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 package includes both 2D and 3D versions of Spider-Verse. The picture comments above reflect the 2D edition – how does the 3D compare?
In terms of visual quality, both seem pretty similar. The 3D can look a little darker, but that doesn’t become a major issue, so expect it to offer an image nearly as positive as that of its 2D counterpart.
Where the 3D version excels relates to its depth and dimensionality. This Spider-Verse throws out the occasional “pop-out” moment, but we don’t get a lot of that.
Instead, the image opts for a spectacular sense of place and setting. We find ourselves located in the different circumstances in a convincing manner that adds real impact to the proceedings. Spider-Verse works fine in its 2D incarnation, but the 3D takes it to a higher level.
The 2D 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 Minaj, Annuel AA and Bantu. As expected, these show movie clips accompanied by on-screen lyrics. They’re forgettable.
The disc opens with an ad for Hotel Transylvania 3. 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, and the 3D edition turns into the liveliest way to watch.
Footnote: as mentioned earlier, this package offers a German Blu-ray set. It plays just fine on US TVs.
To rate this film visit the prior review of SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE