Spider-Man: Homecoming (4K Blu-ray) (2017)
|Year Of Production||2017|
|RSDL / Flipper||
Dual Disc Set
|Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||1,2,3,4,5,6||Directed By||Jon Watts|
Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Robert Downey Jr.
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Atmos
German DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
Japanese DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.40:1|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.40:1||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||Yes|
|Action In or After Credits||Yes, Mid and post-credits scenes|
†††† 2017ís Spider-Man: Homecoming represents the second reboot of the titular Marvel character in just a decade, which may seem excessive and even unnecessary a mere three years following the release of The Amazing Spider-Man 2. But Sony have done it right this time, collaborating with the good folks over at Marvel Studios to create the best possible cinematic rendering of the popular web-slinging superhero, at last. Although this introductory picture is less than perfect, Homecoming nails both the characters and the world that they inhabit, which is what matters the most going forward into the inevitable sequels. Of course, for more involved film-goers, the title does ostensibly hold dual meaning - the story takes place in the lead-up to the school homecoming dance, but the movie also sees the character finally joining the expansive Marvel Cinematic Universe after his introduction in 2016ís Captain America: Civil War. And what a homecoming this truly is, with director Jon Watts (Cop Car) paying attention to both colourful action sequences as well as the high school drama. And, perhaps best of all, unlike the dire Amazing Spider-Man pictures, it feels like youíre watching an actual self-contained story here, rather than an extended trailer for future movies.
†††† Picking up a few months following the events of Civil War, Peter Parker (Tom Holland) spends his afternoons prowling the streets of New York City as Spider-Man, desperately waiting for a phone call from Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) about his next mission. However, the 15-year-old must still tend to his high school studies, hanging around with his best friend Ned (Jacob Batalon) and harbouring a crush on sweet senior student Liz (Laura Harrier). Peter keeps his crime-fighting activities a secret from Aunt May (Maria Tomei), who believes that heís taking part in a Stark Industries internship program. Peterís patrols are typically unexciting, until he spots and thwarts an ATM robbery being carried out by criminals using powerful weapons. Further investigating the matter, Peter discovers that Adrian Toomes (Michael Keaton) is using alien tech recovered from the New York Chitauri invasion to manufacture weaponry to sell on the black market and turn himself into airborne threat The Vulture. Anxious to prove himself, Peter takes it upon himself to foil Toomesí plans, despite outside pressure and his own inexperience.
†††† Thankfully, Spider-Man: Homecoming eschews rehashing the well-worn origin story of Spider-Man yet again, catching up with Peter who has already been bitten by a radioactive spider, and whoís already using his Stark-manufactured suit to keep the streets of NYC safe. The approach pays off, particularly since origin stories generally arenít as much fun and the formula is now stale. Itís certainly what we needed right now, though it might not make full sense to newcomers in a few decades - there is a brief aside in which Peter mentions the radioactive spider, but perhaps something more concrete would have more staying power. With a script credited to six writers, Homecoming is as much about adolescence and high school life as it is about saving the world. This is the first time a Spider-Man movie actually feels authentic in its depiction of high school life. All previous attempts felt too Hollywood, but the characters look their age here, and Peter isnít so much a social outcast but just a regular teen who seems well-liked enough, if not exactly popular due to his intelligence and meekness. Little touches help to solidify the sense of authenticity, such as his fondness for building Star Wars LEGO with Ned.
†††† Homecoming allows Peter to use his intellect as much as his strength - this is a detective story in some respects, and he calls upon Ned to provide some technological support along the way. Whatís also refreshing is that Homecoming provides a different perspective to the MCU, since itís set outside Avengers HQ and shows high school life within this universe. One especially amusing touch is that, even though Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) is now considered a criminal, school teachers are still obligated to play fluffy educational videos featuring Captain America. Homecoming is frequently amusing, adding levity to the proceedings and making it feel closer to a John Hughes teen comedy rather than just another blockbuster. This is slyly solidified in a sequence that pays homage to Ferris Buellerís Day Off (complete with people actually watching the scene being referenced). Whereas the Amazing Spider-Man films were sullen and dark, Homecoming is enjoyable and bubbly. It helps that comedy writers were involved in the screenwriting process, including Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley (Horrible Bosses, Vacation). Homecoming should play fine for the uninitiated as it isnít burdened by extensive world-building, though there are subtle references to the MCU that long-time fans will pick up. The script even makes a shrewd reference to the first Sam Raimi Spider-Man movie, and there appears to be a very cheeky underlying metaphor about Peter begging to be part of the Avengers...
