When I moved to Austin, TX over a year ago from Cleveland, OH I expected my change of scenery to be quite stimulating and invigorating, but you all know that whole grass is always greener on the other side thing, right? While the skies may not be grey all the time like in Cleveland, I would take that downtown skyline any day over the mini buildings that litter downtown Austin. However, I say that not to be mean or derogatory, but only to illustrate a point because the same comparison can be made when analyzing recent DC super hero films to Marvel ones. Although I believe the Nolan Batman trilogy to be some of the best superhero films ever made, I can clearly see where comic book purists can get off complaining that the onscreen events are too dark, brooding and unconventional in terms of how a comic book movie should look, pop and shine on the big screen. I can accept that, so can most people, but also many cannot. So where exactly am I going with all this nonsense? Well, let me get straight to the point I am trying to make already. There’s absolutely no shortage of vibrancy and color in The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Now whether or not this tops the first film in this rebooted Marc Webb franchise or even compares on the same level with the Raimi ones is a whole other story I plan on avoiding entirely due to excessive length and time constraints and instead I plan on just tackling the Blu-ray film at hand, that being The Amazing Spider-Man 2, otherwise known stupidly as Rise of Electro, and then go into all the technical nitty gritty you’re all here for. Sound like a plan?
Has anyone been able to spend anytime with the PlayStation 4 title, inFAMOUS Second Son (I reviewed this title over here this past spring)? If so, you’ll get the following picture I am trying to hang with my proverbial hammer and nail. I purposely made sure to point out in my first paragraph up above about the big, bold, comic book-like colors you’ll find in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 as opposed to the mute and darker pallets in the latest DC big screen efforts. So if you have spent any amount of time with the aforementioned PS4 title, I’m sure you have come to know and probably love the main character’s neon powers. If you know what I’m talking about, then good. You’ll get the picture here literally. You know how you can run around the city of Seattle in a blur of radiant light? Well I swear that The Amazing Spider-Man 2 stole those very same visuals from the video game’s playbook when Spidey chases down Electro, who’s running rampant through the city. That’s EXACTLY what it looks like here! So if you think it looks cool in the game, as I do, then you’re in for a treat as it looks “spectacular” here. However, I digress. We have bigger fish to fry here rather than wasting our time on comparing the special effects of the movie to a video game. Let’s get down to basics.
Andrew Garfield dons the red and blue undies once again in his second outing as the webslinger with Director Marc Webb. This one is rumored to be the second of four movies of the franchise with possible tie-ins to spin-off characters such as Venom and The Sinister-Six, both of which are slated to receive their own films. I guess at this point in the game it’s still too early to know exactly what the grand plan is. It sounds like Sony has committed to them already or have they? What ever happened to Ghostbusters 3? I rest my case. Who knows what will happen to this franchise despite the financial success of this one. In other “known” news, Emma Stone and Sally Field return to reprise their roles as Gwen Stacy and Aunt May. And it’s no secret. Even if you haven’t seen the film, I’m sure you have all seen the trailers. Unfortunately there are a total of three villains biding for screen time here, Paul Giamatti as The Rhino, Jamie Foxx as “blue balls” Electro and Dane DeHaan as The Green Goblin.
So let’s talk about what all goes down here before I dish on the rest of the good and bad. Aw hell! Let’s just talk about it all. Unlike the first film in the rebooted franchise, which promises to tell you the untold story and never does, this one actually sheds some light on the disappearance of Peter Parker’s parents. The film opens with a sequence that for lack of a better choice of words will leave you with zero doubt about what really happened to them. Flash forward to the present, Peter is out fighting crime (actually stopping the character which will later be known as the infamous Rhino) when he really should be at his high school graduation ceremony, especially since his main squeeze is the valedictorian. Now let’s stop right here and get one thing straight. First and foremost, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is a love story. It’s almost like 50 Shades of Grey the way Peter and Gwen go back and forth. No. I can’t be with you. Peter, you’re being ridiculous. Gwen, I can’t live with out you. Don’t go! You get the picture. This happens throughout without the sexual intercourse, whips and chains. But of course, this wouldn’t be a superhero movie without a villain, or in this case three villains: Electro, The Rhino and The Green Goblin.
