Spider-Man 3 appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this 4K UHD Disc. Spidey 3 didn’t boast a flawless transfer, but it looked good.
Only a few issues with sharpness developed, as a few wide shots looked a little soft. However, the majority of the flick appeared concise and accurate.
I noticed no jagged edges or shimmering, and edge haloes remained absent. With a good layer of grain, I didn’t suspect any issues with noise reduction, and the movie lacked print flaws.
In terms of colors, the palette of Spidey 3 seemed a little cool when compared to the first two films. While the hues were still bright at times, the film took on a light golden tint that muted the colors to a minor degree.
Nonetheless, the hues remained well-developed and attractive. The disc’s HDR added vivacity and impact to the colors.
Blacks seemed dark and dense, while shadows displayed nice depth and clarity. The HDR brought power to contrast and whites. This was a more than satisfying presentation.
Downconverted to Dolby TrueHD 7.1, I felt even more impressed with the excellent Dolby Atmos soundtrack of Spider-Man 3, as it provided a mix that definitely entered the realm of “great”. The soundfield impressed throughout the film.
Of course, the action sequences were the most memorable. The flying battles between Spidey and the New Goblin as well as all the Sandman bits really used all the channels well.
The various elements zoomed and swirled around us to create a terrific sense of the action. The track handled quieter moments nicely as well; the track conveyed a consistently good sense of atmosphere. However, it’s the action scenes that will stick in your head.
Audio quality also excelled. Effects presented great impact, as those elements were concise and accurate, and bass response seemed absolutely stellar, with deep, tight lows.
Music showed good range and definition, while the dialogue was natural and crisp. Spidey 3 boasted simply terrific soundtrack.
How did the 4K UHD compare to the prior Blu-ray? The Atmos mix seemed a bit fuller and more involving, though the original 5.1 was already terrific.
The same went for visuals, as the 4K came across as better defined and more film-like than the Blu-ray. As sometimes happens, the 4K actually made inherent “flaws” more obvious, many because the higher resolution exposed the limitations of the circa 2007 visual effects. Nonetheless, this became a fine representation of the movie.
No extras appear on the 4K itself, but the included Blu-ray copy spreads materials across two discs. On Disc One, we find two audio commentaries.
The first comes from director Sam Raimi and actors Tobey Maguire, James Franco, Topher Grace, Bryce Dallas Howard, Thomas Haden Church and Kirsten Dunst. The first six appeared to sit together for their running, screen-specific chat; recorded in London, Dunst’s session seemed to be separate and her remarks were edited into the rest.
At the start, we learn about the opening credits and various story issues. We get info about characters and find out that originally the Vulture was supposed to pair with the Sandman – and Ben Kingsley was slated for that role. Other details emerge about casting, performances, how Raimi uses storyboards and works with the actors, and a mix of other production specifics, most of which deal with the cast.
On the negative side, we find an awful lot of dead air here, especially given the number of participants. With seven commentators, empty spots should be minimal, but this track goes blank with surprising frequency.
In addition, we hear too much general praise for different aspects of the flick. This doesn’t surprise me, as many commentaries degenerate into happy talk, and for some reason, actors are often the worst offenders. Nonetheless, I’d prefer more content and less “that’s great” along the way.
Even with those issues, however, I must admit I think there’s a lot of good info here. The useful bits may come in dribs and drabs, but at least they do emerge, and we learn a fair amount about the flick.
I like the actors’ insights into their work and other aspects of the production, and some funny moments pop up as well, such as when Church mocks himself and mentions that he acted in George of the Jungle. This is far from a great commentary, but it’s more than engaging enough to merit a listen.
For the second commentary, we hear from producers Avi Arad, Grant Curtis, and Laura Ziskin, editor Bob Murawski and visual effects supervisor Scott Stokdyk. All five sit together for their running, screen-specific discussion. They look at cast and crew, effects and editing, action and stunts, some story and character issues, and a few other production topics.
While not quite as interesting as the first commentary, this one holds its own. Of course, it comes with more of the expected praise, but we still learn a fair amount about the flick and the happy talk doesn’t overwhelm. Though effects info dominates, we get a good mix of other subjects. All of this adds up to a decent little conversation.
We find a series of featurettes, and Grains of Sand: Building Sandman runs 13 minutes, 50 seconds as it brings notes from Arad, Maguire, Ziskin, Church, Raimi, Stokdyk, Curtis, executive producers Kevin Feige and Stan Lee, conceptual illustrator EJ Krisor, costume designer James Acheson, head of specialty costumes Shownee Smith, digital effects supervisors Peter Nofz and Ken Hahn, sand effects supervisor Douglas Bloom, sand shader look development lead Laurence Treweek, CG supervisor Robert Winter, and animation supervisor Spencer Cook.
