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SONY

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman
Cast:
Shameik Moore, Jake Johnson, Hailee Steinfeld
Writing Credits:
Phil Lord, Rodney Rothman

Synopsis:
Teen Miles Morales becomes Spider-Man of his reality, crossing his path with five counterparts from other dimensions to stop a threat for all realities.

Box Office:
Budget
$90 million.
Opening Weekend
$35,363,376 on 3813 Screens.
Domestic Gross
$189,901,576.

MPAA:
Rated PG.

DISC DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
Audio:
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
English Audio Descriptive Service
French DTS-HD MA 5.1
French Audio Descriptive Service
Spanish Dolby 5.1
Subtitles:
English
French
Spanish
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
English

Runtime:
117 min.
Price: $34.99
Release Date: 3/19/2019

Bonus:
• Audio Commentary with Writer Phil Lord, Producer Chris Miller, Directors Peter Ramsey and Bob Persichetti and Writer/Director Rodney Rothman
• “Alternate Universe Mode”
• Spider-Ham Short
• “We Are Spider-Man” Featurette
• “A New Dimension” Featurette
• “The Ultimate Comics Cast” Featurette
• “Heroes and Hams” Featurette
• “Scoundrels and Scorpions” Featurette
• “Tribute to Stan Lee and Steve Ditko” Featurette
• “Easter Egg Challenge” Featurette
• Lyric Videos
• Previews


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
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-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


RELATED REVIEWS


Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse [Blu-Ray] (2018)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (March 28, 2019)

If you put down a bet on what would win Oscar’s Best Animated Feature for 2018 on or before December 13 of that year, you almost certainly would’ve placed your money on Incredibles 2. Critically acclaimed and enormously successful, that film looked like a safe choice.

And then Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse hit screens. Unquestionably the least heralded Marvel movie in years, it didn’t approach the massive box office of Incredibles 2 but it managed equally good reviews.

That became enough to put it over the top. Perhaps a desire to break the Pixar semi-stranglehold on the award played a part, or maybe recency bias came into effect, as Spider-Verse stood at the fore of voters’ minds since it came out six months after Incredibles 2.

Whatever the case, few would’ve predicted this. Going into its release, Spider-Verse looked more like “movie product” to keep Sony’s Spidey franchise active between live-action flicks than something with an inherent creative reason to exist. The fact Spider-Verse turned out to be good came as a definite surprise.

Brooklyn teen Miles Morales (voiced by Shameik Moore) struggles with some of the usual adolescent concerns. He also feels torn between his middle-class neighborhood and the fancy-pants academy for high-achievers that his intelligence allows him to attend.

One day a radioactive spider bites Miles and… well, you know the rest. Except NYC already has a Spider-Man (Chris Pine) and it turns out that many alternate worlds boast their own Spider-Heroes.

Some of them end up on Miles’ turf when the Kingpin (Liev Schreiber) activates a powerful and potentially deadly Super Collider. Miles and the other Spideys need to battle the Kingpin and restore order.

Over the years, some fans have groused that the live-action Spidey movies never embraced Miles. I get that point of view, but I also understand that these flicks cost a ton of money and for better or for worse, Peter Parker remains “Spider-Man” to the vast majority of the potential viewing public.

Maybe you can blame old guys like me for that. As a kid in the 70s and 80s, Peter was Spidey – game, set, match.

In the early 80s, there was no extended “Spider-Verse” back then. We got “Spider-Ham” in a one-off comedy spoof from Marvel, but Miles and his other alternate cohorts remained firmly in the future back then.

Spider-Verse has a lot of fun with these ideas, and it gives a spin to Peter himself in ways I’ll avoid due to spoiler concerns. Suffice it to say we see the influence of the Sam Raimi movies and get an unusual take on Peter along the way.

Some prior superhero movies have tried to emulate a “comic book brought to life”. 1990’s Dick Tracy and 2003’s Hulk act as the most prominent examples of this, though both seemed only sporadically successful in that regard.

Spider-Verse shoots for this style and does much better than its predecessors. Granted, the fact it’s animated makes this a bit easier, as it frees the camera to take on styles that match comic art.

