The Amazing Spider-Man 2 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review
Since he’s arguably Marvel’s most beloved superhero, it’s hard to make a bad Spider-Man film. If you get a halfway competent director and match up the characters with decent actors, you’re all but guaranteed to make a fun Spider-Man film. But now we live in a world where there are four or five superhero movies a year and the standard of which we hold superhero movies has been raised substantially since the first Spider-Man movie hit theaters in 2002. And since he is such a beloved character and there is a lot of quality competition, there’s infinitely more pressure and scrutiny on Marc Webb’s THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN franchise than Sam Raimi ever experienced. So although I understand the challenges and perhaps the unfair nature of this statement, the fact remains that THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 just doesn’t hold up to other superhero movies.
Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) is in full swing as Spider-Man and we pick up with him saving the day on his way to his graduation. But the teenage angst comes in quickly when Peter and Gwen (Emma Stone) break up because Peter doesn’t want her to get hurt (the first of many amateurish foreshadows). From the awkwardly delivered dialogue, we gather that Peter and Gwen have gone through this many times before since the end of the first film. Later, Max Dillon (Jamie Foxx) gets a surge of electrical power and turns into Electro while Harry Osbourne is turning into Green Goblin. Oh, and we assume Rhino (Paul Giamatti) is going to pop up somewhere (although he doesn’t, until the very end). Each of the villains have a beef to pick with Spider-Man, so teaming up is a natural step for the villains. But really, none of them have a legit gripe, which makes all of the villains seem petty.
THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN suffered greatly from an air of familiarity since we had just seen that same story play out ten years earlier. THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 doesn’t feel quite as familiar, but unfortunately, it suffers from a host of other problems. The main issue is the drama surrounding Peter’s parents. The storyline never picks up the steam they were shooting for and it becomes a distraction to the rest of the story. So his dad didn’t run off, but was trying to protect him; what does that have to do with anything else going on in the film? Also, I don’t mind my superheroes brooding or complaining about their responsibilities, but I draw the line at them pouting and whining, which is what it felt like Parker did all too often. Maybe it was the script, but Andrew Garfield seemed to deliver every line like he was on the verge of tears. The highlight of the film is also the low point, and that’s Emma Stone’s Gwen Stacy. The scenes with Gwen and Peter were the most interesting and had their relationship been explored further and had more focus, it would have made the ending much more efficient. As it was, it felt like they ended it that way because a famous Spider-Man comic ended like that, not because they honestly felt that was the proper way to end the movie.
In some sense, there are too many villains, but really, there are too many characters in general. Each of them have drama and baggage that needs to be touched on, but with three villains, one hero, one family member and one love interest that all need to be explored, the film simply ran out of time. But no one wants to sit through a five hour superhero movie, so I’m not even sure more time would have fixed the film’s problems. Rumor has it that there’s a longer cut of the film somewhere out there, which helps to explain why the film seems so choppy, with questionable edits. The choppiness isn’t a huge distraction, but it is noticeable.
I think I said this about the first film, but if THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 had been released 10 or 15 years ago, before the recent superhero craze, I think it would have been better received. As it is, many directors have proven that you can have several characters and a flawed hero and still make a quality, enjoyable film. THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 is actually a good movie, it’s just not good enough.
4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY REVIEW
Video: When I saw the list of 25 or so 4K Ultra HD titles coming out in the first wave, I knew that THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 was probably going to be the most visually impressive title of the bunch. It was originally shot on 4K and presumably, the 4K Ultra HD was sourced from that 4K master (a rarity for the first wave titles), but it also had the most visually impressive scenes. It turns out I was right to be optimistic since this might be my favorite video transfer yet. The Blu-ray already looked great, but the 4K Ultra HD takes things to a new level of detail and it’s never more evident than when Spidey is swinging around the city or in the night scene when Spidey first encounters Electro. Details and colors are present that you didn’t know existed. Spidey’s suit reaches a new level as well and now you can see the individual threads in his suit during the close-up scenes. If you have you system calibrated well and you’re looking for a title to show off your new equipment, THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 might be the disc you’ve been looking for.
Audio: The audio was just as impressive, making for a near-reference quality audio track.
There are no 4K exclusive special features, but it does come with the Blu-ray and you can read our Blu-ray review by clicking the link: THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 Blu-ray review.
Click 4K Ultra HD to read more of our 4K reviews.