Justice League 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review
Shortly after SUICIDE SQUAD, fans of the DC cinematic universe began to temper their expectations. Those expectations led to the explosion of WONDER WOMAN, which was a legitimately decent movie, but amplified by those reserved hopes. So now comes JUSTICE LEAGUE, a movie with plenty of lead-up talk about how there were behind-the-scenes problems, tonal disarray and creative incompetence. JUSTICE LEAGUE isn’t righting the DC ship, but it’s certainly not the last rat on a potential sinking ship.
In a marathon race with Marvel, DC is sprinting frantically in the hopes of keeping pace. That’s seen in the first 30 minutes of JUSTICE LEAGUE as we play catch-up. The aftermath of BATMAN V. SUPERMAN still permeates throughout Metropolis, Gotham and the world. Crime is on the rise and demonic looking flying creatures are kidnapping people on a daily basis. Batman/Bruce Wayne (Affleck) suspects the death of Superman/Clark Kent (Henry Cavil) is about to give birth to an unworldly threat. Wonder Woman/Diana (Gadot) suspects the same.
Batman, who continues to keep secrets close to the chest, begins to scour the globe for other superheroes to create an alliance to stop whatever impending doom is on the horizon. Batman finds The Flash/Barry Allen (Ezra Miller) scrounging for pennies and doing side jobs. The plucky young man nearly steals the movie as an apprehensive young adult simply wowed by the scope of it all. Batman also unsuccessfully finds Aquaman/ Arthur Curry (Momoa) who’s saving stranded fishermen and pounding drinks at the local pub. Wonder Woman is left to find the final piece, Cyborg/Victor Stone (Ray Fisher).
The gathering of heroes is choppy, sometimes struggling to find joy and intrigue in the mad dash to get everyone on board. The obvious here is that DC is quickly patching in characters without legitimate concern for an emotional connection with the audience. Although The Flash may be instantly relatable because this is the second time in 2017 a young aspiring hero is being flung into a world he might not be mature enough for (SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING).
One thing different from previous Snyder films with DC is the action. The action is a lot more fluid because of the near non-existent use of slow-motion. It may not seem like much to drop it’s usage, but it allows for JUSTICE LEAGUE to highlight each member of the team during battle, giving everyone a specific role in the fight. It makes for a lot of fun, especially when the Flash gets a little competitive, and when Cyborg and Aquaman are sizing each other up.
As I suspected before heading in, Snyder and Joss Whedon’s visual and storytelling styles clash multiple times. Snyder may have laid the groundwork, but Whedon helped tweak some of the more essential moments of the film. Whedon’s light-heartedness tries to shed a little light on Snyder’s brooding atmosphere. But the transition between both leaves us yearning for something better, but in some ways, makes us appreciate both styles in a film that probably couldn’t handle too much of either.
What JUSTICE LEAGUE lacks in a compelling narrative, it makes up for in amusing camaraderie. Some characters need a little bit more backstory and emotional backbone behind their punch to make them remotely enjoyable, but sometimes they leap off the screen with witty dialogue. JUSTICE LEAGUE is a mess, but when compared to its predecessors, it’s certainly a baby step in the right direction. DC in 2017 could provide further hope for fan boys that Warner Bros. has averted a complete disaster with this shared universe.
4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY REVIEW
Video: This is an upscaled image from a 2K master, but it looks better than most of the upconverted discs I come across. Colors are very rich and detailed as evidenced in the Batcave and during the opening rooftop scene. The shades of gray/black in Batman’s suit are more noticeable and it adds a layer of clarity you don’t see on the Blu-ray. The scenes on Themyscira look just as good as they did on the WONDER WOMAN 4K, carrying over from that excellent disc. Although trivial, the scene towards the end when Lois Lane was hugging Clark Kent looks terrible. To be fair, it looked terrible on Blu-ray as well and it’s probably just the nature of that scene, but it really stood out on the 4K release. But overall, this is a very solid 4K and those with Dolby Vision capabilities will be pleased to see it here, but even without Dolby Vision capabilities, the HDR is fantastic.
Audio: The Dolby Atmos track really shines through and will give your speakers a nice workout. Although most Dolby Atmos tracks are great, I was surprised by how efficient this one was and how much it added to the film.
This title was reviewed using a Samsung UBD-K8500 with a Sony XBR75X850C TV.
There are no special features exclusive to the 4K, but it does include a Blu-ray of the film, which includes the following special features:
Deleted Scenes (2:05): Two scenes, including the one where Clark sees the black Superman costume.
Featurettes (49:06): Six featurettes in total, two of which talk about the evolution of some of the characters and the others are more fluff pieces. It’s clear there’s at least someone at WB/DC that knows and understands the characters, but it’s a shame they’re not working on the movies.
Scene Study (15:15): Four scenes from the film get a closer look.