation on the streets. Rhys Ifans digs deep inside his character and gives his Dr. Connors the life and vitality the digital lizard cannot, shaping his villain as more menacing in the flesh and through the mind than the larger-than-life altered lizard state.
The Amazing Spider-Man Blu-ray, Video Quality
The Amazing Spider-Man features a flawless 1080p transfer. The digital photography never features that glossy sheen, instead presenting crisp, rock-solid imagery that's superbly defined from top to bottom. The image is naturally detailed, very sharp, and nuanced in the tightest of shots. General attributes such as facial and clothing details completely satisfy, and the image picks up the intricacies of cityscape elements with ease, clearly showcasing the tactile craftsmanship down on the ground and up high even as Spider-Man swings from location to location. The image truly dazzles in the tightest close-up shots, revealing the smallest ridges and intimate details of the Spider-Man costume with astonishing accuracy and efficiency. Colors, on the other hand, aren't blindingly brilliant. In fact, one might even call the image slightly dim, but the palette is steady and offers the brightest and dullest shades alike with the same natural efficiency throughout the film. Black levels are superb; nighttime exteriors are brilliantly captured, with deep, accurate blacks and perfect shadow detail all around. Flesh tones are consistently true-to-life as well. The digital image features no negative anomalies; banding, noise, blockiness, and other unwanted attributes are completely absent from the picture. Though not always breathlessly beautiful, this is a rock-solid, all-around technically perfect transfer from Sony.
The Amazing Spider-Man Blu-ray, Audio Quality
The Amazing Spider-Man's DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless soundtrack is every bit the sort of thrilling Superhero movie sound experience listeners demand. The track places precision elements all over the stage, creating a seamless and real-world sound environment with perfect clarity. From small effects like a swinging, squeaky door to drenching rains and booming thunder, the track offers every element with the sort of natural reproduction reserved for the best of the best high definition tracks. More impressive is the seamless sense of space; Sony's soundtrack paints a vivid sonic picture of every environment, completely immersing listeners into the school hallway, the Oscorp labs, and the busy city streets. Directional effects move seamlessly from one channel to the next, and precision sound placement anywhere in the stage is amongst this track's specialties. Music plays with a faultless tone, reproducing James Horner's high quality score with the sort of lifelike realism that defines lossless audio at its best. Action scenes are powerful and incorporate the best elements described above. Sound swooshes about the listening area and does so seamlessly. Various action effects are aggressive and clear, precisely placed and naturally immersive. Bass is potent and hits hard but not so hard as to distract. Instead, the low end is a completing element that brings real life and heft to the proceedings. Dialogue is firm and absolutely clear, remaining focused in the middle except as dictated by environment. This is a stellar soundtrack. That should come as no surprise given all the factors -- big blockbuster new release, Sony title -- but it's still a pleasure to hear from start to finish.
The Amazing Spider-Man Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
The Amazing Spider-Man contains an exhaustive assortment of extra content, headlined by an audio commentary track and a lengthy making-of documentary that runs nearly the length of the film. Also included is an assortment of deleted scenes, digital effects featurettes, and more. This set also includes DVD and Ultraviolet copies.
Disc Two: (Special features available with optional English, Chinese Traditional, Czech, Dutch, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Korean, Polish, Portuguese [Brazil], Portuguese [Portugal], Russian, Spanish, Thai, and Turkish subtitles).
The Amazing Spider-Man Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
The Amazing Spider-Man works on every level. It's not just a "cool new movie" but also a rather deep character study and human drama mixed together with polished action and fine visual effects. The movie is a little slow out of the gate and the digital monster doesn't look seamlessly fantastic, but otherwise this is a real winner, a superb picture and an excellent movie revamp of a franchise that, perhaps, didn't scream out as needing a second look but that definitely benefits from it. Director Marc Webb's slightly more human take on the series works very well, as does the ensemble cast that largely beats out the primaries from the earlier films. Overall, The Amazing Spider-Man is a winner and one of the best of the recent crop of Superhero movies. Sony's 2D-only Blu-ray release of The Amazing Spider-Man features picture-perfect video and faultless lossless audio. A large array of extras are included. Very highly recommended.
The Amazing Spider-Man: Other Editions
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The Amazing Spider-Man Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Blu-ray Sales, November 5-11: Spider-Man Swings to Number One - November 14, 2012
For the week ending on November 11th, Sony Pictures' The Amazing Spider-Man topped the Blu-ray-only and overall package media charts. Director Marc Webb's reboot of the blockbuster Spider-Man franchise made a huge sales impression in just a few days; it streeted ...
• This Week on Blu-ray: November 13-20 - November 11, 2012
When talking about this week's notable Blu-ray releases, we need to go back to November 9th; Sony released The Amazing Spider-Man, the rebooted beginning to the Spider-Man franchise. The worst thing anyone can say about the new film is how similar its setup is ...
• The Amazing Spider-Man Blu-ray - September 4, 2012
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has officially announced and detailed its upcoming releases of Marc Webb's The Amazing Spider-Man. Currently, Amazon has listed for pre-order a standard 2D release, a 3-disc Combo 2D set with DVD and UV Digital Copy, a 4-disc 3D ...
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