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Streaming: 'Spider-Man' swings back into homes; 'Boardwalk' still worth a walk

Put me in that minority that happened to enjoy The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (Rated PG-13, Columbia, $30.99 to $45.99 depending on format and edition, 3-of-5 stars) which released to the public on blu-ray today, two weeks after initial availability in digital only.

Spider-Man (Andrew Garfield) faces two villains in "The Amazing Spider-Man 2."
Used with permission of Columbia

There’s plenty to like in the revamped Spidey – most notably Andrew Garfield who brings a unique vulnerability to his role as college student Peter Parker/Spider-Man. Garfield shows a real affinity for the character and his real world problems as a young man trying to keep his recently widowed Aunt May (Sally Field) safe all while trying to stop mayhem from invading New York City.

That’s not too easy given the cast of characters that take refuge in the Big Apple in Spider-Man’s world. This time around? Electro and the Green Goblin join the fray with a brief, brief appearance by Rhino presumably to set up another entry into the series that’s been significantly delayed.

The villains feel secondary to a larger narrative that’s building in the background and how it relates to Parker his father and the corporation his father once worked.

What’s the effect of that? It adds an element of intrigue that just simmers in the background. In other words: it doesn’t distract from what’s happening in Spidey 2.

The flaws in this movie come courtesy of one villain too many and it’s not the one many would expect. Personally, Jamie Foxx’s Electro makes for serious on-screen fun and while I know that Dane DeHaan’s Green Goblin is more essential to Spider-Man’s future and mythology, it doesn’t change the fact that his character feels like more of a hindrance in this case. If and when the next installment arrives, that’s an issue they’re going to have to correct.

Extras: Does anyone care about extras any longer? I certainly do and I hit Target specifically because of an extra disc in their blu-ray combo pack that talks about the assorted incarnations of the Sinister Six, a cabal of Spidey villains who will be getting their own flick. It’s probably brazen advertising, but interesting nonetheless. The combo pack also has a digital copy along with a host of other extras including nine deleted scenes.

So what else is up this week?

Well Boardwalk Empire fans, Nucky Thompson’s got a season left before his fate is decided on HBO. Call it what you will, but Empire has been a consistent treat since its debut four seasons ago.

Some question whether Empire has run its course? No, it hasn’t. There are some stories left to tell for those emotionally invested in these rich characters and the actors who portray them.

As for the fourth season, what was there to enjoy? Steve Buscemi – as always – as Thompson and Michael Kenneth Williams as African-American contemporary Chalky White. They were joined in the fourth season by Jeffrey Wright as rival Valentin Narcisse which amped up the drama and the fun as watching these three talented actors ply their trade became must-see viewing each week.

Boardwalk debuted today on blu-ray and DVD and comes with a boatload of extras including commentaries to peruse through along with several short documentaries.

Next week: The release of this summer’s films continues with the Adam Sandler bomb Blended…Look for the most recent season of Sons of Anarchy as well.

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