Spider-Man appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. For the filmís second Blu-ray release, it comes as part of Sonyís ďMastered in 4KĒ line. What the heck does that mean? Hereís what Sonyís press release promises us:
ďíMastered in 4Kí Blu-ray releases will feature titles sourced from pristine 4K masters and presented at high-bitrate 1080p resolution, with expanded color showcasing more of the wide range of rich color contained in the original source. When upscaled via the Sony 4K Ultra HD TVs, these discs serve as an ideal way for consumers to experience near-4K picture quality. ĎMastered in 4Kí Blu-ray Discs can be played on all existing Blu-ray Disc players.Ē
Old DVD fans will remember Sonyís ďSuperbitĒ program, as it came with similar promises. Superbit DVDs and ďMastered in 4KĒ BDs jettison all supplements to theoretically optimize picture/audio quality.
Sharpness was consistently satisfying. A smidgen of softness affected a few wide shots, but those instances remained minor and the movie displayed good to great clarity most of the time. I noticed no issues with jaggies or shimmering, and the image lacked edge haloes. Print flaws were absent; grain was noticeable but not heavy.
Given the comic book setting, I expected a varied palette, and Spider-Man didnít disappoint. The image presented nicely bright and vivid colors that consistently appeared rich and vibrant. Black levels came across as deep and dense, and shadows were fine; they remained pretty smooth and clear. This was a strong visual presentation.
The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack of Spider-Man offered a consistently solid piece of work. The soundfield made good use of all five channels and created a nicely involving environment. Music presented clean stereo imaging, while effects cropped up from all around the spectrum. Though not the most active track in the world, it used the different speakers well as a whole.
Much of the material remained atmospheric, and the mix did a nice job with small touches such as cars and voices like the yelling from MJís father. The action scenes kicked it up a notch, of course, and they provided a lively and engrossing set. The Goblinís flyer offered some of the best moments, as it zoomed nicely across both the front and the rear.
Audio quality appeared very good. Speech seemed warm and natural, and I noticed no issues related to edginess or intelligibility. The score sounded nicely robust and dynamic, as the music showed clean highs and rich lows.
Effects also came across as vibrant and distinctive. They lacked any signs of distortion and seemed vivid and rich. The track boasted nice bass response, as low-end material packed a nice punch. The audio for Spider-Man didnít stand out as one of the best soundtracks ever, but it nicely complemented the material.
How did the 2013 4K Blu-Ray compare to the 2012 Spider-Man Blu-ray? Audio appeared to be very similar, though it used a different system. The 4K release went with the Dolby TrueHD format of the old 2007 Blu-ray and not the DTS-HD MA track found on the 2012 disc. Maybe someone else can hear differences between these, but I canít.
On the other hand, visuals showed an uptick. Although I opined that the 2012 Blu-ray was probably as good as this film would get, the 4K proved me wrong Ė in a mild way, at least. The 4K didnít blow away the 2012 Blu-ray, but it demonstrated a bit better sharpness, colors, blacks and shadows. Again, none of these demonstrated a big improvement, but I thought the 4K gave us the more appealing visual presentation.
As noted earlier, the 4K series drops all extras. That leaves this a movie-only affair.
After more than a decade, Spider-Man remains one of my favorite superhero movies; indeed, it might only be second to The Dark Knight on my personal list. While I canít call it flawless, itís light, fun and a good representation of the comics. The Blu-ray brings us strong picture and audio but lacks supplements. Itís too bad the 4K Blu-ray comes with no bonus materials, but it does deliver the best presentation of Spider-Man to date.
To rate this film visit the original review of SPIDER-MAN