“Grains” looks at the original comic book character, casting Church, character and costume design, Church’s performance and visual effects. “Grains” digs into various aspects of Sandman well, with a particular emphasis on the effects concerns. The show provides a nice take on these subjects, especially in terms of the visual effects.
Next comesRe-Imagining the Goblin, a 10-minute, 37-second piece with comments from Raimi, Franco, Arad, Ziskin, Curtis, Maguire, Feige, Acheson, Smith, Stokdyk, Cook, specialty costumers Jaime Grove and Bob Mano, property master Doug Harlocker, CG supervisor Grant Anderson, 2nd unit director/stunt coordinator Dan Bradley, and actor Willem Dafoe.
We get notes about the New Goblin’s character elements, costume, gadgets and stunts. “Re-Imagining” offers a nice nuts and bolts look at the various facets. I’d like something with a little more of a character base since Gobby doesn’t have the same heavy technical side of Sandman, but the show still offers a good take on its material.
For the 15-minute, 36-second Covered in Black: Creating Venom, we hear from Raimi, Arad, Curtis, Ziskin, Grace, Feige, Krisor, Stokdyk, Nofz, Maguire, Acheson, Cook, Grace, Smith, Dunst, CG supervisors Albert Hastings and David Seager, and FX animation lead Ryan Laney.
“Black” resembles “Grains” except it focuses on Venom instead of Sandman. Expect similar character, costume and effects content in this effective little piece.
Hang On… Gwen Stacy and the Collapsing Floor goes for 10 minutes, 14 seconds and includes Bradley, Howard, Raimi, Ziskin, special effects supervisor John Frazier, physical effects supervisor Scott Beverly and stunt coordinator Scott Rogers.
We watch the production of this stunt sequence and its various complications. I like the footage from the set and we learn a reasonable amount of good info here.
After this we get Fighting, Flying and Driving: The Stunts. This 18-minute, 59-second piece offers details from Maguire, Ziskin, Raimi, Arad, Curtis, Rogers, Bradley, Franco, Stokdyk, Dunst, stunt rigger Patrick Daley, and 2nd AD Michael J. Moore.
You won’t get a cookie if you guess that “Driving” is all about the movie’s stunts. It concentrates mostly on set-based images and gives us a fun glimpse of the challenges connected to the physical action sequences.
We look at character issues in the nine-minute, 13-second Tangled Web: The Love Triangles of Spider-Man 3. It provides remarks from Raimi, Dunst, Howard, Grace, Maguire, Curtis, Arad, Ziskin, Feige, Franco, Harlocker, choreographer Marguerite Derricks, and actor Bruce Campbell.
Don’t expect much insight from “Web”, as it does little more than reiterate character notes you’ll already understand if you saw the various movies. A few decent tidbits emerge but not enough to redeem this lackluster piece.
The disc follows this with Wall of Water. The seven-minute, 21-second show features Frazier, Stokdyk, Church, Bradley and camera assistant Peter Lee.
Ala “Floor”, this one offers a view of how one specific stunt scene was created. We check out the segment in which black Spidey washes away the Sandman. I always like views from the set and think this one fleshes out matters well.
Next we locate the three-minute, 59-second Inside the Editing Room and its statements from Raimi, Murawski and visual effects editor Jody Fedele.
“Room” tells us about how storyboards and animatics affect the editing process and other editing issues. This is an awfully short view of that subject, but it’s interesting enough.
Audio comes to the fore during The Science of Sound. It fills 16 minutes, 22 seconds with info from Raimi, composer Chris Young, supervising sound mixers Greg P. Russell and Kevin O’Connell, sound designer/supervising sound editor Paul Ottosson, and foley artist Gary Hecker.
“Science” looks at the movie’s score and aspects of its audio elements. It digs into these with surprising depth and creates a fine examination of the topics.
Next comes a six-minute, 43-second collection of Bloopers. Should you expect more than the usual goofs and giggles? Nope. It’s the usual silliness.
In addition to four trailers, Disc One concludes with a Music Video for “Signal Fire” from Snow Patrol (4:34). The song’s a sappy dud, but the video’s different than usual.
It shows a few band lip-synch shots but usually concentrates on a Spidey stage production cast with little kids. It’s not actually entertaining, but any movie song music video without film clips is a step up in quality.
