Spider-Man 3 appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray 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. Some light edge enhancement affected these segments as well. However, the majority of the flick appeared concise and accurate. I noticed no jagged edges or shimmering, and source flaws appeared to be essentially absent; I witnessed a couple of tiny specks but nothing more.
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. No significant concerns affected this quality presentation.
I felt even more impressed with the excellent Dolby TrueHD 5.1 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 five 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. 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 this 2012 Blu-ray compare to the original 2007 release? Both were identical – literally. While the 2012 Blu-rays for the first two films got updated, Sony simply repackaged Spidey 3.
Minus the second disc that came with the original release, that is, so the 2012 version lacks many of that set’s extras.
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; 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.
Next comes a six-minute and 42-second collection of Bloopers. Should you expect more than the usual goofs and giggles? Nope. It’s the usual silliness.
Under Galleries, we get all sorts of stills. This domain breaks into “Sketches” (34 frames), “Paintings” (23), “Sculptures” (11), “Special Effects” (28) and “Director and Cast” (19). The first two are the most interesting since they feature conceptual art.
A Music Video for “Signal Fire” from Snow Patrol runs four minutes, 34 seconds. 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.
Finally, ads finish the disc. Previews includes trailers for Ghost Rider, Surf’s Up, Across the Universe, Casino Royale and upcoming (circa 2007) Blu-Ray titles.
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 Blu-Ray presents very good picture, killer audio, and some useful supplements.
Unfortunately, it drops the bonus disc from the original Blu-ray; it simply duplicates that package’s first platter, without any form of update. If you already have the 2007 Blu-ray, there’s no reason whatsoever to get this one. If you don’t own that one and don’t care about the missing extras, this one might be the way to go – it sells for a little cheaper than the two-disc set.
To rate this film visit the Special Edition review of SPIDER-MAN 3