Release Date(s)2012/2014 (June 13, 2017)
Studio(s)Columbia Pictures/Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
- Film/Program Grade: See Below
- Video Grade: See Below
- Audio Grade: See Below
- Extras Grade: A
- Overall Grade: A-
Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy originally came to a close in 2007 after he exited the series due to creative conflicts between he and the powers that be. Sony Pictures, however, quickly got together a brand new team of actors and filmmakers (headed up by director Marc Webb and producers Avi Arad and Matt Tolmach) to assemble a new incarnation of the character. The idea of rebooting the Spider-Man series so quickly was a controversial choice for many at the time, but in 2012, The Amazing Spider-Man premiered, followed soon after by its sequel two years later. Although both films were financially successful, they weren’t well-received by comic book fans or critics, and on top of all of the other problems going on behind the scenes at Sony, the films were hastily abandoned.
When I wrote my original review of The Amazing Spider-Man when it hit Blu-ray in 2012, I fully admit that I didn’t find it to be as terrible as I was expecting it to be. I attempted to judge it on its own terms and give it a fair and honest write-up, and the truth is, I found it to be a competently-made film. Upon reflection, I couldn’t remember all that much if anything about it. The same goes for its sequel, which I didn’t review, but both films were so unremarkable that re-examining them now only made it that much clearer. I couldn’t recall much of the plot or dialogue exchanges, let alone the fact that the first film is in fact a reworking of the Spider-Man origin story... sort of. The problems that I perceived initially were still present and still stuck out like a sore thumb. So while I’m not exactly consistent in my overall reaction to these films, at least some of my primary concerns with them still are.
With Spider-Man: Homecoming now being lauded as the finest incarnation of the character in movie form, I find myself wanting to place The Amazing Spider-Man 1 and 2 in the same sort of league as Batman Forever and Batman & Robin (just for comparison’s sake, neither film is as bad as Batman & Robin... few are). Both films are the black sheep of their franchise, more or less, in that they’re liked the least of any of its entries. Although there were some talented people in front of and behind the camera, the results feel overly formulaic and, frankly, unnecessary. They’re also middle of the road territory with little more to them than flashy imagery, yet lackluster stories and empty performances.
As for each film’s video quality in this new 2-Movie Limited Edition Collection Blu-ray release, there’s not much to say. Both films look spectacular as they appear to be sourced from the same previous 4K masters. Detail and texturing are solid, colors are bright and varied, blacks are deep with amazing shadow detail, and contrast and brightness levels are perfect. And despite the number of extras included on each disc, I didn’t notice any major compression issues at all. Both films also feature the same audio options: English 5.1 DTS-HD and French, German, Japanese, and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital. Again, like the video portion, there’s nothing to really complain about. These are dynamite audio presentations with crystal clear dialogue, strong fidelity, frequent speaker to speaker activity, powerful score and sound effects, numerous ambient moments, and plenty of robust LFE. In short, each film is given a beautiful A/V presentation, which is unsurprising coming from Sony who is one of the best at vaulting their films at high quality. As for subtitle options, both films include them in English, English SDH, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Norwegian, Portuguese (Brazilian), Portuguese, Romanian, Spanish (Castilian), Spanish (Latin American), Swedish, and Turkish.
THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (FILM/VIDEO/AUDIO): C+/A+/A+
THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 (FILM/VIDEO/AUDIO): C-/A+/A+
Like the Spider-Man: Limited Edition Collection, this is also a bounty of material that attempts collect and archive everything from every previous Blu-ray release of the film. And aside from a couple of notable omissions, this is a very comprehensive set of bonus materials. On Disc One, which contains The Amazing Spider-Man, there’s an audio commentary with director Marc Webb and producers Avi Arad & Matt Tolmach; an Enter the Lizard featurette (previously a Wal-mart exclusive); Defying Gravity: Spider-Man’s Amazing Stunts featurette; A Hero Will Rise featurette (previously a Target exclusive); 11 deleted scenes with a Play All option (A Different Fate, Connors’ Condolences, Tracking Connors, Hacking Connors, Going Away, Top to Bottom – Part 1, Top to Bottom – Part 2, Bad Lizard, Help Me, All the Power You Feel, Lost Something); a set of Image Progression Reels, 4 in all with a Play All option (High School Fight Sequence, Iconic Poses and Digital Environments, The Lizard Emerges, Sewer Battle); an Exclusive Look Behind the Scenes of The Amazing Spider-Man promotional featurette; 3 theatrical trailers; and the trailer for Spider-Man: Homecoming, which also opens both discs. On Disc Two, which contains The Amazing Spider-Man 2, there’s an audio commentary with writers Alex Kurtzman & Jeff Pinkner and producers Matt Tolmach & Avi Arad; a set of 13 deleted and alternate scenes with optional audio commentary by Marc Webb, as well as a Play All option (Peter Meets His Father, Cockpit Discovery, Flash Forward, Max’s Mother, Mayhem in the Morgue, Missing Each Other, Peter Visits Harry, Oxford Acceptance, Is Peter Home?, Chasing Gwen, Birth of the Goblin, Felicia Sees Her Boss, Goblin Kills Menken); the Alicia Keys “It’s On Again” music video; 4 theatrical trailers; and again, the Spider-Man: Homecoming theatrical trailer (overkill much there, Sony?).
