Action Adventure

'Spider-Man: Homecoming' 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review: A spectacular reinvention of the franchise

November 13, 2017Ben Mk





FEATURE: 
Sony's Spider-Man franchise has been casting its web on multiplexes for the better part of the last 15 years, and during that time, it has seen its share of ups (Spider-Man 2) and downs (Spider-Man 3). With Spider-Man: Homecoming, however, the series reaches a turning point. Not only does it see a new actor (Tom Holland) take over the role, but it also marks the character's first feature-length adventure as part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.


What follows is a smaller-scale story rooted in some genuinely personal stakes that, like Ant-Man, exists on the periphery of the MCU. Still, despite remaining largely standalone and self-contained, Homecoming nonetheless feels like a natural extension of Disney's mega-franchise, thanks to the oftentimes funny and creative ways director Jon Watts and his five co-writers, Jonathan Goldstein, John Francis Daley, Christopher Ford, Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers, manage to integrate characters and events from the latter into the ebb and flow of the narrative.

That said, Homecoming is at its most engaging not when it's playing connect the dots with the Marvel blockbusters that have come before, but when it's simply focusing on its lead character's day-to-day struggles to balance his costumed alter ego with his personal life. Of course, that's not a knock against the film from an action standpoint. On the contrary, set-piece sequences, such as one that sees Spidey rescuing his classmates from a near-disastrous school trip to the top of the Washington Monument, unfold with a verve seldom seen in blockbusters of late.

In that respect, Homecoming achieves the near-impossible. Not only does it nail the tone for the beloved wall-crawler; it perfectly balances the property's fantasy-driven aspects with the more grounded nature of a teen drama. Aided by a diverse cast (Jacob Batalon, Laura Harrier, Tony Revolori, Zendaya, Jon Favreau, Marisa Tomei, Robert Downey Jr. and Michael Keaton), a constant stream of witty humor, and a handful of nifty surprises along the way, the result proves relatable, yet awe-inspiring. Much like Spider-Man himself.

AUDIO & VISUALS: 
After a spectacular run at the summer box office, Spider-Man: Homecoming swings onto Ultra HD Blu-ray boasting an amazing 4K presentation that's perfect for picking out such details as the intricate texturing on Spidey's costume, and with an HDR and Dolby Vision color palette, the wall-crawler's iconic blues and reds are more stunning than ever. This pristine audiovisual package is rounded off with a Dolby Atmos sound mix that does a superb job balancing the two halves of the film's sound design, from the student chatter heard throughout the hallways of Midtown High, to the action-packed showdowns between Spider-Man and his enemies, replete with the requisite gunfire, bombastic explosions and, of course, the "thwap!" of Spidey's webs hitting their target.


EXTRAS: 
Sony's two-disc Ultra HD Blu-ray release includes an UltraViolet digital copy, as well as a Blu-ray copy of the film. A few special features are included on the 4K disc, but the full suite of extras can be found on the Blu-ray:

  • The Spidey Study Guide - The option to watch the film with factoids that "provide insight on the movie's relationship to the comics" and "reveal hidden references that even a seasoned Spidey-fan may have missed."
  • Gag Reel (2:17) - Goofs and flubs from the set.
  • Deleted & Extended Scenes (16:17) - Ten scenes ("A Film by Peter Parker (Director's Cut)," "Cafeteria," "Return from ATM," "Triskelion Cleanup," "Anxious Toomes," "Aaron Still Stuck," "Go It Alone," "Happy Calls His Mom," "Midtown News Final Segment" and "Mr. Harrington Lessons in Love").
  • A Tangled Web (6:11) - The filmmakers, cast and crew share their excitement about making Spider-Man an official part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
  • Searching For Spider-Man (8:04) - A look at the on-screen charisma and the athletic ability that Tom Holland brings to the role.
  • Spidey Stunts (5:48) - A closer look at the stunt work in the film, with an emphasis on how Holland's background in gymnastics allowed the actor to do most of his own stunts.
  • Aftermath (4:47) - The filmmakers talk about how the movie ties in with the events of the other entries in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and how its events will, in turn, have a ripple effect throughout the MCU.
  • The Vulture Takes Flight (6:01) - A look at Homecoming's reinvention of the Vulture character, from the costume design to Michael Keaton's performance.
  • Jon Watts: Head of the Class (5:29) - The cast and crew talk about what co-writer/director Jon Watts brings to the film.
  • Pros And Cons of Spider-Man (3:28) - Holland and his co-star, Jacob Batalon, casually chat about the pros and cons of being Spider-Man.
  • Rappin' With Cap (2:26) - Four tongue-in-cheek PSA ads featuring Chris Evans as Captain America ("Safety First," "Food For Thought," "Brain Power" and "Your Changing Body").
  • Photo Gallery - 81 stills from the film's production.
  • Trailers (4:23) - Two trailers ("Spider-Man: Homecoming VR Trailer" and "An Inside Look at Marvel's Spider-Man | PS4").


Spider-Man: Homecoming is available from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment as of October 13th, 2017. The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray features English Dolby Atmos, French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, and English Dolby Digital 2.0 Descriptive Audio tracks. The film is presented with English, English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles. The total runtime is 2 Hrs. 13 Mins.






* Reviewer's note: Portions of this Blu-ray review were adapted from my original review of the theatrical release, published on July 4th, 2017.



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