†††† This is Wattsí first time overseeing a big-budget blockbuster, and even though he seems like an odd choice considering his previous credits, he handles the responsibility with assuredness and grace. Itís certainly refreshing to watch a more grounded and smaller-scale superhero movie, as Peter does for the most part function as the ďfriendly neighbourhood Spider-Man,Ē stopping mundane crimes as he craves tackling something bigger. The climax set in and around a large cargo plane up in the air is certainly vast in scale, but Watts keeps the film on a tight leash. In fact, all of the action set-pieces are armrest-clenching, thanks to taut direction and enormously convincing visual effects. Watts also proves to be adept at cinematic tension - when a twist of sorts is revealed, the subsequent couple of scenes dealing with said twist are almost too intense to bear. In fact, one particular scene set in a car could be the most nail-biting, gripping moment in the entire MCU canon. Homecoming is backed by an enjoyable selection of vintage songs, including tunes from the Ramones and The Rolling Stones, while Michael Giacchinoís original score is superb, opening with a brilliant rendition of the classic Spider-Man theme song to set the scene.
†††† After making such a positive impression in Civil War, Holland continues to delight as the titular hero, emerging as arguably the best cinematic Peter Parker/Spider-Man to date. The young Brit offers a real take on the character, making him feel lived-in and real, and giving him an authentic-sounding Queens accent. Holland is a believable smartarse, but you can also believe him as an intelligent student and a young man in love. Downey, meanwhile, is a valuable presence as Stark, scoring a few laughs and providing some meaty moments of drama. Added to this, he still shares magical chemistry with Holland. Surprisingly, Downey really shows up to play here - this is far more than just a ďphoned inĒ cameo. Itís also a treat to see the return of Jon Favreau as Happy Hogan, and thereís an excellent scene towards the end of the movie that makes Homecoming well worth seeing for fans of the Iron Man trilogy.
†††† Another huge win is Toomes, played to perfection by Keaton. Toomes is not a monster whoís simply determined to kill innocents, but rather a blue-collar worker whoís screwed over by the system, and who just wants to make a living to protect his family and his workers. Keaton (who was, of course, seen in 2014ís Birdman, making him a fun pick for The Vulture) ensures the character remains human, but heís also sinister when he wants to be. Another aspect that really works is Peterís suit A.I., voiced by Jennifer Connolly. (Whoís married to Paul Bettany, otherwise known as Jarvis/Vision, which is just a f***ing adorable touch.) Zendaya is a downright treat as one of Peterís classmates, delivering some of the biggest laughs in the movie, while you can truly believe that Batalonís Ned is best friends with Peter, and Tomei proves to once again be an endearing Aunt May.
†††† The only thing thatís lacking in Homecoming is the emotional resonance we usually see in the MCU (and which made Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 such a standout). The whole Uncle Ben storyline has been thoroughly played out, and while itís wise that the movie avoids rehashing it a third time, thereís no emotional reference point to replace the function it has previously served in Spider-Man movies. Nevertheless, Spider-Man: Homecoming is a delightfully fun, eminently rewatchable superhero blockbuster, and it seems that this modern reimagining of the web-slinger is thankfully here to stay this time, leaving the previous reboot dead in the water. This one ranks behind Raimiís Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2 (both of which still hold up), but itís superior to Spider-Man 3 and the two (less-than)Amazing movies. In typical Marvel fashion, there are two additional scenes after the movie - one midway through the credits, and another at the end of the credits. Stick around for both.
†††† Spider-Man: Homecoming joins the steadily increasing list of 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray discs with Dolby Vision High Dynamic Range, as opposed to just HDR10. (If your equipment is incapable of playing DV, the disc simply defaults to HDR10.) The movie was shot digitally with Arri Alexa cameras and reportedly only completed at 2K, presumably making this 2160p presentation an upscale of the digital intermediate. Sony makes use of a dual-layered BD-66, which is sufficient to accommodate the two-hour movie given that the disc doesn't contain much else. Framed at the movie's original aspect ratio of 2.39:1 (though Peter's vlogs are 1.33:1), the HEVC/H.265-encoded transfer provides a noticeable upgrade over its 1080p counterpart from the very first frame, with superior textural precision and increased sharpness, not to mention better highlights and colour.
†††† First things first, the Dolby Vision HDR allows for a more vibrant palette all-around. Colour depth is significantly improved, the visuals pop at every turn, and Peter's suit looks more saturated and accurate. Contrast is also better compared to the standard Blu-ray, allowing for more precise detailing. In addition, detail on Peter's suit is hugely improved, with every nook, cranny and wrinkle being effortlessly brought out, even in middle and long shots. Facial close-ups of Keaton are always bursting with textures, even in lower-light scenes when clarity remains excellent and the transfer is stable. As with the 1080p Blu-ray, sharpness is consistently exceptional, and thankfully the presentation looks natural - there are no signs of noise reduction or edge enhancement. Admittedly, the video doesn't exhibit the definitive pop of fine detail of the best 4K Blu-rays currently available, and does look a touch too smooth from time to time, but it's not a huge deal.
†††† The video encode is strong from start to finish, with the transfer showing no signs of crush, aliasing, banding or other encoding anomalies. The shortcomings of the video presentation are likely traceable to the source, and I doubt it could look any better on disc. It is a bit of a shame that Homecoming wasn't completed at 4K (like all the other previous Spider-Man movies), as that would have noticeably improved the quality of the image and could have pushed it into the realm of demo material. Nevertheless, the transfer is no slouch, and there are enough "wow" moments throughout. This is the best way to experience Spider-Man: Homecoming on home video. If you're 4K-compatible, this disc is well worth the asking price.
†††† Subtitles are available. I had no problems with the English track.
†††† Thankfully, the 4K Blu-ray ups the ante on the audio front as well by offering a lossless Dolby Atmos mix, as opposed to the 5.1 track included on the standard 1080p Blu-ray and the 3D Blu-ray. It's a fairly significant upgrade, offering more fluid panning and more pronounced surround channel use. I cannot fully assess the Atmos track since I only have a 7.1 set-up without any overhead speakers, but I still noticed the difference, and any audiophiles should be left happy. Dialogue is always well-prioritised and easy to hear, even despite the slight muffle whenever Peter speaks with his Spider-Man mask on. Of course, too, the dialogue during Peter's vlogs is deliberately warped just a tad, to make it feel like it was shot with consumer equipment.
†††† There is plenty of surround activity throughout, with ambience as well as music coming through the rear channels, and the track is aggressive when it needs to be. As with the 5.1 mix, it's the panning effects which really stand out when the occasion calls for it. When Peter throws away his shoes in the alley whilst changing into his Spidey suit, the sound of the shoes hitting the ground comes from the rear channels. When the Vulture's men fire their alien weapons at Peter when he's hanging off the back of their van, the sounds of the laser bolts pan to the rear channels. These types of moments are present throughout, and the track sounds fuller and richer compared to the 5.1 mix. The subwoofer, too, is engaged during the loud action set-pieces and packs a real punch.
†††† There are no encoding flaws to speak of, such as drop-outs, pops or sync issues, and the track is crystal clear thanks to the lossless codec. Spider-Man: Homecoming sounds excellent on 4K Blu-ray, and it's a great one to show off your expensive surround sound system.
|Surround Channel Use|
†††† The 4K disc itself contains no extras, but the set also contains the standard 1080p Blu-ray which contains a selection of special features.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
† † All 4K discs worldwide are more or less identical, only differing in terms of language options.
†††† Thank goodness that Sony decided to kill its terrible Amazing Spider-Man franchise and collaborate with Marvel to bring him into the MCU. Spider-Man: Homecoming is an ideal beginning of a new franchise, and I already cannot wait for the inevitable sequels. Spider-Man is finally in good hands.
†††† Without a doubt, Sony's 4K Blu-ray is the best way to experience Homecoming, with top-notch video and excellent Atmos audio representing a significant upgrade over its standard Blu-ray counterpart. I still wish there were more extras, but this set nevertheless comes recommended.
|DVD||LG UP970 4K UHD HDR Blu-ray Player, using HDMI output|
|Display||LG OLED65E6T. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 2160p.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.|
|Amplification||Samsung Series 7 HT-J7750W|
|Speakers||Samsung Tall Boy speakers, 7.1 set-up|