Justice League - 4K Blu-ray Review

Discussion in 'Blu-ray / Media Reviews' started by Michael Scott, Mar 10, 2018.

  1. Michael Scott

    Michael Scott Moderator / Reviewer
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    Justice League


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    Movie: :3stars:
    4K Video: :4.5stars:
    Video: :4.5stars:
    Audio: :5stars:
    Extras: :4stars:
    Final Score: :4stars:



    [​IMG] Movie

    We all knew this was coming. Like Marvel, the new DCEU (DC Extended Universe) has been working up to one final goal. Their own variation of Infinity Wars with all of their legendary heroes (or at least 5 or 6 of them) combing together to form the famous Justice League, a superhero force that defends the world from even greater heroes than any one of them can handle alone. Except, it’s more like Rushed League, as DC has shoved a couple of solo films down the pipe for Batman and Superman, and Wonderwoman, then shoe horned the rest of the league into the film with nothing more than a cursory introduction before going full bore into the storyline (and skipping a few setups from BvS as well in their enthusiasm). Sadly, Justice League was not just simply a case of Zack Snyder going full emo on us again. He unfortunately had a much different vision for the film (as you can tell by the trailer that has a completely different vibe), but he was forced to pull out from the film mid project after a family death left him needing to recover in peace. This forced Joss Whedon to come out of the production gallery and take over the rest of the film, including reshoots, remakes of the story, as well as culling a good bit that Snyder had intended to put on screen. What’s left is an entertaining superhero film that really struggles under the weight of two different visions, as well as not enough screen time for the characters to really become devolveped enough for the audience to care about them the same we do for Thor, Captain America, Tony Stark and the rest of carefully crafted Marvel superheroes (which has taken place over a decade with multiple films for many of the heroes).

    At the end of Batman Vs. Superman Lex Luthor was behind bars, and hinting at a much greater villain coming to Gotham/Metropolis (which we all assumed was Darkseid due to the vision that Batman had earlier in the film). Well, that villain is here and he is coming after three mysterious cubes on Earth. These cubes happen to hold a world destroying power within them, and have been distributed among the humans, the Atlanteans, and the Amazon tribe for safe keeping. Only thing is, they are powerless to stop the force that is coming. A world killer named Steppenwolf (voiced by Ciaran Hinds) who is coming for the cubes in hopes of uniting them and destroying Earth. A glory that he was denied hundreds of years ago when the heroes of our past gave him his first defeat. Batman (Ben Affleck) has forseen this incident due to his vision, and has been prepping a team to combat this threat. Recruiting young Barry Allen (Ezra Miller) as a burgeoning Flash, The powerful Diana Prince (Gal Gadot) as Earth’s most powerful female Amazon, and looking for more, the brooking Dark Knight is almost too late. Steppenwolf is here, and he has two of the cubes, and Batman’s “league” of superheros is incomplete.

    Incomplete or not, the world has to be saved. So Batman, Wonder Woman and the Flash set out to protect the final “Mother Box” (the cubes that Steppenwolf needs) alone. But lo and behold, they are joined up by Aquabro (Jason Momoa), and the enigmatic half human, half machine Cyborg (Ray Fisher) to complete the 5 man (and woman) team needed to take down a being so powerful, that he is on the verge of godhood. All without the aid of Earth’s mightiest hero, A fallen Superman (Henry Cavill), who lies dead after his sacrifice in taking down Doomsday.
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    Justice League has a lot going for it, but is sadly a heavily flawed film for several different reasons. As I said in my opening, Zack Snyder (who I have disagreed with in his past DCEU films) was forced to step down due to the loss of his son mid filming, leaving Joss Whedon to pick up the pieces and finish the film. As is the case with so many other movies that have had a fractured filming process, the end result is rather muddled. Both men have slightly different visions and styles (it’s actually pretty easy to see the pop culture style of humor that Joss thrives on competing with the dark and gloomy ambiance of Snyder’s world), and combining both of them together gives the audience the feeling that they’re watching 2 separate movies. Huge chunks of Snyder’s film was gutted to make room for Whedon’s more lighthearted adventure film, but the core of the original film is still there, fighting Whedon step by step. Also, it doesn’t help that the characters are so drastically under developed that you really can’t feel anything for them. Ben Affleck was the single redeeming feature of BvS (well, Wonder Woman was a shining moment for her few minutes of fan service), and he still ACTS the part here. The problem is that he’s only given a little bit to go off of, as there are six full superheros in the film that need character development, and only 4 of them were even given a modicum of backstory in the previous couple of films. Clark is shoved to the side except for the final battle (and coated with some ridiculous CGI around his mouth, as Universal wouldn’t let him shave his mustache for reshoots as Cavill was in the middle of filming Mission Impossible 6 at the time), and Wonder Woman’s amazing character is shoved to the side to make room room for Cyborg (who really is just a place setter, as no one cares enough about him to give him anything more than a 2 second backstory) and Aquabro (yes, I know his name is Aquaman, but Jason Momoa plays him like drunken brawler hopped up on Miler Lite and Jack Daniels 99% of the time). The Flash is probably the most fleshed out of the three heroes not given their own movie yet (a move made because DC was desperate to beat Marvel to the punch instead of spending the time necessary to lay down a good filmic ground work for their huge ensemble film), but still. He just felt “off” due to such a limited amount of focus being rendered his way with so much superhero over crowding.

