Sony has released a new line of Blu-Ray catalog titles, known as “Mastered in 4K”. Originally, people had mistaken the releases as “4K” releases. Meaning, you would need top-of-the-line equipment to actually be able to play them. As it turns out, rather than being 4K Blu Rays, these are movies that have been re-transferred to the format, using a 4K source. Basically, if you’re a complete geek(like me) for video quality, and are willing to forego any type of special features to achieve this level of quality, these are releases that might interest you. The first batch of titles, included 4K remasters of films like Spider-Man, The Amazing Spider-man, Battle: Los Angeles, Ghostbusters, The Karate Kid and several more. I got in on the action too late to be able to review any of those discs, but I did just recently receive four titles to take a look at, and possibly several more to arrive at a later date. The first batch of “Mastered in 4K” titles I was exposed to, included Spider-Man 2, Moneyball, Godzilla(Remake) and Men In Black. Today I’m going to provide you with my opinion of the “Mastered in 4K” release of Spider-Man 2. Most of these releases are something I am planning to watch with my child over the weekend, so I’ll be back with commentary on those later in the week/early next week.
I’m not exactly what one would call a huge fan of Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy. I’ve been a lifelong fan of Raimi’s films, so when I learned that he would be bringing my favorite comic book character to life, I was extremely excited. The first film came and went, and it was extremely underwhelming. There were some little nitpicky things I could get into here, such as a film of this magnitude, having costuming a major bad guy from the comic books, in something that looks like a rejected Power Ranger’s uniform. But, that’s not why we’re here. To sum up my problem with the series as a whole, I would simply state that Raimi got Peter Parker wrong. I have no problem with Tobey Maguire’s acting abilities. In fact, I happen to think that he is a fine actor. But, one can only do their best with the material they were given. In the comics, Spider-Man was always a sarcastic character. It’s one of the reasons that I love that comic above all others. Being an extremely sarcastic character myself, I found Peter Parker/Spider-Man easy to relate to. In the Raimi films, Peter Parker/Spider-Man are more emotionally aware, than they are sarcastic. I suppose he picks up a little bit of attitude once he’s been in-costume for a while, but even then, he’s still an intensely emotional guy, lacking that sharp wit that made the character what it was in the comic books.
When Spider-Man 2 came along, it seemed like it was aiming for a darker tone than the original, and in some ways, it succeeded. Franchises like this, you want to try and make your story mature along with your characters. A good example of this done right would be the Harry Potter films. Granted, I’ve yet to sit through a single Harry Potter film, personally(Summer Movie Challenge 2013), but even an outsider could tell you that those films started out lighthearted, and as the characters matured, the stories and subject matter matured with them. But, Peter Parker didn’t seem hardened at all, by all of the crime and violence he had witnessed. I realize that we have a “Ross & Rachel” style love story that has to be the core of the story, so we have to spend a lot of time dwelling on that, but I was still disappointed by this new emotional Peter Parker. And, to be fair, simply because that Raimi failed to capture the elements of Spider-Man that I loved as a kid, that doesn’t mean that this is a terrible movie. For all of the things it got wrong, it is still a watchable piece of entertainment. And, the bonus of it all is, now that I am a father, I can enjoy these films outside of “critic” mode, as I witness the excitement they’ve created for my son thus far. Usually when my son and I put a movie on, I let him pick his own Blu-Ray out, and I can’t get him to sit still for longer than 5 minute increments. When we watched the first two Spider-Man films, he still got up once or twice, but for most of the time, he was just enthralled by what was on the screen.
The picture quality of the Mastered in 4K release of Spider-Man 2 is ridiculous. That is honestly the best word I can come up with to describe it. Spider-Man 2 is already such a colorful film, but with enhanced details and color pop, the picture quality is so phenomenal that it almost hurts your eyes. I do have the original Blu Ray release of the trilogy, so I did pop the first release of Spider-Man 2 in the player to compare, and the difference in quality is definitely noticeable. The one biggest difference you’ll notice, if you also have the previous release to compare, is the color. Colors pop far more than the previous release. Actually, the colors on Spider-Man’s suit are so bright and detailed, that it almost creates a 3D effect. But, that’s not to say that that is the only difference. Textures and details have been noticeably improved as well. As mentioned above, there is a complete lack of special features on the disc. So, I would recommend, if you like that type of thing anyway, to hold on to your original Blu Ray, that contains all of the extras. I wouldn’t recommend a full upgrade, in which you get rid of your original Blu Rays, but if you are interested in watching Spider-Man or Spider-Man 2 in the absolute best possible quality since you saw it theatrically, then pick up the “Mastered in 4K” release from Sony, and that’s what you’ll get.
The Blu Ray