Spider-Man: The Ultimate Villain Showdown

Spider-Man: The Ultimate Villain Showdown (2002)
Buena Vista Home Entertainment
Extras: Bonus Episode, Rogue’s Dossier, Stan Lee’s Soapbox,

As Sam Raimi’s new live-action spectacle ’Spider-Man’ is opening in theaters nationwide, everyone is trying to cache in on the hype generated by this hotly anticipated movie. One of the releases in the wake is ’Spider-Man: The Ultimate Villain Showdown,’ based on the animated TV series.

The DVD contains four episodes featuring a cool villain line-up. You can watch these episodes one after another or each with an introduction by creator Stan Lee.

The DVD presents the episodes in a fullscreen aspect ratio in a transfer that is free of defects or blemishes. Colors are bold and stable and the image does contain only a minute amount of grain and noise. Details are nicely rendered and with its good black level, the outlines and edges are well-defined, creating a sharp image without appearing over-enhanced. The image is also free of edge-enhancement and its accompanying artifacts and the compression has been done very well. The result is an image that is bold and very stable, free of compression artifacts.

The DVD comes with a 2.0 Dolby digital audio track that is well produced and has a good frequency response throughout. The dynamic range is also good and allows for some action-packed animated superhero moments. Combined with the music, it gives the presentation a nice nostalgic flair.

As a bonus the 1967 episode ’The Origins of Spider-Man’ is also included on this disc. It is introduced by Stan Lee, who offers some great insight. Time hasn’t treated this episode so well, and t shows signs of age, ranging from the really narrow, tinny frequency response to the grain in the picture and its overall softness with muted colors. Nonetheless, this is a cool addition to the release that fans will love.

’Stan Lee’s Soapbox’ is an interview featurette in which comic legend and Spider-Man creator Stan Lee talks about the origins of his comic characters. Lee is an interesting storyteller and his explanations are always upbeat and fun to listen to. Since we don’t get the chance too often to hear what the creators of comic books think and what drives them, this is featurette is welcome addition to the DVD that adds a lot of depth and value to it.

’Rogues’ Dossiers’ is a fun little feature that offers information of all of Spider-Man’s nemeses. It is prepared almost like a game coupled with biographies and dramatic voice-overs, and turns out to be a lot of entertaining fun.

It shows that some care has been taken to prepare this DVD for release and that someone with a superhero mindset approached the subject. This is a fun release with cool extras and a solid presentation. Fans couldn’t ask for more!