Studio rights shenanigans have given us so many Spider-Man films in the past couple of decades that your heart is probably sinking at the thought of watching another one. But by going back to the character's comic book roots and adding Spidey to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Spider-Man: Homecoming does genuinely bring something new to the table.
Following on from his team-up with Iron Man and chums in Captain America: Civil War, Peter Parker (Tom Holland) must return to his mundane life at high-school, waiting for a call from Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) to join the Avengers. But when the call never comes, the impetuous Peter decides to continue his life as a costumed crime-fighter on the streets of New York, regardless of whether or not Stark actually thinks he's ready.
Trouble rears its head when Spidey crosses paths with a gang of criminals armed with seriously high-tech weapons. It seems that in the wake of the Chitauri attack on New York (Avengers Assemble), embittered former construction engineer Adrian Toomes (Michael Keaton) got his hands on a bunch of scavenged alien tech, which he is now using to arm criminals and exact revenge on the rich elite who were responsible for stealing his livelihood.
Delivering a winning mix of slick superheroics and mirthsome John Hughes-style high school antics, Spider-Man: Homecoming gleefully pulls (or rather swings) Spidey slap bang into the 21st century. Tom Holland injects palpable enthusiasm and charm into the lead role, while Michael Keaton brings plenty of conviction to his role of that rarest of things – a compelling MCU villain.
After far too long a wait, fans have another Spider-Man film worthy of being called 'Amazing'.
Picture: Spider-Man: Homecoming arrives on 4K Blu-ray boasting strong Dolby Vision and core HDR10 transfers. The Dolby Vision one, though, is comfortably the best option.
The way it issues Dolby Vision TVs with extra scene by scene information helps the transfer enjoy a palpably wider dynamic range that's particularly effective during dark scenes. For instance, after Iron Man rescues Spider-Man from a lake, the lights of Iron Man's suit look more intense against the night skies around them than they do with the HDR10 transfer.
There's also more precision and realism to the Dolby Vision encodes's colour grading, and a general small uptick in detail versus the HDR10 image. That HDR10 image is itself a superb effort. There's a surprisingly palpable increase in detail versus the HD Blu-ray, even though the 4K image is seemingly derived from a 2K digital intermediate.
The disc's HDR and wide colour gamut features are both used aggressively but sensitively, too, to give the image dynamism and punch while hardly ever looking strained, noisy or gaudy.
Picture rating: 4.5/5
Audio: Sony's Ultra HD Blu-ray also sports an excellent Dolby Atmos soundtrack. Perhaps surprisingly given its superhero subject matter, its charm lies not in its foundation-ruining bass lines or stomach-wobbling explosions, but rather in the finer things in audio life. The track sparkles with high levels of detail liberally distributed around all your Atmos channels, bringing every environment to life with a lovely sense of scale and authenticity that fits perfectly with Spider-Man's relatively ‘earthly' character.
The score, too, is given the full Atmos treatment, including lots of stereo separation, even in the rear channels, and a height element that's stirringly used to expand the soundstage during action and outdoor scenes.
Some may find the mix a little restrained during big action set-pieces, such as the passenger ferry ‘incident'. But there's a case to be made for reining in some of a soundtrack's extremes when the compensation is more clarity.
Audio rating: 4.5/5
Extras: The 4K Spider-Man: Homecoming disc carries a couple of features. The Spidey Study Guide sounds intriguing with its promise of pop-up trivia on the Marvel comic world, but will soon bore all but the most die-hard of fans. The 4K disc's photo gallery is more fun, featuring some gorgeous shots of concept artwork and behind-the-scenes footage.
The accompanying HD Blu-ray delivers more than an hour of further goodies, including a short gag reel, a sequence of deleted and extended scenes most notable for their unfinished special effects, a series of hilarious Captain America public safety videos, and a bunch of featurettes covering everything from the film's casting process to its stunts, director and the creation of the Vulture.
Extras rating: 4/5
We say: This thoroughly modern, highly entertaining reboot places Spidey – tonally and narratively – at the heart of the MCU.
Spider-Man: Homecoming, Sony Pictures, Ultra HD Blu-ray & All-region BD, £30
HCC VERDICT: 4.5/5
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