Over on Disc Two, the main attraction comes from the Editor’s Cut of Spider-Man 3. Whereas the theatrical version runs 2:19:08, the editor’s cut lasts 2:17:48.
Don’t expect radical changes from the Editor’s Cut. It offers alternate score, adds some short bits, cuts a few, and rearranges others..
Do these make the EC superior to the theatrical? Not really. It might work slightly better – especially in the way it adds some menace to Spidey’s black suit – but I don’t think it creates a particularly different experience.
The extras on Disc Two span the entire franchise, and we begin with The Stan Lee Legacy, an 11-minute, 57-second featurette that brings comments from Lee as he discusses aspects of his Spider-Man work and the movies through 2017. Lee provides an engaging overview of these topics.
Under the Spider-Man banner, we get six Webisodes. These span a total of 19 minutes, 59 seconds and provide short featurettes about a mix of topics.
Among other subjects, we learn about model making, spider wrangling, and production design. None of them seem particularly memorable, but they help add a little depth to our knowledge of the film’s creation.
Beneath Spider-Man 2, the main attraction comes from Making the Amazing, a two-hour, six-minute, 20-second documentary. It includes info from Raimi, Ziskin, Arad, Dunst, Maguire, Molina, Curtis, Acheson, Spadone, Simmons, Dykstra, Bottegoni, actors James Franco, Ted Raimi, Bruce Campbell, and Rosemary Harris, Stan Lee, Marvel Comics editor-in-chief Joe Quesada, comic book writer Jeph Loeb, illustrators Alex Tavoularis and Wil Madoc Rees, production designer Neil Spisak, art directors Steve Saklad and Tom Wilkins, visual effects art director Tom Valentine, set designer Jeff Markwith, additional suit designers Alec Gillis and Tom Woodruff Jr., specialty costumer Shownee Smith, editor Bob Murawski, executive producer Joe Caracciolo, location manager John Fedynich, motion control supervisor Nic Nicholson, stunt coordinator Dan Bradley, fight coordinator Dion Lam Tat Ho, co-stunt coordinator Scott Rogers, special effects supervisor John Frazier, visual effects editor Jody Fedele, animation supervisor Anthony LaMolinara, digital effects supervisor Scott Stokdyk, visual effects supervisor Eric Durst, sound designer Paul Ottosson, sound re-recording mixers Kevin O’Connell and Greg P. Russell, foley artist Gary Hecker, and composer Danny Elfman.
The program goes through a mix of subjects. We learn about the success of the first movie and a little about the comics’ legacy, the sequels story and script, its characters and their development, the movie’s look and design, sets and locations, costumes, Raimi’s directorial style and the atmosphere on the set, shooting Spidey’s web-swinging scenes and other visual effects photography, stunts and fight sequences, practical effects, editing and cut footage, visual effects and digital elements, audio elements and the score, and some summarizing remarks.
As you can tell from the long list of subjects covered in “Amazing”, it covers a wide variety of topics related to the movie. As you can assume from such a long program, it does so in a detailed and incisive manner. I think a few too many movie clips pop up, but those don’t cause substantial distractions.
Instead, the interviews and archival footage help offer a rich examination of the film’s creation. It spends much of the time on nuts and bolts, and I would’ve liked more notes of the creative side, with more information about the script, story and characters. Nonetheless, it usually delves into the subjects well, and it offers a lively and entertaining look at the material.
Eight Arms to Hold You fills 22 minutes, 19 seconds with comments from Lee, Molina, Romita, Quesada, Straczynski, Arad, Ziskin, Acheson, Curtis, Spisak, Dykstra, Frazier, Steve Johnson, Eric Hayden, art director Jeff Knipp, and animatronics producer Heide Waldbaum. This show goes into all things Ock-related.
We learn a little about the historical character, Molina’s take on the part, effects and visual design, and making all the components work. Inevitably, some of the information repeats from elsewhere, particularly about the tentacles and other effects elements.
Nonetheless, the program gets into the issues well, and it’s good to see the bits in action. “Eight Arms” offers a nice neat look at the relevant Ock issues.
Enter the Web presents a multi-angle feature. It presents views from the filming of the movie’s climactic action sequence on the set, and we see some bluescreen photography too.
In addition to the four angles, we can also look at a screen with a composite of all four. (One of the angles pops up infrequently, but the other three are there at all times.) Each angle lasts 14 minutes, 26 seconds. I love this sort of raw footage, and this extra offers an excellent way to get behind the scenes.
