SRP $98.95 1.85:1/2.35:1 DOLBY TRUE HD 5.1 SONY
 
SRP 43.95 2.35:1 DOLBY TRUEHD 5.1/PCM 5.1 SONY
 

Certainly one of the most anticipated releases on blu-ray, "SPIDER-MAN TRILOGY" is being released by SONY. Only "SPIDER-MAN 3" is available as an individual option to purchase. "SPIDER-MAN," certainly has more than a fair share of dazzling moments. Most of the film works splendidly, creating a unique atmosphere for this superhero to dwell in. The great casting, tight direction, and impressive CGI, help make the first entry of the trilogy enjoyable, although severely flawed about 2/3 of the way in.  Willem Dafoe, as the Green Goblin does a fine job. Unfortunately, the plotline involving him is less intriguing than his character deserves. He's just never as chilling as Magneto was in the first "X-Men," but shouldn't he be?  By the film's "climatic" confrontation between Spidey and him, a lot of the film's momentum is wearing out. Still, the last moments, taking place at a funeral, suddenly push the film's atmosphere exactly where it should be, and suggesting great potential for the follow-up film, "SPIDER-MAN 2."

Fortunately, "SPIDER-MAN 2" more than surpasses the original film in entertainment value. It's pitch-perfect in almost every aspect. While there are a few moments wherein the Dr. Octopus/Spiderman confrontation "almost" begins to wear thin, but Director Sam Raimi quickly pulls the film on track, and not only saves it, but makes the film the best in the series, as impressive a sequel as "ROAD WARRIOR" was to "MAD MAX" and, an all out, rousing, poignant, terrific film, that stands on its own! Thankfully, for those who were big enough fans of "SPIDER-MAN 2" to "double-dip" and purchase "SPIDER-MAN 2.1", featuring a few more additional scenes within the sequel, the option to watch either the theatrical version of "SPIDER-MAN 2" or the "extended SPIDER-MAN 2.1" is offered via seamless branching. 

"SPIDER-MAN 3" is ultimately disappointing, and the weakest of the series. While James Franco and Tobey Maguire are terrific, and Kirsten Dunst isn't bad, the sub-plot involving her character is just awful. In one of the weakest scenes of recent film memory, the audience is subjected to having to watch Dunst, as May Jane, Peter Parker's love interest, perform in a musical number. It's dreadful in any way! It's the kind of scene that would have saved Max Bialystock had he put it in "SPRINGTIME FOR HITLER." It's a show-stopper in the worst kind of way! Need we say more???  Not that we like to drag things out, but it's a perfect example of the misguided choices that permeate this film!  Somehow, against all odds, Franco and Maguire manage to create some well needed poignancy by the film's conclusion, but the audience is frequently punished in getting there. "SPIDER-MAN 3" offers none of the creativity that made "SPIDER-MAN 2" so great!

SONY has provided the correct 1.85:1 aspect ratio for "SPIDER-MAN 1" and 2.35:1 for "SPIDER-MAN 2," "SPIDER-MAN 2.1" and "SPIDER-MAN 3," with 1080p/AVC MPEG-4. 

The image on "SPIDER-MAN 1" is disappointing for blu-ray. While colors tend to look decent, there are more than a few scenes, especially during darker moments, wherein the contrast is pumped up too much, creating less than favorable detail. In fact, there are far too many moments where the image appears flat.

"SPIDER-MAN 2" offers an outstanding transfer in comparison. Colors are extremely vibrant. Deep blacks and grays provide rich detail in the darkest scenes. The depth to this image is outstanding! Even with a consistently grainy finish, the stunning detail is never compromised. Virtually every frame offers a "knock your socks off" image!

"SPIDER-MAN 3" offers the best transfer of the three.  Colors are rich throughout. The contrast is flawless, and what makes it slightly even more impressive than the outstanding transfer of "SPIDER-MAN 2" is the fact that there's no grain to be found here.

SONY has provided Dolby TrueHD 5.1 mixes for all three films, as well as an additional option of PCM 5.1 mix for "SPIDER-MAN 3."

"SPIDERMAN" had impressive dynamic range, and deep bass, complimenting the terrific score. It's an aggressive mix, with plenty of surround/panning effects. Unfortunately, there are a few instances wherein the dialogue is slightly hindered by distortion. Still, these only manage to detract from an otherwise wonderful mix.

"SPIDER-MAN 2" offers an even more aggressive mix than the first film, with better overall fidelity and no sign of distortion.  This is a multi-layered mix, and music, dialogue and numerous effects are perfectly balanced, without ever overshadowing one another. A real "demonstration quality" presentation!

The differences between Dolby TrueHD 5.1 and PCM 5.1 mix options on "SPIDER-MAN 3" are slight. Still, the edge would go to the PCM mix, due to just barely improved bass effects.  Both mixes are extremely aggressive, and this is absolutely one of the best "DEMONSTRATION QUALITY" presentations of any blu-ray so far. In addition to the great score being flawlessly boosted through all speakers, a careful blend of aggressive and subtle effects showcase the delicate balance with which the sound design team perfected this final presentation. WOW!!! It's just that great!

Surprisingly SONY elected to not carry over any of the extras found on the comparable dvds of "SPIDER-MAN" and "SPIDER-MAN 2." At least "SPIDER-MAN 3" has 2 discs and numerous extras!

In addition to two fine commentaries, offered on disc 1, the 2nd disc offers a music video, galleries and bloopers. The 2nd disc offers some great featurettes!