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Spider-Man: Homecoming (3D Blu-ray Review)

Hey there, look out for Spider-Man! Summer of 2017 gave audiences the unofficial “Save Spider-Man” project that has come from Sony teaming up with Marvel Studios to produce Spider-Man: Homecoming. It’s one of the several superhero movies releases in 2017 that proved to be worthwhile in a variety of ways. Not hurting was the tremendous success the film enjoyed both at the box office and critically. Now the web head’s first MCU adventure has arrived on Blu-ray with a 3D release, along with a fun selection of extras.

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Film:

Strange to think Spider-Man even needs to be saved, but after the character and his brand was stricken by the aggressive marketing of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (the movie was fine), here we are with a follow-up to the enjoyable introduction Holland’s version made in Captain America: Civil War. Producers Amy Pascal and Kevin Feige worked with six credited screenwriters to deliver a new origin story (skipping past the whole spider bite/Uncle Ben murder thing) focused on how Peter becomes the Amazing Spider-Man we all know and love. The key this time was infusing familiar superhero antics with the social awkwardness of being a kid in high school.

We get to watch a young-looking Peter interact with friends who also look young in a setting filled with a fittingly inclusive and diverse set actors and extras. It’s easy to point out, but notable to see a realistic high school setting work as a place for our main characters to operate. That also means we not only get a friendly, neighborhood Spider-Man but one who’s appropriate for families as a whole. There’s drama, but it’s not gritty. Action scenes excite, but they also feel lighthearted. He’s called “Spider-Man,” but Peter’s still got growing up to do, and audiences of almost all ages can get behind seeing the old “great power/great responsibility” chestnut back in play.

The story works as far as melding the MCU with Sony’s Spider-Man. Following Civil War, Peter is doing his best to protect Queens, New York City, hoping for another chance to go on a big mission with Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) and the Avengers. As far as high school goes, Peter claims to be in a Stark internship program, which is taking a toll on his involvement in things such as the academic decathlon.

Meanwhile, Adrian Toomes (Michael Keaton) has turned to alien arms dealing, after Stark costs him a huge contractor job cleaning up after the mess Loki made back in Avengers. This job loss and (underplayed grudge) leads to the development of really cool weapons such as mechanical wings and destructive lasers. That may be a lot for this young Spider-Man to take on, but he’ll be doing his best to show what he’s made of by doing whatever a spider can.

With multiple entries and a couple of previous actors having filled the shoes of Spider-Man already, the character may not be in James Bond territory, but audiences have certainly seen plenty of him since Sam Raimi’s 2002 blockbuster. This is why it was so pleasing to see a refreshing look at the character with the added dimension of him being a real teenager. The other films have flirted with Peter’s school life, but Homecoming invites us in full. Holland and Jacob Batalon’s Ned share wonderful scenes together, as the two get to hang out and be a pair of unpopular kids figuring out if Spider-Man can solve their social status issues. Laura Harrier and an impressively deadpan Zendaya fill the roles of the teenage girls in Peter’s life and challenge him in their ways, despite being underserved as characters. And Grand Budapest Hotel breakout Tony Revolori continues to excel as the smug Flash Thompson.

Homecoming’s impressive cast also extends to the adult performers made up of a lot of comedic talent and character actors. Given his likely asking price, Downey Jr.’s role as wise mentor is limited but adequate. Jon Favreau picks up some slack, returning as Happy Hogan. Marisa Tomei sells the relationship she has with Peter as Aunt May, despite also being underserved. Donald Glover’s character has one of the film’s best scenes with Peter, as Spider-Man works on his interrogation skills. Those are just some of the main characters, and there are still a bunch of other recognizable faces ranging from Hannibal Buress to Tyne Daly.

