Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Ultimate Edition 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review
Before getting into the review of BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE, I want to point out that the extended edition was my first time watching the film. I had very little interest in BvS leading up to its theatrical release and when the reaction was so negative, I found myself even more disillusioned with what Warner Bros. was trying to build. But as time went on, I strangely enough started to get excited for the extended edition. By the time I actually sat down to watch the film, I had an open mind and very low expectations. Maybe that’s why I was able to somewhat enjoy it, even though it has a ton of problems.
People have been harsh on BvS and in many cases, it’s well deserved. One of the main issues I have with the film is that these are not the characters we know and love(d). Superman is a whiney, mentally weak, unconfident man/alien that winces every time someone calls him a name. Batman is just a really ticked off dude that is hell bent on killing Superman and anyone that gets in his way. Wonder Woman is easily the highlight, but who is she, why is she there, why does she carry her costume around with her if she’s stayed out of mankind’s problems for 100 years? But the point is that these are not characters we know. That’s not to say they’re bad characters, it’s just we don’t know them and when you stick characters the audience doesn’t know into dangerous situations, the audience tends to not care.
Another issue with the film is the failure to explore any of the themes it presented. That’s a shame because I liked the themes that were toyed with. The idea of mankind worshiping false Gods one minute and turning on them the next is a real issue (see every celebrity that’s ever lived for example). That was flirted with several times, but it was brushed aside almost as quickly. We also had the idea of good men resorting to evil in order to battle their opponents, which is also a fine theme but another one that is quickly abandoned in order to get to the destruction porn. We had other themes still, but the result was a movie that lacked any sort of singular voice or point and characters that acknowledged issues but never managed to resolve them.
But maybe my biggest issue with the film are the obvious storytelling mistakes. Snyder is clearly not competent to avoid some of these mistakes, but there’s no excuse for Affleck or writers Chris Terrio and David Goyer. They’ve written some incredible screenplays and they had to have known something wasn’t right. For example; why show Bruce Wayne’s parents getting killed for the third time on film? And why open with that? If they needed to show Bruce’s mom was named Martha, the scene in the cemetery was more than enough. And speaking of “Martha”, that part of the ending didn’t bother me as much as it did some people, but again I ask; why have them stop fighting like that? Lois running in and hugging Superman could have been the catalyst to stop Bruce from killing Superman and in some ways, it would have been more impactful by returning some humanity and humility to Bruce Wayne and giving Lois a larger impact on the story. Again, it’s a story structure and directing problem, but there were too many talented people involved to not notice it.
I may be in the minority with my feelings on the final showdown, but I found it to be much more exciting and interesting than the ending of MAN OF STEEL. Granted, I was not a fan of MAN OF STEEL, but at least with BvS, we had a worthy villain and a nice team up between Wonder Woman, Batman and Superman. But even before that, the final showdown between Batman and Superman was also very well done. Snyder did a good job of having two gladiators face off and then justified Batman’s ability to keep it close despite being overpowered. The only problem, of course, is that the movie took a long time to get there and its justifications to get there were flimsy at best.
The good news for WB is that everything here is fixable. The bad news is that almost all of their problems are Zack Snyder’s fault and he’s the one they asked to direct the Justice League films. But they have a decent cast in place and they have a good Wonder Woman, who I’ve always said is the single hardest comic book character to get right. They’ve laid the ground work to introduce Aquaman, Flash and Cyborg (albeit in the most clumsy way possible), so all hope is not lost for a Justice League film.
4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY REVIEW
Video: I probably spent way too much time analyzing the video quality of this 4K release, but I had high expectations for it and wanted to see how good a job Warner Bros. did with the transfer. IMDB tells us it has a master 4K print and so I assume this UHD Blu-ray was sourced from that master. But a 4K master isn’t always a sure thing; I also knew that this was a very dark movie and that Snyder likes to use what I call “false grain” as his style of choice. The other thing BvS had going against it as far as transfers go is heavy use of CGI, which can be an Achilles heal for 4K transfers. I’m ecstatic to report that this is a beautiful, crisp, impressive transfer. The section I focused most on was the final Batman versus Superman fight. It has a lot of CGI, it’s in the rain and it’s at night, so I figured that would be the telling scene. I was instantly impressed with how crisp both of their costumes looked as well the details in the abandoned building. The CGI influx, like during the initial traps that Batman sets for Superman, didn’t have an impact on the video quality; everything was as crisp as ever and if anything, I’d say the clarity added a level of realism to the fight. The whole film looks spectacular, but the end battle scene might be the new scene to show off your new system, both in terms of video and audio…
Audio: The included Dolby Atmos track is also very impressive. Say what you want about Zack Snyder, but the guy knows how to use audio to heighten his action sequences. The full use of the surround speakers is yet another element to this disc that really brings the viewer into the movie.
There are no 4K exclusive features included on the 4K disc, but it does include a copy of the Blu-ray. I’m a little bummed/frustrated with this because the extended cut is not included on the Blu-ray disc that comes with the 4K set and the theatrical edition is not included on the 4K disc. I don’t know if that will impact anyone’s buying decision, but wanted to make you aware of it.
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