Spider-Man Blu-ray Review

In 2002, Marvel finally had the opportunity to challenge the success of DC’s movie adaptations of their caped crusader and the guy who was able to leap tall buildings in a single bound.  A most beloved comic book superhero was about to web-sling into Hollywood, leaving a trail of broken box office records in his wake.  After 40-years on the page, it was time for SPIDER-MAN to hit the silver screen.

Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst in Spider-Man

Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) is a sweet, sensitive, nerdy high school kid who lives with his aunt and uncle and pines for the girl-next-door.  Sadly, Mary Jane (Kirsten Dunst) barely knows he exists.  On a school field trip to Colombia University, Peter is bitten by a genetically altered spider and develops superhero qualities over night.  He is stronger, faster, more agile and has a sixth sense that allows him to anticipate danger.  Naturally, Peter is faced with a moral decision: Should he use his new powers for personal gain or to fight the forces of evil?

Willem Dafoe in Spider-Man

Because he is a typical high school outcast, Peter chooses to showcase his gifts in an underground wrestling ring so he can buy a sports car and get the girl.  The events of that night unfold into tragedy and Peter turns a new leaf.  He embraces the truth of the life he’s been given and vows to use his powers to help and serve others.  Fortunately for the citizens of New York, this life lesson was discovered just in time.  Mad scientist Norman Osborn (Willem Dafoe) has a pesky alter ego called the Green Goblin and he’s wreaking havoc all over the city.

Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst in Spider-Man

SPIDER-MAN is everything you would hope a blockbuster movie would be.  It’s bright, bold and action-packed.  There’s a good verses evil storyline with a little bit of romance on the side.  Maguire does a convincing job of portraying the insecure, vulnerability of a high school kid who suddenly transitions into a superhero.  Dafoe manages to balance a cheesy costume with a chilling performance.  Dunst plays a great damsel in distress and delivers and upside down kiss that will go down in history as one of film’s most memorable lip locks.  Sure the CGI got carried away a little bit, but that’s what you expect coming in to a movie that boasts fantasy characters.

If I had one complaint, it would be that we lose the human quality of both Maguire and Dafoe when they are Spider-Man and Green Goblin.  Even though the costumes look as if they are plucked from Stan Lee’s comic book drawings, the fact that the audience can’t see their faces is distracting to me during pivotal dialog.  I found myself wondering if the actors were actually portraying their characters that moment instead of listening to what was being said on screen.

Tobey Maguire in Spider-Man

SPIDER-MAN was the first film to pass the $100 million mark in a single weekend.  At the time of its release, it was the highest grossing super hero film of all time.  I believe its pull comes from the classic coming of age storyline about a real kid in a real-life setting who accidentally gets super powers.  It’s about his journey of discovering that with great power comes great responsibility.

BLU-RAY REVIEW

Video:  This movie was made to be viewed on Blu-ray.  I loved the fight scenes and action sequences with the Green Goblin, but I found that the scenes filmed on the top of the buildings of New York City were extremely interesting.  The architecture was beautiful as Spider-Man danced from rooftop to rooftop.

Audio:  You couldn’t ask for a better experience.  The action sequences were amazing.  The soundtrack was perfect.  And the Green Goblins maniacal laugh was creepy.

Preview:  A trailer of 2012’s THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN

Spider Sense Trivia Challenge:  While watching the movie, you will be challenged with randomly selected trivia.  Viewers have 30-seconds to answer.  You can save your game and return at a later time.

The Spider-Man Cutting Room:  Create your own unique video with quick and raw clips to select a start and finish.  You can add music as well.

Spider-Man:  The Mythology of the 21st Century (25:29):  This featurette introduces Stan Lee (co-creator of Spider-Man comics) and five others who have had the privilege of drawing Spider-Man.  Lee tells the story of how he saw a fly crawling up a wall and that’s when he thought of a new superhero.  Fly Man sounded silly, so he chose Spider-Man.  Marvel hated it.

Tobey Maguire, Sam Raimi and Kirsten Dunst on the set of Spider-Man

HBO Making of Spider-Man (24:42):  Tobey Maguire was the director’s choice for Spider-Man, but he had to convince the producers that he had what it takes to be an action figure.  He took a few months to bulk up, threw on a blue unitard and sent in a clip of him performing martial arts.  The role was his.  Kirsten Dunst was chosen because of her on-screen chemistry with Maguire.  According to the featurette, 17 young ladies had already tried out for the coveted role of Mary Jane.

“Spider-Mania” and E! Entertainment Special (40:32):  This was a fluff piece that basically tells the same story as the HBO special.  There is a little more time spent talking with Sam Raimi and his love for Spider-Man as a boy.  Memorable moments include Maguire’s confession that he was sewn into the Spider-Man suit and Dunst’s confession that she loved the kissing scene.

Director & Composer Profiles (14:32):  These small clips showcase director Sam Raimi and composer Danny Elfman.  We already knew the Raimi storyline based on the E! Entertainment featurette and Elfman’s participation was boring at best.

Behind the Scenes of Spider-Man (32:19):  The audience is taken through a detailed description of the costume department, set design, CGI and casting.  I enjoyed the costume section.  Participants talked about how Spider-Man’s costume hasn’t changed in 40-years and what a testament that is to Stan Lee.  If it ain’t broke…don’t fix it.

Screen Tests (5:19):  Tobey Maguire is jacked up in a blue unitard.  It’s worth watching him fight the bad guys.  Who knew the CIDER HOUSE RULES kid was so buff?  The rest are forgettable.

Gag Reel & Outtakes (3:32):  Skip this entirely.  It’s mostly people botching their lines.  It’s not funny at all.

Webisodes (20:35):  There are five mini episodes that take viewers to a deeper level of learning about the guy who handled the actual spiders, the wrestler Bone Saw, the model maker, production designer and costume designer.

Music Videos:  “Hero” performed by Nickelback and “What We’re All About” By Sum 41

OVERALL 4
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