Spider-Man: Far From Home (4K UHD Review)
Release Date(s)2019 (October 1, 2019)
Studio(s)Columbia Pictures/Marvel Studios/Sony Pictures Releasing (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)
- Film/Program Grade: A
- Video Grade: A
- Audio Grade: B-
- Extras Grade: C+
Your favorite web-slinging teenager from Queens returns to the Marvel Cinematic Universe in Spider-Man: Far From Home, the highly-anticipated follow-up to 2017’s Spider-Man: Homecoming. In this entry, Peter Parker (Tom Holland) is still reeling from the events of Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, which “blipped” him out of existence for five years. As a consequence, he longs for a more normal life, attempting to take a break from being Spider-Man and focusing on school and his long-time crush MJ (Zendaya). He and his high school class take a field trip to Europe, but trouble isn’t far away as Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson, who Peter has been trying to avoid) shows up and encourages him to take up the Avengers mantle. A man named Quentin Beck (Jake Gyllenhaal) has arrived from Earth 833 (confirming multiverse theory) and asks for Peter’s help in stopping a series of elemental monsters that are popping up all over Europe. Meanwhile, MJ is becoming suspicious of Peter’s disappearances while his friend Ned (Jacob Batalon) continues to cover for him. Unbeknownst to everyone, a secret plot is being hatched by the cunning Mysterio, a master of deception and illusion, which will have long-term repercussions for both Peter and Spider-Man.
Like the previous film, Spider-Man: Far From Home is a deliriously enjoyable time at the movies. Comic book fans may find things about it to nitpick, but the team behind the MCU continues to produce quality mainstream entertainment. Of course, the key to Spider-Man’s appeal is Tom Holland. He perfectly overcomes the obstacles that are the reason why the Peter Parker character has been so difficult to adapt over the years. His naiveté, mixed with his desire to rise above the adverse circumstances he constantly finds himself in (whether they be superhero-related or otherwise), is a relatable combination. Far From Home adds a few new wrinkles to his growing list of problems, the most damaging of which is revealed in the film’s final moments.
Far From Home also offers a variety of fun action sequences mixed with lighthearted humor and effective melodrama. However, the MVP of the story is Mysterio, a new character to the MCU who is incredibly well-realized. The sequence featuring Spider-Man caught in a series of Mysterio’s illusions (with a touch of horror dropped in) is quite disorienting and effective. The other supporting characters also have their time to shine, especially Ned and MJ. And the film ends on such an amazing cliffhanger that it makes the next chapter in the Spider-Man franchise even more anticipatory.
Spider-Man: Far From Home was shot digitally in the ARRIRAW codec (at 2.8 and 3.4K) using Arri Alexa Mini and RED Ranger 8K VV cameras with Zeiss Master Prime and Angenieux Optimo lenses. It was finished as a 2K Digital Intermediate at the 2.39:1 scope ratio for its theatrical release (with some scenes formatted in 1.90:1 for its IMAX release, as well as 1.78:1 for the lower grade school news report portions). The DI was upsampled for its release on Ultra HD and graded for high dynamic range in Dolby Vision (HDR10 is also available). It’s worth noting that the UHD only offers the 2.39:1 presentation minus the shifting ratios of the IMAX footage (a Blu-ray 3D is due to be released in the UK, which may or may not include it). There's a definite improvement over its 1080p counterpart with deeper and more refined textures, especially on background objects, as well as a wider color gamut. The red and blue of Spider-Man’s suit really pops, as do the variety of European environments, particularly the carnival sequence which serves up a series of vibrant hues. Blacks are inky deep and contrast and brightness levels are virtually perfect. It’s a stellar video 4K presentation.
Unfortunately, the English Dolby Atmos track falls short of the quality of its video counterpart. The volume has to be adjusted before things can get underway, but matters don’t improve much thereafter. It’s a fairly flat and unremarkable track. Low end is noticeably absent during the bigger effects sequences, as is the sub-thumping clarity of the pop songs. Dialogue is certainly discernible, but sound effects only have a fraction of the impact that they should. If the muscular DTS track presented on the accompanying Blu-ray were an option, you’d really have a more satisfactory presentation overall. Additional audio options include English and French Audio Descriptive 5.1 Dolby Digital, Portuguese (Brazilian) 5.1 DTS-HD, and Czech, French, Hindi, Hungarian, Polish, Slovak, Spanish, Tamil, Telugu, Thai, and Turkish 5.1 Dolby Digital. Optional subtitles include English, English for the Hard of Hearing, Arabic, Bulgarian, Cantonese, Chinese, Chinese (Simplified), Croatian, Czech, French, Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian, Icelandic, Indonesian, Korean, Polish, Portuguese (Brazilian), Portuguese, Romanian, Serbian, Slovak, Slovene, Spanish, Thai, and Turkish.
There are no extras on the UHD disc itself, but you do get the film on Blu-ray. That disc includes the following extras (in HD):
- Peter’s To-Do List: A Short Film (3:22)
- Gag Reel & Outtakes (3:35)
- Deleted & Alternate Scenes (5 in all – 6:07)
- Teachers’ Travel Tips (4:58)
- The Jump Off (6:19)
- Stepping Up (3:42)
- Suit Up (4:38)
- Now You See Me (6:30)
- Far, Far, Far From Home (5:14)
- It Takes Two (3:09)
- Fury & Hill (3:29)
- The Ginter-Riva Effect (1:32)
- Thank You, Mrs. Parker (3:35)
- Stealthy Easter Eggs (4:23)
- The Brothers Trust (11:44)
- Select Scene Pre-Vis (5 in all – 8:20)
These materials are a little glossy, but there are enjoyable moments, including the Gag Reel & Outtakes, though the Deleted & Alternate Scenes offer little and were best left out of the body of the film. The Peter’s To-Do List short film consists of an extended scene of Peter accomplishing all of his tasks before his trip to Europe, which was truncated in the final film. The featurettes cover the obvious subjects, including Tom Holland, Jake Gyllenhaal, Spider-Man’s place within the MCU, and various bits of behind-the-scenes footage. Though short, there are minor nuggets worth digging for. The Brothers Trust is a fundraising campaign video. The best extras are the Stealthy Easter Eggs and Select Scene Pre-Vis, both of which offer a bit more than the usual studio-controlled fluff. Also included are previews for Jumanji: The Next Level, Men in Black: International, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Alex Rider, and Marvel HQ, as well as a Movies Anywhere digital code on a paper insert tucked away in the package.
Spider-Man’s second solo MCU appearance is good fun to be sure. It’s certainly the one of the finest incarnations of the character thus far, and goes in directions you would never expect. The 4K presentation offers an excellent video upgrade but, sadly, the audio is disappointing.