Still, it’s tough to pull off a true “comic book feel” in the world of films, so the way in which Spider-Verse achieves this remains impressive. The art and animation all support the themes and allow the film to become a distinctive visual entity.

If Spider-Verse falters, it comes from the less than scintillating way it handles Miles’ origin story. Admittedly, so many movies engage in that sort of exposition that these elements inherently can feel a bit dull, and I don’t fault the filmmakers, as they depict Miles’ transformation in a reasonably positive manner.

It’s just that the origin has that “been there, done that” feel, as Miles’ roots don’t seem radically different from Peter’s. Spider-Verse has some fun with its self-awareness, as the filmmakers realize we’ve heard Peter’s origins eight skillion times, but even with that underlying knowledge, the first act drags a little as we wait for the inevitable to occur.

Once various universes collide, though, Spider-Verse becomes much more interesting, if a little overstuffed. Let’s face it: the movie includes an awful lot of heroes and villains, maybe too many for this one story to feature.

Still, Spider-Verse handles these pretty well, and miraculously, Miles never quite gets lost in the shuffle. At times, he threatens to disappear under the mass of characters, but the film keeps him front and center enough to ensure he remains the story’s core.

Spider-Verse also develops its supporting roles in a better than expected manner. These parts don’t tend to get a lot of time, but we feel like we know them fairly well despite the absence of real exposition.

As one would hope from a Spider-Man tale, Spider-Verse mixes comedy and action in equal measures and serves both masters well. Neither dominates, and both deliver the material in a fun, lively manner.

All of this means Spider-Verse winds up as a top-notch superhero movie. I look forward to the inevitable sequel.

Footnote: a Spider-Man Christmas song pops up during the end credits, and then a post-credits tag with Spider-Man 2099 appears. It’s very funny.


The Disc Grades: Picture A/ Audio A-/ Bonus B+

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.39:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The movie came with a terrific presentation.

Sharpness excelled. The movie always came across as tight and well-defined, so don’t expect any signs of softness.

Unintentional softness, that is. Spider-Verse opted for some unusual visuals choices that occasionally made the movie look like 3D without the glasses, but those came due to the filmmakers’ decisions, so they shouldn’t be seen as flaws.

Jaggies and moiré effects also remained absent, and the image lacked edge haloes or artifacts. In addition, print flaws were a non-factor and didn’t appear at any point.

In terms of colors, Spider-Verse went with a fairly bright palette that could lean teal, but it also emphasized primary colors. The tones looked solid within those parameters, and they popped to life well.

Blacks were deep and tight, while shadows showed nice clarity. Across the board, the image satisfied.

Almost as good, the movie’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack worked very well. From the active use of music to all the action beats, the soundscape used the various channels in a satisfying manner.

This meant information that popped up all around the room in logical spots, and the material blended smoothly, with strong panning and movement. Music showed fine stereo presence, and we even got some satisfying localized speech on occasion.

Audio quality seemed positive, with speech that came across as natural and distinctive. Music was bold and rich, as the score brought out lively material.

Music sounded lively and full, while effects displayed good definition. Those elements seemed accurate and dynamic. All of this led to a positive presentation that deserved an “A-”.

The disc includes an array of extras, and these open with an audio commentary from writer Phil Lord, producer Chris Miller, directors Peter Ramsey and Bob Persichetti and writer/director Rodney Rothman. All five sit together for this running, screen-specific look at story/characters, cast and performances, the comics and influences, “Easter eggs”, color and visual design, editing, and connected domains.

Expect a pretty tight commentary here, as we find a nice look at the production. I’m happy to get mentions of the many references to the comics and other sources, and we learn a lot about the production. This ends up as a winning chat.

An unusual presentation, Alternate Universe Mode brings a different way to watch Spider-Verse. With a running time of 2:23:31, it opens with a Spider-Ham short called Caught in a Ham.

From there, we get occasional added scenes, usually in storyreel or animatic form. Given that they extend the movie by nearly half an hour, we find a lot of new information.

Though “new” doesn’t always fit, as the extra scenes tend to extend existing sequences. The most novel addition comes from the way Miles and his school roommate research Spidey and have Miles train. In the final film, the roommate doesn’t learn that Miles is Spidey until late, so this becomes a major change.