Four Spider-Man 2 webisodes occupy a total of eight minutes, three seconds. The clips include comments from Raimi, Arad, Maguire, costume designer James Acheson, assistant costume designer Paul Spadone, actors JK Simmons, Kirsten Dunst and Alfred Molina, visual effects designer John Dykstra, executive producer Stan Lee, and producer Laura Ziskin,
We learn a little about minor costume changes between the two flicks, the use of Doc Ock in this movie, Simmons’ approach to the role, and the relationship between Pete and MJ. These originally appeared on the movie’s website, so expect a promotional emphasis. A few very minor moments of interest arise, but they exist mainly to tout the flick.
When we shift to Spider-Man 3, On the Set goes for 29 minutes, eight seconds. It includes notes from Raimi, Ziskin, Maguire, Arad, Curtis, Dunst, Franco, Church, Grace, Simmons, Ted Raimi, Willem Dafoe, Harris, Campbell, Howard, Acheson, Feige, Stokdyk, Anderson, Smith, Hahn, Treweek, Winter, Laney, Seager, Bradley, Frazier, Rogers, and actors Bill Nunn and Elizabeth Banks.
“Set” examines story and characters, cast and performances, Raimi’s impact on the production, costumes, visual effects and stunts. Much of the program orients toward a promotional tone, but it improves in the second half and comes with some good footage from the shoot.
A Conversation with Tobey Maguire lasts two minutes, 54 seconds and provides the actor’s thoughts about the franchise. Given the brevity of the piece, he doesn’t tell us much.
Two similar featurettes close this area. We get On Location: New York – From Rooftops to Backstreets (12:54) and On Location: Cleveland – The Chase on Euclid Avenue (6:47).
Over these, we hear from Stan Lee, Arad, Raimi, Maguire, Curtis, Franco, Ziskin, Dunst, Grace, Stokdyk, Bradley, Anderson, New York location manager John Fedynick, executive producer Joseph M. Caracciolo, 1st AD Eric Heffron, Spydercam coordinator Tim Danec, Spydercam programmers Ben B. Smith and Rich Volp, 2nd unit 1st AD Nick Satriano, unit production manager Denis Stewart, the Cleveland Film Commission’s Chris Carmody, and stuntman Tim Rigby.
Both featurettes show the locations used in the flick and discuss challenges found in the various spots. This means lots of good footage from the sets as we see how the crews worked out in the real world.
31 Spider-Man 3 Webisodes fill 47 minutes, five seconds. Across these, we encounter Raimi, Krisor, Banks, Ziskin, Curtis, Bradley, Danec, Volp, Ben B. Smith, Mano, Rogers, Harlocker, Shownee Smith, Heffron, Moore, Nofz, Stokdyk, Frazier, Harris, Howard, Church, Ted Raimi, Campbell, Stewart, Carmody, special effects coordinator Jim Schwalm, director’s assistant Aaron Lam, light stage senior supervisor Paul Debevec, assistant location manager Rachel Watkins, seamstress Vivian Cho, seaming and painting supervisor Tim Leach, electrical rigging gaffer Frank Dorowsky, electrical riggers Christian Killingsworth, Renzo Bartolotto and Ziggy Pedone, “web master” George Stevens, and animal trainer Christie Miele.
The clips look at concept art, cast and characters, costumes, props and camerawork, stunts, effects, and related areas. These obviously don’t tend to run long, and because they exist to promote the film online, they veer toward semi-fluff.
Still, the “Webisodes” offer breezy material, and they never overstay their welcome. We get good slices of the production through these clips.
Finally, we finish with two Easter Eggs. We find “Grant Curtis ADR Session” (2:47) and “Scoring the Blooper Reel” (1:33). In the former, Curtis loops his cameo, while in “Reel”, we see a music session. Both are moderately fun.
Although Spider-Man 3 seems destined to go down as the franchise’s least well-regarded effort – at least of the first three – I don’t agree with all the negativity thrown its way. While the film has its flaws, it still provides a strong adventure with a warm emotional center not usually found in comic book material. It certainly succeeds more than it fails, and I think it’s another memorable flick. The 4K UHD presents very good picture, killer audio, and a long roster of extras. This set combines an enjoyable movie and positive specs, so it definitely earns my recommendation.
Note that as of early 2021, this 4K UHD version of Spider-Man 3 appears only as part of a “3-Movie Collection”. It also comes with 4K UHD copies of Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2.
To rate this film visit the original review of SPIDER-MAN 3