The universal question: why on earth didn't they learn from Spider-Man 3?
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Blu-ray Review
Despite the questionable merits of such a swiftly embarked-upon reboot series, and the inescapable feeling of treading familiar territory, The Amazing Spider-Man largely overcame the odds to become the definitive interpretation of the witty teen web-slinger.The sequel follows suit, further embellishing Peter Parker’s backstory, his heritage, the mysterious death of his parents, and the up and down path of true love with his girlfriend, Gwen, which is especially fraught following the promise he made to her father to stay away from her in order to keep her out of danger.
In many ways it plays as a seamless extension of the first outing, developing the characters in natural directions, following the path laid out by the first story, and continuing, expanding and occasionally concluding some of the many sub-story-arcs that had already been established.
Certainly this sequel’s high points lie in these areas, and, in particular, at the hands of Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone, who have some of the best on-screen chemistry seen in years. They hold together the core of the movie; the witty dialogue between them is superb, and their interactions are charming, intoxicating, cute and frequently laugh-out-loud hilarious.The trouble comes when they attempt to inject multiple villains into the mix, a decision which has been proven ill-advised time and again, but which almost seems inevitable for superhero sequels these days.
Here, in particular, it seemed unavoidable, as to focus merely on the superior of the two villains – the Green Goblin – would have surely just drawn parallels with Raimi’s original 2002 Spiderman effort. Unfortunately, this leaves us with a solid villain being established in the background (Dane DeHaan’s Goblin), whilst an inferior one takes centre-stage to keep Spidey occupied (Jamie Foxx’s unnecessarily goofy Electro).
So, whilst the heart and soul is still present in this reboot saga, and whilst I can’t wait for things to come to a head in the next chapter, indecisiveness and compromise behind-the-scenes leave The Amazing Spider-Man 2 as a sporadically enjoyable but far from spectacular sequel.
What is The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Blu-ray Picture QualityThe Amazing Spider-Man 2 reaches UK shores complete with a largely demo-worthy Region FREE 3D Blu-ray release, which sports both the 1080p/MCV-encoded 3D High Definition video on one disc, and the 1080p/AVC-encoded 2D High Definition counterpart on a second disc, struck from a 4K Master. It only gets a ‘largely’ demo-worthy summary because, whilst the latter, 2D version promotes picture perfection, the 3D element is good but not quite demo material.
On the 3D side of things, there are undoubtedly some interesting effects-driven setpieces which allow the third dimension to take a more prominent stance in the proceedings, bringing to life everything from the plane-based flashback to the wild-with-glee webslinging and skyscraper-swinging; with the confrontations with Electro probably offering up the most noteworthy 3D shots. Slo-mo elements further highlight the roundedness of objects and, over the course of the entire movie, depth is quite pleasing and broad, allowing us a grander feel to the movie, although certainly not standing head-and-shoulders with the best 3D discs in this respect. Distance separation is occasionally quite impressive, and there is a nice immersive quality to this version of the movie.
Where the 3D is good, the 2D counterpart is perfect, as perhaps you’d only expect from a Mastered in 4K Sony release.
On the 2D front the image is impossible to fault, promoting wonderful detail and revealing absolutely no signs of any softness whatsoever. Fine object detail is impressive throughout, and skin textures, clothing weaves and background flourishes are rendered with immaculate clarity. There are no signs of any digital anomalies – no crush, edge enhancement, banding or blocking.
The colour scheme is broad and vibrant, as you would only expect from a comic book film – let alone a Spider-man movie – and we get plenty of primary usage despite the occasionally darker tone of the film, and dominance of night sequences. Black levels are strong and deep, allowing for very good shadow detail and, all in all, it’s a perfect 2D video presentation matched up to a very good 3D presentation.
How does The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Blu-ray SoundThe accompanying DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is equally impressive, and equally flawless; really top notch demo material here, with Sony adding another superior reference track to their litany of spectacular new blockbuster presentations.
Dialogue gets clear and coherent presentation throughout the proceedings, emanating from the fronts and centre channels, but, whilst it’s an important aspect of the movie, it’s the music and effects treatment that really pushes the limits of your home sound system, producing an all-engulfing effect which, coupled with the reference video, makes for one of the most absorbing AV experiences we’ve seen of late.
Sony add another superior reference track to their litany of spectacular new blockbuster presentations.
Effects are perfectly balanced between stomping, bombastic grand-scale noises, and quieter, more reflective ambient observations and whilst your sound system gets a greater workout through the former, it’s thanks to the latter that the atmosphere is maintained throughout the movie. The city streets come alive with bustling traffic and honking horns; wind and rain sweep over you; and the surge of electricity will raise the hairs on your arms. The many big battles provide supreme AV demo bait, yielding welcome LFE input in a far more prominent fashion to the rest, and the expectedly effective score offers up a decent accompaniment to the material. All in all, it doesn’t get much better than this.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Blu-rayExtrasOn the extras front there’s a pretty hefty package, headlined by an involved Writers/Producers Commentary which offers up some interesting detail into the production and story, as well as the changes made to ‘streamline’ what was – if you can believe it – an even broader first draft. A slew of Featurettes, under the subtitle of The Wages of Heroism, includes Lessons Learned: Development and Direction; Heart of the City: Shooting in New York; Triple Threat: Attack of the Villains; A More Dangerous World: Transforming Goblin and Electro; Bolt from the Blue: Visual Effects; Spidey Gets His Groove Back: Music and Editing. The selection covers almost every aspect of the production – and in-depth too – almost rivalling the main feature itself in terms of feature-length runtime. There are also 13 Deleted Scenes, offered up with Optional Commentary. A look at the Music and the Music Video, as well as some Previews, round off the disc.
Is The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Blu-ray Worth BuyingThere are some great ideas in this sequel, with the superior Gwen Stacy arc, and a seamless integration with the story from the first movie, but, unfortunately, due to the mistakes over choosing villains – and the sheer overpopulation of villains – the series is still desperately crying out for the right opponent to finally match up to the now-definitive Peter Parker / Spider-Man that has been so lovingly crafted over the last two movies.
A far from perfect sequel still has plenty to offer, and comes in a far closer to perfect 3D Blu-ray package.
Certainly, whilst the 3D is good, the Mastered in 4K 2D foundation is flawless, and the audio accompaniment is just as impressive. The disc sports a very good roster of extras too, making it easily a must-have no-brainer purchase for fans of the film, and probably an easy buy for those who enjoyed the first outing. It may not win over those who haven’t yet embraced this new franchise, and it may not be quite the sequel that fans wanted, but there’s still plenty to enjoy beyond the overpopulation of villains.
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