Spiderman [Blu-Ray] Sam Raimi

Spiderman [Blu-Ray] Sam Raimi
Perfectly timed to part fans from their dollars, as interest in Marvel's formerly most lucrative property rises to coincide with the impending release of Marc Webb's wall-crawler revival, The Amazing Spiderman, Sony is reissuing the Sam Raimi films that brought superheroes back to respectability after Joel Schumacher (Batman & Robin) attempted cultural genocide via Bat-nipples and Chris O'Donnell. Other than a marketing opportunity, re-watching Spiderman serves as a good reminder of what made this version of the character unique in a sea of brooding, upper-class do-gooders. Sam Raimi's Spiderman is colourful, vibrant, enthusiastic and wholly in love with its pulpy comic roots. With the exception of a few shoddy shots of CGI-Spidey, the visual presentation was revolutionary ― the way the camera eschews cuts to smoothly follow the web-slinger as he swoops and spins through the air is dynamic and exhilarating without confusing the eye's ability to clearly follow complex movement. Peter Park (Tobey Maguire) has a prototypical origin story: an accident gives him superpowers and the death of a father figure inspires the judicious use of his abilities in service of the greater good. Where Parker differs from Bruce Wayne, Tony Stark or Clark Kent and the fictional universe(s) they inhabit is that he's a regular kid with regular problems (well, except for being a science prodigy). He wasn't born with powers or the privilege to pursue them; he is driven by circumstance and guilt. Other than James Franco's stiff performance, the cast is uniformly strong, from Kirsten Dunst's insecure narcissism as Mary Jane to Willem Dafoe's feverish depiction of dissociative identity disorder as Norman Osborn, to J.K. Simmons's note-perfect, hypocritical, rabid dog personification of opportunistic newsman J. Jonah Jameson and the doting warmth of Rosemary Harris as Aunt May. In lieu of any new features, which surely could have at least pointed out how many now much higher-profile actors Raimi had the foresight to cast in bit parts ― keep your eyes out for True Blood's Joe Manganiello as Flash Thompson, Elizabeth Banks as Jameson's assistant and Octavia Spencer as little more than an extra ― this iteration collects all of the extras from previous releases. This makes for an exhaustive amount of behind-the-scenes footage, cast and crew interviews, and various production features, most of which have a pretty high volume of redundancy. "Spiderman: The Mythology of the 21st Century" is among the strongest extra, focusing on the history of the character in comics with creator Stan Lee and members of the stable of artists and writers who've applied their talents to the iconic arachnid over the years. As is the norm for his contributions, interview footage with composer Danny Elfman is especially informative and engaging ― the prolific musician has no qualms about revealing his process. Also included are a couple screen tests, a hilarious gag reel headlined by a bat-shit crazy Dafoe hamming it up in the Goblin suit, even more production features, two crappy music videos from Canadian artists, one of which we'd like to pretend never happened, three separate feature commentary tracks and the ability to re-edit the movie, which will hopefully be an option for the third film, where it would really come in handy. (Sony)