Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse Ultra HD Blu-ray Review

Ralph Potts reviews the Ultra HD Blu-ray release of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, the Academy Award winner for Best Animated Feature, that offers viewers a fresh vision of the Spider-Man universe with a groundbreaking visual style that’s the first of its kind.

The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )

Film:

Extras:

Audio/UHD Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )

100

Details:

Studio and Year: Sony Pictures – 2018
MPAA Rating: PG
Feature running time: 117 minutes
Genre: Action/Fantasy

Disc Format: BD-66
Encoding: HEVC
Video Aspect: 2.39:1
Resolution: 2160p/24

Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1, DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, French/Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish French
Starring: Shameik Moore, Jake Johnson, Hailee Steinfeld, Mahershala Ali, Brian Tyree Henry, Lily Tomlin, Live Schrieber, Luna Lauren, Zoe Kravitz, Kathryn Hahn, John Mulaney, Nicholas Cage, Chris Pine
Directed by: Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, Randy Rothman
Music by: Daniel Pemberton
Written by: Phil Lord and Rodney Rothman
Region Code: A,B,C

Release Date: March 19, 2019

“Anyone Can Wear the Mask”

Synopsis:

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse comes from Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, the creative minds behind The Lego Movie and 21 Jump Street, with a groundbreaking visual style that the first of its kind and, introduces Brooklyn teen Miles Morales, and the limitless possibilities of the Spider-Verse, where more than one can wear the iconic mask.” – Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

My Take:

As a youngster I was a big Spider-Man fan. This was actually born first out of watching the cartoon series on TV then going on to read the comics. Spidey was and is easy to like and the character has a transcendent appeal that has endured. When the first film series come out, I was initially skeptical about how effectively he could be brought to the big screen. The various iterations have had their strengths and weaknesses but, all in all, I have enjoyed them.

I was intrigued when I learned of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. It would be the Spider-Man’s first animated feature film and, I liked the idea of a re-imagining of the character. When it was released in theaters last year my 24-year-old son, who is a big Spider-Man fan, was there on day one. He thought it was extremely well done and loved it.

I sat down with it with high expectations, not only because of my son’s reports but, because it won a Golden Globe and Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film. Slider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse lived up to the hype. The differing narrative spin regarding the opening of the space time continuum which draws Spider-Man’s counterparts from differing time periods aka the “Spider-Verse. The narrative is not only refreshing in its conceptual approach but from a visual standpoint as well, feeling like a three-dimensional motion comic of sorts. Lastly, it opens the door for further exploration via its tweak of the Spider-Man mythos. I thoroughly enjoyed Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.

Replay Value:

Parental Guide:

The rating is for frenetic sequences of animated action violence, thematic elements, and mild language.

AUDIO/VIDEO – By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100/EXCELLENT = 83-91/GOOD = 74-82/AVERAGE = 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**

UHD Presentation: 100
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

 

  • HDR: Dark Highlights: 
  • HDR: Bright Highlights: 
  • HDR: Expanded Color: 
  • Resolution: 
  • Visual Impact: 

 

Dolby Atmos Rating: 100
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

 

  • Level of immersion: 
  • Soundstage integration: 
  • Audio object placement: 
  • Effectiveness of Atmos platform: 
  • Entertainment factor: 

 

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse comes to Ultra HD Blu-ray from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment featuring 2160pHEVC encoded video and lossless Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1 channel sound.

I wasn’t able to determine whether Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse was rendered from a 4K or 2K DI for its presentation on Ultra HD Blu-ray. Digital animation tends to look quite good in high definition so I couldn’t help but have preconceived notions regarding a positive viewing experience of this film in Ultra HD, especially given its unique visual aesthetic.

In terms of resolution the differences between the 1080p and Ultra HD renderings are apparent as there is a noticeably finer texture in the minutia, especially in the characteristics/physical makeup of the characters. This also applied to backgrounds which emphasized depth of field. The image has lots of pop as the expanded color gamut and emboldened dynamic range draw out the film’s bright chromatic palate and use of contrast. Whites are gradational and bright and the monochromatic grays, blues and black featured in the sequences with limited lighting, of which there are many, are multi-staged and dimensional in appearance.
The application of HDR added a complimentary and defining element that proved eye-catching.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse looks in terrific 1080p and the Ultra HD rendering, while not a staggering improvement, enhances its many attributes, making for a visually stimulating and top-notch video presentation.

Dolby Atmos:

In listening to the Dolby Atmos surround mix I found it to be of the active variety that makes effective use of the platform. This film is tailor made for immersive sound as the blend of audio objects placed in the height channels contains atmospherics and discrete effects. At times it creates a tangible level of 3D immersion that is attention grabbing.

The extended scene, early in the film, where Miles meets Spider-Man during the battle with The Green Goblin opens the door to what to expect as the various sounds/effects turn the room into a multi-dimensional listening space. The mix effectively places effects/sounds within the soundstage which place you within the scene, in turn, adding an enriching element that heightens the intended feeling like something is passing overhead, traveling through the room, or emanating from a specific location.

There are both large set pieces and smaller/brief sequences/moments that show off this well-crafted immersive sound design. Everything comes together during the final act’s encounter as sounds rotate and revolve around the soundstage from both above and at ear level. I enjoyed the balance of atmosphere, discrete object placement and room energizing bass. I think that it complimented the source material, and made for an entertaining and invigorating listening experience.