    I had a lot of fun with the action, but so much of it was CGI that the already bloated budget is just rocked back on its heels and left reeling with super rubbery, fake looking, green screen effects that I almost wondered if I was in the middle of an animated film. Steppenwolf, one of the biggest DC villains, is relegated to a mumbling hulk clone who walks around smashing things and looks like a rubber doll, while The rest of the cast is cut and pasted from elsewhere in the filming process and stuck together with some mixed results. Much of the movie looks great, but soooooooooooooooooo much CGI and cut n’ past scenarios leave it with a very “fake” feeling. Another reason why I’m so conflicted about the film. I had fun with the action sequences, but the movie itself really needs a director’s cut (something that will probably never happen) akin to BvS, or it will forever be just a middle of the road superhero flick that was rushed to production years to early.




    Rating:

    Rated PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi violence and action




    4K Video: :4.5stars: Video: :4.5stars:
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    For it’s 1.78:1 HEVC encoded presentation, Justice League was shot using a variety of film sources, as well as 2.8k and 5k digital sources that was then later rendered into a 2K digital intermediate for home video (*gasp, *wheeze). The movie is incredible looking on 4K UHD, and despite the 2K master used for it, shows noticeable improvement over the Blu-ray with a lush landscape of bright HDR enhanced colors, and wonderful detail levels. Batman’s suit shows every curve and line, and the backdrops look sharp and well defined at all times. The copious overuse of CGI is a downside though, as it makes much of the backdrops look rather ridiculously fake (it has this “rubber” CGI look to it the whole time, and whole sections of the movie are obviously green screen), but that’s more an issue with how the movie was FILMED rather than the encode. Digital artifacting is next to nill, with only minimal black crush and some wonky edges for CGI laden shots bringing it down. The real hero here is the use of HDR, being that Justice league is just bathed in all sorts of brightly lit colors. Joss Whedon’s heavy handed use of red as a color grading scheme is obvious here, overshadowing the dark blue that Znyder was going for in the second half, but the primaries are just shockingly well saturated. The Flash’s cherry red suit pops off the screen, as does the heavy speed force lightning he generates during movement. Steppenwolf’s staff glows satanically burnished red, and the bright blue and orange LED’s along the electronic controls of the Batman’s gear contrasts well with his dark gray armor.








    Audio: :5stars:
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    Warner has gone back to giving us dual tracks here. One is a 5.1 DTS-HD MA lossless track (which is the main track on the 3D disc as usual), but also a full on Dolby Atmos track on both the Blu-ray and this 4K UHD disc. And don’t you worry, the Atmos mix is nothing short of jaw dropping, with gut wrenching LFE and a spacious sound stage that really revels in the chaos of action. Reference quality to the core, the track is played out loud levels without ever sounding overbearing or fake, and the dialog is always evenly balanced with the rest of the action going on around it. The surrounds are filled with the buzzing of Steppenwolf’s minions, or the sizzling crack of The Flash’s lightening, or just the mayhem and chaos of demigod like beings smashing and crashing through walls with gusto. LFE is a gut punch, with thunderous levels of bass that just wash over you, and a healthy dose of Atmos overheads to give the film a real 360 degree field of immersion. While Marvel has had a frustrating time with their comic book movies in the audio realm, Justice League is another in a long line of Warner reference tracks that really puts them on top of the heap (at least in this regard).