And a clever one, especially given the manner in which the characters study Spidey: through a Hollywood film starring “Todd Crews”. These moments become lively and fun, even if they do mean the sequence in which the roommate learns Miles’ alter ego toward the end of the movie now makes no sense. (The “Alternate” mode fails to change this reveal.)

The other added footage seems less substantial, and some segments slow down the film, but they’re fun to see. The presentation can be distracting, though, as the crudeness of the visuals means they don’t integrate well. Still, I’m glad to have the option to watch Spider-Verse in this extended version.

Note that the disc’s menu implies that the “Alternate” mode will include “the filmmakers as your guide”, a concept that implies we’ll hear comments along the way. This doesn’t happen.

Instead, Miller and Lord pop up at the beginning and end of the film with short remarks, but that’s it. Otherwise, “Alternate” solely offers the additional movie scenes.

Also found in the “Alternate Universe Mode”, Spider-Ham: Caught in a Ham runs four minutes, one second, and provides an adventure with that character. It’s a delightful little reel.

A bunch of featurettes ensue, and We Are Spider-Man goes for seven minutes, 51 seconds. It includes notes from Lord, Ramsey, Persichetti, Miller, producers Christina Steinberg and Avi Arad, production designer Justin K. Thompson, head of story Paul Watling, and actors Shameik Moore, Mahershala Ali, Luna Lauren Velez, Hailee Steinfeld and Kimiko Glenn.

The program looks at the Spider-characters as well as cast/performances. Some fluffiness arrives but we get a decent take on the topic.

Via A New Dimension, we locate a five-minute, nine-second reel with Lord, Miller, Ramsey, Watling, Rothman, Persichetti, Arad, Moore, Steinberg, Thompson, story artist Denise Koyama, visual effects supervisor Danny Dimian, and head of character animation Josh Beveridge.

“Dimension” examines the film’s visual style and animation. Like the prior reel, it mixes happy talk and facts.

With the 15-minute, two-second The Ultimate Comics Cast, we hear from Moore, Lord, Steinberg, Miller, Glenn, Ramsey, Steinfeld, Rothman, Velez, Ali, Watling, producer Amy Pascal, and actors Liev Schreiber, Jake Johnson, John Mulaney, Nicolas Cage, Brian Tyree Henry and Kathryn Hahn.

As expected, “Ultimate” looks at cast and performances. It becomes another puffy but generally informative clip.

Two similar featurettes come next: Heroes and Hams (7:45) and Scoundrels and Scorpions (5:11). In these, we hear from Lord, Miller, Watling, Dimian, Arad, Rothman, Koyama, Ramsey, Beveridge, Thompson, Perischetti, and Schreiber.

In these, we get notes about character design. We find a nice array of insights.

A Tribute to Stan Lee and Steve Ditko gives us an eight-minute, 34-second reel that features Arad, Pascal, Lord, Miller, Koyama, Ramsey, Rothman, Perischetti, Thompson, executive producer Brian Michael Bendis, and comics artists Robbi Rodriguez and Rico Renzi. We also find some archival comments from Lee himself.

Like one would assume, this gives us an appreciation for the work of Spider creators Lee and Ditko, both of whom died in 2018. It’s a classy retrospective.

Finally, we locate an Easter Egg Challenge. It fills five minutes, two seconds with remarks from Ramsey, Lord, Miller, Rothman, Bendis, Perischetti, Rodriguez, and Thompson.

Here we learn about all the little hidden moments/references in the film. The commentary already mentions most of these, but it’s nice to collect them into one short clip.

Two lyric videos appear: “Sunflower” by Post Malone and Swae Lee and “Familia” by Nicki Minah, Annuel AA and Bantu. As expected, these show movie clips accompanied by on-screen lyrics. They’re forgettable.

The disc opens with ads for Spider-Man: Far From Home and Men In Black: International. No trailer for Spider-Verse appears here.

Some view Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse as the best superhero movie ever to his screens. I won’t go that far – heck, I won’t even claim it’s the finest Spider-Man film – but I do know it brings us a rich, entertaining tale. The Blu-ray offers excellent picture as well as very good audio and supplements. Spidey fans will really enjoy this one.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.8333 Stars Number of Votes: 6
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Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main