I want to chat about the Goblin first because going into my first viewing of the film this was the one character I really thought I was going to have issues with over the blue lips of Electro. The Goblin is ultimately portrayed by DeHaan, an actor I gained much respect for in The Chronicle. While his transformation was very rushed, much akin to the likes of Anakin becoming Vader in Episode 3, I was able to embrace this character more than I was with both incarnations in the Raimi films. He had a real world Nolan-like quality to him that I liked, but was ultimately dampened by the fact that there wasn’t enough development time spent on his character because they had to cram so many other baddies into the film. If you can see me now as I type this, you would see my frown. So that leads me to my next character, that of Electro. Or as I want to call him Stupido. I really don’t know what could have been done differently with him, but Foxx just had some completely awful dialog to work with. And you mean to tell me you got this guy made up of pure electricity and he adorns black panties? Wait until you see the suit he gets to wear by the end of the film. Did he get that from the X-Men closet? Electro only did two things for me. The voices in his head are going to make for some sweet a$$ home theater surround sound moments for you all. And second, he certainly made the film colorful. But really, that’s about it as he was very inconsequential to the film’s story to me and if he never resurfaces in another Spidey movie I’ll sleep just fine. Oh yeah! The Rhino! Now he’s cool! But then again…why?!
So all in all, I keep coming back to this, man oh man, did they cram a lot in here. Not only did the love story aspect of the story play out a bit long at times, but in actuality the real purpose of this feature feels like it purely exists to set up the eventual sequel and the spin-offs that I mentioned above. It weighs heavily on the bloated film in my opinion. And who knows if Garfield will even be in the franchise past the third film, which is supposed to be Webb’s last from what I hear too (and now may be pushed way back). Nevertheless, I still had a lot of fun with this one and that’s why the score up above isn’t as bad as it could be. For the first time I really felt what it must really be like to being flying high and swinging from building to building. The first person point of view and visual effects really put you in the driving seat here. I can’t say anything bad about the effects at all. This is a big, bold comic book movie and neither the vivacious colors, stunning visuals and triumphant score of Hans Zimmer (kind of doesn’t even sound like his usual brooding works) ever lets you forget that. So that much I can appreciate.
As for everything else, well there’s room for improvement just like there was in the first film. It’s almost like they had their fun with The Lizard and now Electro, but we’re back to practicality and real world versions of the Goblin and Rhino. I don’t know. I’m optimistic of what can come out of this franchise with the next flick(s), but I just can’t help feeling this series could be so much more. Andrew’s version of Parker/Spidey is spot on (reminiscent of the comics), but it’s the villains, like in Raimi’s features too, where we stumble here (and of course that never ending love story). However, I digress because I think we have all the ingredients of something really special here in the future (if they ever get made). It may not be perfect (okay it’s so far from perfect), but it’s hella fun in my opinion because it’s a big comic book movie where you can leave your brain at home! And when you are talking a popcorn summer action movie the notion of “fun” is all that matters, right? Right!
While the movie may be far from being considered perfect the same cannot be said for the demo reference visuals this Blu-ray gives us in both 2D and 3D presentations. For consolidation and brevity purposes (since this is already a lengthy review) I have chosen to lump both presentations here together in tackling the various video grading categories we have down below.
- Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC
- Resolution: 1080p
- Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
- Clarity/Detail: Even though this was shot on film (thanks be to God) everything looks incredibly clear, sharp and crisp. Detail and clarity is abound throughout from the barely visible puddles in the NYC asphalt streets to the rich details in the character’s skin, hair, the fabric in Spidey’s suit and even on the tree bark Peter uses to playfully hide from Gwen in the middle of one of their many breakups. The rendered city skyscrapers and buildings almost look fake because of all the detail when Spidey web swings through the streets of NYC. This effect is further enhanced in 3D where Spidey literally pops off the print, but that really should be talked about more down below in the Depth category.
- Depth: Whether you’re watching this in 2D or in the rendered 3D presentation because of the detail and rich bold colors the onscreen characters literally pop off the screen throughout here. You’ll feel like you’re swinging with Spider-Man.
