Spider-Man appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Expect an inconsistent transfer here.
Sharpness usually seemed fine, though the image looked a little less detailed than Iíd like. It remained reasonably crisp most of the time, but occasionally some shots looked slightly soft. Nonetheless, most of the movie appeared solid. Jagged edges and moirť effects created no concerns, but I noticed some minor edge enhancement at times. As for print flaws, grain seemed rather heavy for such a new, big-budget movie. The grain wasnít overwhelming, but it created surprising distractions.
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 generally came across as deep and dense, though they occasionally looked somewhat inky. Shadow detail presented some concerns, as low-light situations seemed a little too dark much of the time. This made those scenes a bit murky and tough to discern. Overall, Spider-Man looked okay, but I didnít think the image seemed much better than average given the age and budget of the material.
On the other hand, the Dolby Digital TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack of Spider-Man offered a consistently solid presentation. 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 picture and audio of the Blu-Ray compare to those of the DVD? That depends somewhat on which version of the DVD you examine. Columbia released three different Spider-Man DVDs: the original 2002 set linked at the start of the review and both Superbit and Deluxe editions from 2004. The Superbit was the best of the bunch, as the other two were somewhat lackluster in terms of visuals.
All of them included pretty similar audio; while the lossless TrueHD mix was a little more robust than the others, it didnít do much to surpass them. Visuals offered the standard improvements found with the increased resolution of Blu-ray, but donít expect this disc to blow away the DVDs. Some shots here looked great, while plenty of others came across as surprisingly soft. Some of this may have stemmed from the source material, but the image remains a disappointment for a big-budget flick from 2002.
Unfortunately, the Blu-Ray of Spider-Man takes it cues from the Superbit when it comes to extras. That means it lacks almost any supplements: all we find are trailers for Ghost Rider and Surfís Up. I understood the argument for zero bonus features within the Superbit concept, but given the huge capacity of Blu-Ray discs, thereís no excuse for the absence of those pre-existing components here. It just makes Columbia look stingy.
Happily, Spider-Man itself doesnít disappoint. The movie offers a lively and exciting piece that possesses greater depth and emotion than one might usually expect from this sort of film. It doesnít seem perfect, but it works tremendously well as a whole and it captures the parts of the comic books that make them so memorable. The Blu-ray provides strong audio but comes with erratic visuals and no extras. I love the movie, but this release disappoints.
To rate this film visit the original review of SPIDER-MAN