    Extras: :4stars:
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    Road to Justice - Journey alongside DC comic creators as they explore over fifty years of the Justice League, from comic books to animated adventures to their cinematic debut.
    • Heart of Justice - Discover the heart, soul and mind of the Justice League, as the cast and filmmakers share their admiration for DC's iconic Trinity: Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman.
    • Technology of the Justice League - From Batman's arsenal to Cyborg's alien tech, interface with the Justice League database to learn their most advanced secrets.
    • Justice League: The New Heroes - Join Ray Fisher on a personal tour to meet the newest members of the Justice League: Aquaman, the Flash and Cyborg.
    • The Return of Superman - Bonus scenes not seen in theaters
    • Steppenwolf the Conqueror - Join actor Ciarán Hinds and the filmmakers as they reveal the story behind mankind's ancient enemy and the Justice League's greatest challenge.
    • Scene Studies: Revisiting the Amazons - Take a closer look at the filmmaking process behind Justice League's most visually exciting and action-packed sequences
    • Scene Studies: Wonder Woman's Rescue -Take a closer look at the filmmaking process behind Justice League's most visually exciting and action-packed sequences
    • Scene Studies: Heroes Park - Take a closer look at the filmmaking process behind Justice League's most visually exciting and action-packed sequences
    • Scene Studies: The Tunnel Battle - Take a closer look at the filmmaking process behind Justice League's most visually exciting and action-packed sequences
    • Suit Up: The Look of the League - Costume Designer Michael Wilkinson explores the innovation and artistry that goes into creating the costumes of DC's iconic heroes.







    Final Score: :4stars:


    Justice League is a fun, albeit flawed, superhero movie that seems to fly right along the same plane of quality that the theatrical release of Batman vs. Superman was at. It’s a decently fun film, with a some great actors behind wheel, but the rocky production of the film really does rear its ugly head more than once, combined with some strange casting choices (mainly talking about Aquabro here) kept it from really becoming TRULY a fun movie to watch. Things go boom, Batfleck is still the best part of the movie, and it teases us with hints of an even greater, and more well known, villain coming in a sequel. Audio and video are nothing short of reference, and the disc comes with a VERY healthy array of extras that is refreshing in these days of meager special feature allotments on home video. Worth it as a fun rental..





    Technical Specifications:

    Starring: Gal Gadot, Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Jason Momoa, Ezra Miller, Jeremy Irons
    Directed by: Zack Snyder, Joss Whedon
    Written by: Joss Whedon, Chris Terrio
    Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 HEVC
    Audio: English: Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 Core), English DTS-HD MA 5.1, Latin Spanish, Canadian French, Brazilian Portuguese DD 5.1
    Subtitles: English, Latin Spanish, Canadian French, Brazilian Portuguese
    Studio: Warner
    Rated: PG-13
    Runtime: 121 minutes
    Blu-Ray Release Date: Own Justice League on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack, Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack, Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD on March 13, or Own It Early on Digital on Now!






    Recommendation: Fun Rental

     
    tripplej likes this.
  2. Asere

    Asere AV Addict

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    I had plans on purchasing this film but after reading your review I think it's a rental for me. Thanks for the review.
    Also it's sad that his daughter Autumn committed suicide. Can't blame him for stepping out. :(
     
    #2 Asere, Mar 10, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2018
  3. mechman

    mechman Senior Admin
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    I pre-ordered this one. I love these types of movies and anything in HDR makes my world a better place!
     
  4. tripplej

    tripplej AV Enthusiast

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    Thanks for the review. Will check it out once available on amazon prime/netflix.
     
  5. Asere

    Asere AV Addict

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    Well I couldn't resist and ended up buying it instead. I really liked it and the audio was mixed exceptionally well.
     
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