- Black Levels: Just like in a comic book, the black levels are deep, inky, dark and dreamy. In other words, the black levels are spot on perfect here! There are a lot of contrasting moments here and the bright electricity and even the lights adorning NYC look brilliant against the nighttime backdrops.
- Color Reproduction: I’ll kind of borrow the line I just used up above once again here. This movie looks like a straight comic book to movie adaptation. The colors are bold, bright and vivacious throughout and I love it so because of them.
- Flesh Tones: Every single flesh tone I witnessed onscreen looks natural and authentic. I have no complaints here.
- Noise/Artifacts: If you can find any flaw or problem in this presentation, then you have better eyes than I have and probably should be writing this, not me.
Like the video up above this surround track is absolutely amazing. This should have been called “Spider-Man 2 and The Amazing Surround Sound.” LOL. Seriously. Read on below and I’ll show you why I feel the way I do.
- Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital
- Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish
- Dynamics: This surround track gives new meaning to the word dynamic. It whips you around and snaps your neck back when the two planes barely miss each other in the night sky for example. Quite honestly I love how everything sounds authentic throughout from the muttering under Spidey’s masks to the electricity Electro hurls at you and especially Hans Zimmer’s rousing and triumphant score that will infuse your living room with afternoon delight.
- Low Frequency Extension: OMG! Where do we even start here? From various crash sequences to Rhino’s vehicle destruction and Electro’s rise from the gurney that literally made my dog jump off the floor a number of times the subwoofer LFE is absolutely bombastic and aggressive throughout.
- Surround Sound Presentation: This surround track totally infects your viewing area as it immerses you and sucks you completely in from the music prancing and racing behind you, the rain falling, web slinging through the city streets, bullets spraying, voices in Max’s head (my favorite part) and pretty much everything else you can think of that happens in this movie involves surround sound in one way or another.
- Dialogue Reproduction: Like everything else in this audio section the dialogue reproduction in this feature is stellar. I love the voices in Max’s head, the way Spidey sounds a bit muffled when his mask is on and everything else that makes this Blu-ray so demo worthy. You’ll never strain to hear a spoken word and if you have to listen to it quiet, then that’s what subtitles are for yo.
Fans will be excited to explore this 3-disc Blu-ray set’s exclusive bonus features that houses the six-part, behind-the-scenes documentary, “The Wages of Heroism: MakingThe Amazing Spider-Man 2,” which includes more than 100 minutes of immersive featurettes detailing the heroic efforts needed to bring the film to life. Exclusively available on Blu-ray are nine all-new deleted scenes with commentary by Marc Webb, including the scene “Peter Meets His Father” and more. Both the Blu-ray and DVD versions also include a Filmmaker Commentary, four deleted scenes and Alicia Keys’ “It’s On Again” music video. And most importantly, you can take the film on the road with you thanks to the included redemption code for the Digital HD file. Now let’s take a closer look through the webs here at everything you’re getting into.
Before we begin I wanted to chime in and tell you cool it is when you select an extra down below on Blu-ray disc. The selections are highlighted by electricity buzzing underneath it. Way cool, huh? I think so!
- Audio Commentary With Filmmakers – If you like what you’ve seen above, then why not listen about how the film was made, etc. while watching it with the filmmakers themselves and hearing all their dirty secrets. If not, then there’s always the visual featurettes below that are well worth your time I ensure you.
- Deleted Scenes & Alternate Scenes (HD, 23:01)- There are a total of 9 additional deleted scenes exclusively on Blu-ray with commentary here by Marc Webb, including “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” and “Goblin Kills Menken.” All I can say is I am so glad this “Peter Meets His Father” never made the film. They even throw in the cliche “with great power comes great responsibility” line. Yuck! There’s a reason the scene is deleted. Trust me!
- The Wages of Heroism: Making The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (HD, 1:43) – Here’s that six-part extra I touted up above, which features the following 6 segments for your viewing enjoyment. There’s also a Play All option here you can select too. So since there’s a lot of stuff discussed in the next six parts below I’m only going to give you enough to whet your appetite with. I hope that’s okay. I want to be able to effectively do my job, but also give you as much of your day back too.
