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Amazing Spider-Man, The (3D Blu-ray Review)

2 Nov, 2012 By: John Latchem

Street 11/9/12
Sony Pictures
Box Office $262.03 million
$30.99 DVD, $40.99 Blu-ray, $55.99 3D BD combo
Rated ‘PG-13’ for sequences of action and violence.
Stars Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans, Denis Leary, Sally Field, Martin Sheen.

While Sam Raimi’s “Spider-Man” trilogy certainly made enough money to justify more films, the fact that the major storylines had been played out didn’t leave the franchise much room to maneuver, especially after the misfire that was Spider-Man 3.

The solution was a Batman Begins-style reboot,  presenting a new take on the character that’s a bit truer to the source material while  using elements the other films hadn’t gotten to yet. The most notable example is the use of the Lizard as the main villain, since he would likely have been the focus of a theoretical Spider-Man 4 (much like how Batman Begins villain the Scarecrow would have been used in a potential Batman & Robin follow-up).

However, the decision to retell  Spider-Man’s origin story only 10 years after Raimi did it creates a jarring effect for viewers who are familiar with the earlier films, making this one seem kind of pointless. Viewers new to the franchise likely will be much more appreciative of director Marc Webb’s take on the material, since it appears to set up a multi-film story arc involving what happened to Peter Parker’s parents, and how their disappearance relates to the ability to gain powers from a radioactive spider bite.

Andrew Garfield is an excellent choice for the role, making for a believable high schooler whose usual teen angst is complicated by the addition of superpowers. The film is heavier on character and lighter on action than your usual superhero adventure, and can be dull at times, but lays a solid foundation for a new direction for the franchise.

The 3D doesn’t necessarily add anything to the enjoyment of the film, though it’s pretty clear in 2D which scenes were designed to take advantage of the depth effect. The Blu-ray goes all-in with its 3D presentation, offering a six-minute tutorial from Webb about how films are shot in 3D, and giving viewers a chance to adjust the 3D levels to see how tricky it can be to create a proper balance and present an effective 3D display that isn’t disorienting.

The Blu-ray offers a nearly two-hour documentary about the making of the film that covers all aspects of the production, starting with the decision to pursue a reboot. Other supplemental material includes presentation reels, visual effects progressions, storyboards and other concept galleries.

Also included are 17 minutes of deleted and alternate scenes that hint at some of the secrets in the plot to be explored in future films.

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