For those not familiar with the details regarding Ultra HD Blu-ray you can refer to my article that includes some pertinent data on the subject. Here is the link:

Ultra HD Blu-ray Has Come to AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Blu-ray Video:

Video: 100
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

 

  • Resolution/Clarity: 
  • Black Level/Shadow Detail: 
  • Color Reproduction: 
  • Fleshtones:
  • Compression: 

 

Audio: 100
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

 

  • Dynamics: 
  • Low frequency effects: 
  • Surround Sound presentation: 
  • Clarity/Detail: 
  • Dialog Reproduction: 
  • DSU/DTS Neural:X Rating * (non-rated element): NA

 

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse comes to Blu-ray Disc from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound.

This is a stunning and reference quality high definition presentation that delivers flawless imagery. The video quality is visually arresting in its depiction of the film’s animated elements. Detail and definition is impeccably rendered as images have a luminous and sparkling clarity that is appreciably three dimensional. It never left me wanting for fine degrees of subtle delineation and texture. The attention to detail in the construction of the animated characters physical features as well as objects within each frame is superb. I couldn’t get over the depth of the beautifully rendered colors. Colors are deeply saturated with lustrous vibrancy and succulent textures that literally leap off of the screen. Primaries are particularly striking and exhibit visible gradational stages that bring out subtle degrees of separation.

Each of the characters has distinctive physical qualities that are attributable to them not only in size and shape but color as well. Blacks are inky with extended dynamic range and deep gradational highlights. The dark and shadow filled environs featured in the story exhibit a near infinite level of dimension, with superb contrast and visible shading that drew out lots of detail. I loved this high definition presentation and thoroughly enjoyed viewing it on my big screen.

The Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (Dolby Atmos core available on the UHD only) and DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound is reference quality and sounds superb. This animated film uses an intricate sound design that has to maintain a delicate balance so the plethora of sound effects, music and dialogue within the soundtrack can be clearly and easily interpreted by the audience. Dialogue is distinctly perceptible and well-articulated so that even subtle changes in the inflection of the voices among the cast was detectable.

Sound effects are accurately placed within the sound field and establish a tight correlation between the onscreen information and what is being heard within the listening environment. This creates an immersive, active and involving soundscape that is abundantly rich in detail. Its wide dynamic range can go from subtle, intricate control to room energizing dynamism.

Low frequencies underscore sound effects and reinforce the dynamic impact of the audio. Response is authoritative, clean and on occasion prodigious as it fills the room with deep, tactile, low level bass energy. I found this to be a superlative mix that creates a stable and immersive surround sound experience that achieves excellent balance so that all of the elements inherent in the recording can be realized.

Bonus Features:

  • Disc 1: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse Ultra HD Blu-ray
  • Disc 2: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
    • We Are Spider-Man: Exploring and celebrating one of the key themes of the film, We Are Spider-Man takes a deep dive into the diversity of the characters and aspirational core that any person from any gender or cultural background can wear the mask.
    • Spider-Verse: A New Dimension: With a stunning visual style and state of the art animation designed to take the viewer into the pages of a comic, Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse is not only a love letter to comic books but a groundbreaking take on the super hero genre. Hear from the artists and filmmakers who pushed the boundaries of the artform as they discuss their journey.
    • The Ultimate Comics Cast: Enjoy this showcase of all of the fan favorite characters featured in the Spider-Verse and the spectacular cast who were chosen to bring them to life.
    • A Tribute to Stan Lee & Steve Ditko: Celebrate the amazing legacy and powerful spirit of the creators of Spider-Man.
    • The Spider-Verse Super-Fan Easter Egg Challenge: The Spider-Verse is loaded with Easter Eggs, from cameos to comics references. Fans are challenged to find them all!
    • Designing Cinematic Comics Characters: A breakdown of all aspects of the character design including costume, movement in animation, and distinct powers for each character.
    o Heroes & Hams: Meet the amazing Spider-people of the Spider-Verse.
    o Scorpions and Scoundrels: Explore the classic villains who wreak havoc on the Spider-Verse.
    • Alternate Universe Mode: In this all-new viewing experience, discover alternate scenes, plotlines, characters, and more with the filmmakers as your guide.
    • 2 Lyric Videos
    o “Sunflower” by Post Malone and Swae Lee
    o “Familia” by Nicki Minaj & Anuel AA (feat. Bantu)
    • All-New Original Short “Spider-Ham: Caught In a Ham” It’s another normal day for Peter Porker, a.k.a. the Spectacular Spider-Ham, fighting bad guys and loving hot dogs, until a mysterious portal starts messing with the very fabric of his cartoon reality.
  • Digital Copy

Final Thoughts:

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is a refreshing and conceptually interesting animated feature film based on the iconic comic character. I loved its contemporary story that appropriately paid homage to Spider-Man’s roots while building upon the innate potential of why he remains popular today. It comes to Blu-ray in this Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment featuring audio/video quality that has earned it, the very rare, 100s across the board and, a fan friendly supplemental package that is well worth exploring. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse comes highly recommended on Blu-ray.

 

Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:

JVC DLA-RS500 3D/4K Ready High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6-HDR Meter from Spectracal)
Stewart Filmscreen – Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16×9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Electronic Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV7704 Audio/Video Processor
Emotiva XPA-7 Gen 3 Seven Channel Amplifier
Emotiva XPA-11 Gen 3 Amplifier
Panasonic DP-UB820 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton “Ergo” and Canton In-Ceiling Series Speakers
SVS Ultra Surrounds (Gloss Finish in Bipolar Configuration)
Dual SVS PC4000 Cylinder Subwoofers
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) – Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
AC Infinity Aircom T8 Component Cooling Systems