- Lessons Learned: Development and Direction (HD, 18:59) – The filmmakers and cast discuss their approach to the sequel and their efforts to make it the best Spider-Man yet. They go on record saying this is the most ambitious Spider-Man story they could possibly tell. This film is about whether Spider-Man can be Peter Parker where the last film was the complete opposite. They talk about the film’s tone and vibe how it’s like a dream world and very roller coaster-like. Marc Webb also talks about how much fun it is to walk around in this mythology. They also chat about the death of a major character (no spoilers) here and how it’s based on one of the most famous comic stories. Even Stan Lee chimes in on this particular story too. He also talks about his creation of the villain Electro and the corny name he gave him. Haha. I agree, Stan! Marc talks about the mistake he made with the suit he designed in the first film and how they corrected it into the iconic costume we see onscreen in this second outing. It’s also noteworthy to make mention that this was filmed entirely in New York. I like that!
- Heart of the City: Shooting in New York (HD, 12:34) – Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at the film’s unprecedented access to New York City during production. This one starts with everyone talking about how great NYC is and its landscape. It seems it was one of the largest films ever shot in NYC with over 150 days of filming. They also go behind the scenes of the opening plane crash recreated on a sound stage in New York. Most of it all too was the actors not stuntman. Marc Webb discusses how he could not have shot this sequence with 3D cameras and had to employ handheld ones for this. They also talk about the playfulness in the action this time out with Andrew Garfield. They do spend some time discussing the opening truck scene destruction and how they wanted it to feel very visceral. They drew upon Buster Keaton for inspiration here in the way they choreographed things.
- Triple Threat: Attack of the Villains (HD, 20:56) – Here we have an inside look at the development of Spider-Man’s fearsome foes: Electro, the Green Goblin and Rhino. We first start with Electro and a quick recap of the whole Times Square Scene and the destruction that ensues within that scene. A parking lot was employed to double for Duffy Park, the northern side of Times Square. It’s kind of cool how you meet Andy’s two other stunt doubles under the mask and also what components the famous mask is now made out of. Next we move over to the power plant sequence, which was filmed really close to the parking lot I just mentioned before. After this we move onto the clock tower sequence with the Green Goblin. The clock tower was built on a stage in Brooklyn. Interestingly enough all the gears work and about 25% of them were rubber. Everyone complained about the temperature in this scene because it was like 110 degrees under the lights. Three days were spent shooting the action sequences alone here and they talk about the difficulty of setting up this pivotal scene to both please the fans and capture the emotions appropriately. Andrew hadn’t seen Emma in several days before shooting that one emotional scene that you probably all know what I’m talking about and Marc feels it was a great success. And finally we come to Paul as The Rhino and how they were able to shut the one street down on Memorial Day to shoot this. It’s interesting to see what The Rhino really looks like during filming. Haha.
- A More Dangerous World: Transforming Electro and the Green Goblin (HD, 10:10) – This one is obviously about the design of these two villains from make-up to costuming so we all can see what it took to transform Jamie Foxx and Dane DeHaan into their fearsome alter-egos. The Electro getup was 21 pieces in itself. They did not want him to look like Mr. Freeze from the Batman movie. It seems like Jamie really got into it. That’s great! There are two different rigs employed for the Goblin’s glider. The makeup of the Goblin was meant to look like a degenerative disease. The Goblin’s makeup took two hours to employ after they get the bald cap onto Dane. With the armor fitting it is a whopping four hours for him to get into character. Wow!
- A Bolt From the Blue: Visual Effects (HD, 17:42) – Sony Pictures Imageworks artists and animators show how they created the gravity defying, web-slinging and pumped-up action in the new film. Marc Webb talked about his reluctance first with special effects and wanting to do realism, but admits let’s face it…Spider-Man is magical and could not exist in real life. Marc Webb wanted this to be a visual adventure and therefore he was able to embrace all the special effects he couldn’t do before. They talk about how in this movie Peter Parker is quite the daredevil now the way he waits until he almost hits the ground before deploying another web to pull him up. They try to make it physically and realistically as possible. They also discuss the redesign of the Spidey suit and how this one is more clothe like in appearance the way it bends now too. They next engage in a conversation about the colors and hues employed in Electro to bring him to life and the realism they needed in the Times Square scene. It is cool to learn that the companies that had moving billboards in the “real” Times Square gave the filmmakers movie files to recreate their ads in the “CGI” Times Square. I also love how they explained the staircase sequence that transpires in Times Square too. Very cool! We also revisit the theme of time in the infamous clock tower scene too. In a nutshell, this featurette is all about the special effects, baby! Even Gwen’s hair when she is falling is CG hair that took four months to employ. I want CG hair! And last but not least we spend a few minutes with The Rhino!
