HTF UMD REVIEW: Spider-Man 2

Discussion in 'Gaming' started by David Galindo, Jun 16, 2005.

  1. David Galindo

    David Galindo Screenwriter

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    [c]Spider-Man 2 (UMD)
    Region 1 • PG-13 • Subtitles: English • Available Now

    [​IMG][/c]

    Note: this review is on the free Spider-Man 2 UMD w/PSP offered at launch. I have confirmed that this and the version in stores are exactly the same.

    Thoughts on the Movie

    Spider-Man 2 is definitely one of the best comic book movies, hands down. It also ranks up there with some of the best action films, because this movie gets a LOT of things right. It sets Spider-Man in New York, gives him real problems like rent money and family issues (and the occasional car thrown at him), and just observes how difficult a superhero’s life can be. It’s fascinating, watching Peter Parker’s life basically fall apart only because he chooses to serve the people with his superpowers.

    I’m goin on the record to say that this will likely be the best Spider-Man movie in the trilogy. The first movie was OK, certainly not a classic unlike its sequel. The third movie will just tie up the loose ends…what else can a third movie do, when it’s clear that this is the final film in the franchise? This movie was the chance to see how Peter Parker lives, his emotions and lifestyle…the man behind the mask, essentially. And boy, did they nail it.

    Looking at some smaller points in the film, I loved how they changed key scenes in the first movie to comic book form and show them in the beginning of the film, giving us a recap without any text or voiceover. I also loved how Peter had a choice to live a life without Spider-Man and date the girl next door, but doesn’t. I also liked the subtle nods to the first movie, as well as some great funny moments (Hey! He stole that guy’s pizza!). Certainly one of the best comic book movies ever, though I haven’t seen Batman Begins and I’m sure that will change my mind rather soon. [​IMG]

    Video Quality

    The PSP screen is one of the best LCD screens ever made for a handheld device under $300. It is absolutely beautiful, and would have been perfect had it not been for one key flaw: the refresh rate. The LCD has a slower refresh rate than larger screens, which can sometimes give a “ghosting” effect to fast moving objects. This is not apparent when you play games on the PSP, and many movies seem to be just fine (like Kill Bill, which had almost no apparent ghosting at all). In fact, the only color that the PSP has an issue with is red, which looks great when still or moving slowly, but ghosts quite a bit when it moves fast.

    Not good if the main character in a movie is dressed in red for more than half the movie, eh?

    And that’s the main problem I have with this movie…the ghosting can be pretty bad sometimes. It’s pretty much in plain site 70% of the time. I honestly cannot fault the UMD for this, since it’s more of a hardware issue than the actual UMD transfer.

    Aside from that, this movie looks great. The film is very sharp, although I am a bit bummed that Sony cut the 2.35 ratio down to 1.78 (although I am thankful they added a warning about this before the movie starts). In the end, the PSP failed to deliver more than the UMD did.

    3/5
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    Audio Quality

    Usually when I finish a UMD movie I write up quick video and audio impressions to use in my final review. But I actually could not think of anything extraordinary about the audio here…so much so that I had to watch some scenes again and attentively listen for great sound. Then I realized great sound should slam you in the face, instead of having to search for it.

    When I say great sound, I don’t mean loud sound. Great sound should have good separation on all objects, panning surrounds, great highs and bass, and a good distinction between shotgun blasts and door slams. While the movie sounds good when it comes to music and voices, the action scenes are totally bland. Shotguns sound about on par with cars being thrown through windows and slamming the ground…does that sound right to you on paper? It doesn’t to me, and it doesn’t in the movie.

    Oh, the audio gets the job done. But it doesn’t try too hard, unlike say Terminator 2 or even Sony’s own Hollow Man. Yeah, it was one of the first UMDs available, but even the trailers on the sampler disc that came with the PSP impressed me more than this UMD did.

    2.5/5
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    Extras

    No extras, no chapter selections, just a few promotional trailers for other UMDs. Not too surprising given the fact that this is the first UMD movie made, but how I miss a chapter selection here, since it takes WAY too long to skip to your favorite scenes.

    0.5/5
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    Overall…

    So, for the first one million PSP owners, you pretty much watched this movie about a dozen times or so since it came with the PSP. For the late adopters, you get to buy the same movie we got for free. I guess the big consolation would be a nice UMD case and a promotional insert.

    You can find this movie for $15, but many stores that accept game trade-ins will likely have this movie used, perhaps cheaper. Definitely call around before heading to the store on this one. I’m going to recommended this for fans only, since this is a very bare bones UMD that tragically has no chapter selection.

    2.5/5
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  2. David Galindo

    David Galindo Screenwriter

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    Well, I was right...I saw Batman Begins last night, and it was completely amazing. One of the best comic book movies ever made, hands down. Wow.
     

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