The Amazing Spider-Man in 3D

The web-swinging superhero's stereoscopic reboot doesn't quite live up to its hyperbolic title

How soon is too soon when it comes to rebooting a popular film franchise? It’s only been five years since the release of Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 3, but here we have a film that goes back to the beginning for the web-slinging superhero.

Of course, given how many times the character has been rebooted in print, die-hard Spidey fans shouldn’t really have that much of a problem with the idea. And for the more casual audience, there are enough new twists, plus the sparky on-screen chemistry between leads Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone, to warrant a viewing. Although it is a disappointment that the film’s villain, Kurt Connors/The Lizard, has been given such short shrift by the writers. Rhys Ifans does the best he can with the role, but there’s little in the way of characterisation and motivation for him to work with. So once again we have ended up with a superhero blockbuster where an all-too-human hero must face off against a personality-free lump of CGI.

Amazing, then? Hardly. But I suppose The Adequate Spider-Man doesn’t quite have the impact the studio was hoping for.

Picture: Surprisingly, director Marc Webb has opted for a darker, almost Dark Knight-esque aesthetic for his take on Spidey. While this stylistic approach didn’t exactly meet with unanimous approval amongst the staff of this magazine, at least the Blu-ray does an solid job of realising it in your front room – at least in its 2D form.

Our real problem is that, despite all the hoopla the filmmakers made shooting the movie in 3D and what a great fit the character is for the format, this MVC 2.40:1 1080p encode does little to make itself stand out from the stereoscopic crowd. Sure, there's some interesting and convincing use of spatial depth - such as Spider-Man sitting on his web in the sewer in Chapter 12, or the obligatory Stan Lee cameo in Chapter 13 - but much of it is so dark that the 3D image frequently looks flat and dull. If you want to make the most of the clarity and detailing the encode is relly capable of, we recommend sticking with the 2D presentation.

Picture rating: 4/5

Audio: Now we're talking! The Amazing Spider-Man’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix offers practically everything you’d demand from a modern blockbuster. Naturally, the action scenes are dynamic and full of powerful low-end sonics, but it’s the precision of the positional effects, and their movement around the soundstage, that really brings Spidey’s world to life in your front room.

Audio rating: 5/5

Extras: As well as the film (in 2D and 3D), the first disc in this BD set features a commentary by director Marc Webb and producers Avi Arad and Matt Tolmach, plus a pair of 3D featurettes – the six-minute 3D 101 with Director Mark Webb and the three-minute Iconic Poses and Digital Environments. The former is a beginner's guide to 3D filmmaking, with Webb chatting about the technicalities of shooting stereoscopically and the 3ality camera rig they used on the film, followed by a reel of three sequences played with varying convergence settings. Meanwhile, Iconic Poses... is a 3D progression reel showing how some visual effects elements were created in 3D, with commentary from animation supervisor David Schaub.

Moving on to the second Blu-ray platter, first up is the excellent seven-part Rites of Passage: The Amazing Spider-Man Reborn. Running a few seconds shy of 110 minutes in total, it's an in-depth look at the making of the movie and the reasoning behind rebooting the franchise.

Also included on the disc are 11 deleted and alternate scenes (17 mins), a couple of which add some much-needed characterisation to Kurt Connors, 16 pre-viz videos, three art galleries (Spider-Man, The Lizard and Environments) housing more than 200 images between them, four 'image progression reels' (High School Fight Sequence, The Lizard Emerges, Sewer Battle and a 2D presentation of Iconic Poses and Digital Environments), eight stunt rehearsal videos and a promo featurette for the tie-in videogame.

Extras rating: 4/5

We say: Not quite the 'amazing' 3D experience we had hoped for, but a pretty heroic Blu-ray package nonetheless.

Sony Pictures, All-region BD, £27 Approx, On sale November 26