Bringing it back around to Keaton, it would be hard to call this an anomaly in the continuing narrative of how weak the MCU villains usually are, but he still does the most with his role. Playing a real “New Yawker” with a sinister edge, there’s proper tension to be found in his scenes with others, making him perhaps the scariest Spider-Man villain short of Willem Dafoe’s Green Goblin sans ridiculous mask. That’s why it’s a bit of a shame that despite some nice dynamics, the Vulture’s fights against Spider-Man feel more perfunctory by nature, compared to the epic bouts between Spider-Man and Doc Oc.

Spider-Man- Homecoming Movie Review

As an action film, Homecoming largely gets by on the wonder a teenager would have in discovering all he is capable of and the gadgets built into his Spidey suit by Stark. Lots of good comedy comes from Peter learning all the tricks at his disposal, but it comes with consequences that had me questioning how necessary this version of Spider-Man was to Queens as far as being a hero. For all the significant setpieces, it’s hard not to think about Spider-Man being the reason a lot of destruction takes place.

That in mind, as a director, Watts is navigating some tricky territory here. His vision to make a John Hughes film with superhero action plays well for the most part. The familiar fun that comes with a lot of the Marvel films in particular suitably aligns with the tone of Homecoming. Given that Spider-Man has such a dynamic style, it also continues to be interesting to watch filmmakers come up with clever portrayals of web-slinging in action. Some of the film feels a bit too tightly shot for its good, but one sequence involving the Washington Monument gave me Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol vibes as far as vertigo-inducing IMAX scenes (IMAX cameras were not used, but the 3D conversion didn’t hurt, which continues to show on this Blu-ray).

If we’re going to continuing getting this version of Spider-Man for a while, I’m happy to welcome it. The character has been scaled down to deal with street-level crimes and his school life, which is a nice change of pace. Holland is great carrying this film, with plenty of help from a solid supporting cast. Best of all, the film is consistently fun. With an opening orchestral version of the classic 60s Spider-Man theme setting up the fun, bouncy vibe of the movie, Spider-Man: Homecoming swings into the summer as a winner. He may be returning as an Avenger in 2018’s Infinity War, but I am more looking forward to how senior year works out for Peter.

 

3D Video:

2D Video:

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1

Clarity/Detail: There is a lot to admire in Sony’s presentation for Spider-Man: Homecoming, which is not surprising, given how this character is the studio’s current star. Thanks to a production that is full of life (even if NY feels a bit limited), there is a lot to enjoy in the level of detail seen throughout. The urban environment has a lot going on thanks to the number of people, objects and various action elements constantly taking place. The high school scenes have a level of clarity that continually shows off the level of commitment in making this a more down-to-earth superhero feature.

Depth: There will be more to say in my analysis of the 3D, but the depth of field comes across great in this Blu-ray transfer. Between scenes of Spider-Man moving through streets and Peter walking through hallways at his school, there is never a sense of flatness to worry about. The detailed environments help with this plenty.

3D: Spider-Man always seems like a character who lends himself well to 3D, so it’s great to see that aspect play well here. While the film may have been a post-conversion, this release once again shows how those movies tend to look best at home. Seeing Spidey wall-crawl and swing his way through different environments makes for a great way to take in the extra dimension. The Washington Monument scene, in particular, is a true standout thanks to how the portrayal of the location functions to create a sense of suspense and urgency. The ferry sequence also plays great thanks to how the camera goes inside and out, with Spider-Man doing what he can and Watts direction doing plenty to show a certain perspective, which works well in highlighting what 3D can add. This Blu-ray does a fine job of using the concept to its advantage.

Black Levels: For a bright and fun film, some darkly lit and nighttime scenes do work well to stand strong. Black levels or deep and inky here. Even if the film becomes a bit of an effects mess in the final act, there is never a sign of any crushing going on.

Color Reproduction: The colors pop. Having a lead character in a red suit makes that very clear, but there is a lot going on overall. You can take all the background environment, costumes and more to see just how great the use of color is in a fun film like this. It’s a highly visual film regarding all that Spider-Man can throw at the audience (and the bad guys), so it works in conveying this bright color palette well.