- Spidey Gets His Groove Back: Music and Editing (HD, 24:09) – Here’s always one of my favorite sections where you get to learn how the film’s soundtrack and score came together in this behind-the-scenes look at jam sessions with Composer Hans Zimmer and the team of master musicians he assembled, including Pharrell Williams, Johnny Marr, Michael Einziger and more. Hans Zimmer said he wanted to do this one after working on The Dark Knight because here we have a young man full of hope, the complete opposite of the Batman. Haha! I can’t argue with him there, can you? Marc Webb dishes on how extraordinary Hans is and how great he is working with people.
- “It’s On Again” (HD, 3:49) – You will also find an Alicia Keys music video of her song “It’s On Again.” For those of you that are curious, this song is featured in the film’s ending credits. It’s not awful. And that’s all I’ll say on the matter.
- The Music of Amazing Spider-Man 2 With Director Marc Webb (HD, 8:09) – Marc Webb talks about how he recruited Hans Zimmer for contemporary flavor mixed with the big superhero score needed for this film. They go onto talk about what I loved best about the film, “The Electro Theme” and how the music brought the character to life. They wanted him to have a shocking dubstep kind of rave thing going on that would make Skrillex want to retire. LMAO. It was so cool to see Pharrell Williams creating the voices in Electro’s head further making the theme of Electro come to life and the other various musical devices they employed to enhance it all. I love it!
Since this is such a huge release for Sony what good would a Blu-ray review at Why So Blu be without some exclusive unboxing pictures? I know, huh! Come on! Let’s get web-swinging!
Below is the front of the shiny slip cover housing the clear 3D Blu-ray case.
Below is the rear of the slip cover showing everything included in this release.
Below is the front of the the clear 3D Blu-ray case still virgin sealed in the wrapper.
Here’s a close-up of the DVD disc containing the feature film.
Here’s a close-up of the 3D Blu-ray disc containing the feature film.
Here’s a close-up of the Blu-ray disc containing the feature film in 2D.
I don’t know about all of you, but I cannot wait for the day when we can have a Spider-Man film franchise that doesn’t try to relate everything wrong in Spidey’s life to his family or Oscorp. Aren’t there other bad people/villains in the world that don’t fit into this mold? However, I digress again because we are not here so you can listen to me voice my inconsequential complaints. We are here to talk about this Blu-ray release in as much detail as humanly possible and I firmly believe I did just that with my robust coverage of everything up above. Like the cover art on this Blu-ray release (as pictured below and above) I think it’s safe to say it looks like the movie we all just watched as just like in the film the cover art is jam packed with too much going on giving it that almost forced feeling. You all know where I’m coming from with that statement, right? But let’s get back to the basics here. What you get with this Blu-ray package is really a win-win in my opinion. You get an above average superhero film coupled with reference audio and video specs and hours worth of supplemental materials. And if you throw in the Digital HD UltraViolet copy of this movie into this conversation, you got yourself a pretty enjoyable package you and the family can all enjoy both at home and on the road. So like I said, it’s a win-win colorful good time. This movie may not of performed as good as Sony wanted domestically or in the eyes of the critics, but in no way shape or form was it a dud profit wise bringing in over 700 million. I think it just opened the studio’s eyes to plan accordingly very carefully with their future plans. If I had it my way though, I pray they retain Andy Garfield as Peter Parker. The latest rumors I read show no third film until possibly 2018. That’s a long time from now. Will Garfield still be part of this that far out? I hope so! He makes Peter Parker fun and embodies the role of everyone’s friendly neighborhood Spider-Man rather swell in my opinion. Cheers everyone!
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 releases on Blu-ray and DVD August 19th. If you like what you’ve read up above, please help support our site to ensure more reviews of this quality keep coming by clicking on the link below to bring Spidey home to your household ASAP! Thanks!