On the Bonus Disc (Disc Three), you’ll find an archive of various materials, most of it relating to Charles de Lauzirika’s extensive documentaries. These extras also come with optional subtitles in English, English SDH, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, and Spanish. The only new material here is the featurette The Stan Lee Legacy: From Comic Book to Homecoming (which can also be found on the Spider-Man: Limited Edition Collection Blu-ray set). Everything else is found under The Amazing Spider-Man 1 & 2 Special Features. Under The Amazing Spider-Man, there’s the Rite of Passage: The Amazing Spider-Man Reborn documentary in 7 parts with a Play All option (The Drawing Board: Development and Direction, Friends and Enemies: Casting, Second Skins: Spidey Suit and the Lizard, Spidey Goes West: Production – Los Angeles, Safe Haven: Production – Sony Studios, Bright Tights, Big City: Production – New York, The Greatest Responsibility: Post Production and Release); A Rooftop View: Spider-Man’s Thrilling Perspective featurette; Stunt Rehearsals, 8 segments in all with a Play All option (Subway, Testing Powers, Alley Fight, Escape Under Bridge, Sewer Fight, Spidey vs. Lizard, Lizard Attacks Swat, Swat Attacks Spidey); Pre-Visualization videos, 16 in all with a Play All option (Revised Opening Sequence, Spider Room, The Subway, Birth of Spider-Man, Handstand, Roof Top POV, Overpass, Bridge, Love Swing, Lizard Sewer, High School, Lizard Ambush, Standoff, Crane, Oscorp Lab, Oscorp Finale); and finally, The Oscorp Archives Production Art Gallery (Spider-Man, The Lizard, Environments). Under The Amazing Spider-Man 2, there’s A Hero’s Destiny: Behind the Amazing Spider-Man 2 promotional featurette; The Wages of Heroism: Making The Amazing Spider-Man 2 documentary in 6 parts with a Play All option (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 Something Sinister This Way Comes featurette, which was previously as a Steelbook exclusive; and 7 separate additional featurettes (Electro Suit Mechanics, Your Friendly Eco-Friendly Spider-Man, Spider-Man in Action, Location: NYC, Gwen and Peter, Electro vs. Spider-Man, The Music of Amazing Spider-Man 2 with Director Marc Webb). It’s also worth nothing that this a Blu-book release with 30 pages of essays on both films.
Obviously, the most glaring omission in this release are the 3D versions of both films. And while The Amazing Spider-Man 2’s previous extras are all present and accounted for, there are a few minor ones missing from the previous The Amazing Spider-Man Blu-ray and Blu-ray 3D releases. This includes the Second-Screen Experience option, which also featured a short featurette to explain it; a 3D 101 With Director Marc Webb featurette; an Iconic Poses and Digital Environments: 3D Image Progression Reel featurette; and a Developing The Amazing Spider-Man Video Game featurette. Granted, the video game portion doesn’t mean much, but it would have been nice to have had a more complete package. Also not included with any of this material is much of the film’s marketing campaign outside of its trailers (TV spots, posters, etc.). If you already own any of the previous releases and you’re a die-hard fan of the series, you may want to consider hanging onto them for those missing extra bits. When all is said and done, The Amazing Spider-Man: 2-Movie Limited Edition Collection is still a nice package, and is probably the most authoritative release of the two films to date. With terrific A/V quality and a boatload of extras, you can’t really go wrong.
- Tim Salmons