Flesh Tones: Facial textures register properly throughout. No issue in close-ups, as the level of detail is quite strong.

Noise/Artifacts: Nothing to report.

 

Audio:

Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, Spanish and French 5.1 Dolby Digital

Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish

Dynamics: The lossless soundtrack presented on both the 2D and 3D disc provides plenty of entertainment, even while the 4K release features a Dolby Atmos audio track. Regardless, this is a solid track that takes into account all the major audio elements that hit throughout this film. Between the action scenes filled with lasers, webs and more, and the more dialogue focused scenes set at school or in crowded areas, there is a lot to take in and it’s great to enjoy on a home theater system.

Low-Frequency Extension: The LFE channel gets a lot to work with, as the vulture sounds, in particular, are fantastic to hear on a woofer. Lots of explosions also play a role here, as the room gets a bit of a rumble as things ramp up.

Surround Sound Presentation: The sense of balance is great here. As Spider-Man swings around town, there is a great amount of work done to make sure the various channels are correctly utilized. The rear channels, in particular, get a chance to properly represent the level of atmosphere and other auditory elements that help keep the world feeling busy. The center and front, of course, get plenty to do here as well and the movement around the screen helps make for a fine audio experience.

Dialogue Reproduction: Everyone is heard loud and clear. Plenty of good banter to listen in on.

 

Extras:

Spider-Man: Homecoming may be the least features heavy Spider-Man movie release yet, which is a shame, as these tend to be fun movies to learn about. The lack of a commentary track is especially disheartening. It would have been great to hear from Watts, but even better, the biggest missed opportunity was not having a cast commentary featuring all of the major high school kids from Peter’s class. Still, there are enough featurettes to satisfy.

Features Include:

  • The Spidey Study Guide – Instead of a commentary track, here’s a pop-up trivia track that features plenty of insight and little easter eggs that surface.
  • Deleted & Extended Scenes (HD, 16:17)
  • Gag Reel (HD, 2:17)
  • A Tangled Web (HD, 6:11) – A look at how the making of this movie between two studios was possible.
  • Searching for Spider-Man (HD, 8:04) – This featurette focuses on the casting of Tom Holland.
  • Spidey Stunts (HD, 5:48) – A look at how Holland’s skills worked for the film’s action sequences.
  • Aftermath (HD, 4:47) – The MCU has a plan and this goes into how Spider-Man may factor in.
  • The Vulture Takes Flight (HD, 6:01) – A look at the film’s villain and what Keaton brought.
  • Jon Watts: Head of the Class (HD, 5:29) – The director’s work gets its focus here.
  • Pros and Cons of Spider-Man (HD, 3:28) – Holland and Jacob Batalon go over what’s great and not-so-great about being Spider-Man.
  • Rappin’ with Cap (HD, 2:26) – A focus on one of the funnier elements from the film.
  • Photo Gallery (HD)
  • Trailers (HD)
  • Previews (HD)
  • Digital HD Copy of the Film

 

Summary:

Spider-Man: Homecoming does a great job of making Spider-Man a character everyone can root for again in a world where the MCU continues its dominance. Perhaps not to the great extent of some of Raimi’s efforts, but this is a fun movie nonetheless. The 3D Blu-ray presentation is solid, with a great handle on the depth levels, in addition to an effective video presentation and an enjoyable audio track. The features may lack further depth, but there is also enough in the department to satisfy fans seeking a bit more insight. If you want to see Spider-Man in one of his flashiest films, Homecoming is a great ride to take on.

 

 

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Writer/Reviewer, Film Lover, Podcaster, Video Game Player, Comic Book Reader, Disc Golfer & a Lefty. There are too many films, TV, books, etc. for me to list as favorites, but I can assure that the amount film knowledge within my noggin is ridiculous, though I am always open to learning more. You can follow me on Twitter @AaronsPS4, see what else I am up to at TheCodeIsZeek.com & check out my podcast, Out Now with Aaron and Abe, on iTunes.

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