Justice League (4K Blu-ray) (2017)

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Released 14-Mar-2018

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Adventure None
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2017
Running Time 120:02 (Case: 119)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Zack Snyder

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Ben Affleck
Henry Cavill
Amy Adams
Gal Gadot
Ezra Miller
Jason Momoa
Ray Fisher
Jeremy Irons
Diane Lane
Connie Nielsen
J.K Simmons
CiarŠn Hinds
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI $39.95 Music Danny Elfman

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Atmos
English Dolby TrueHD 7.1
English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, Mid credits scene

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Plot Synopsis

††† The good news is that 2017ís Justice League is not the downright disaster that many of us were anticipating, given the considerable behind-the-scenes reshuffling and the slipshod quality of its immediate predecessor, 2016ís Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. It is a bit of a mess, the narrative is too simplistic, and itís not a home run by any stretch, but itís also not altogether unappealing either, as Zack Snyder - and Joss Whedon - avoid the gloomy self-seriousness which has thus far characterised the DC Extended Universe. The action sequences are rousing, and there are enough goosebump-inducing moments of pure big-screen coolness that audiences will expect to see within an expensive blockbuster entitled Justice League. But whatís missing is all the connective tissue - the movie plays out like a highlight reel, with the bare minimum of explication and character beats. Forget about any sort of thematic undercurrents or emotional resonance; fast-paced spectacle is the order of the day.

††† With Superman (Henry Cavill) now dead, the Earth has become vulnerable to diabolical forces. A god-like being known as Steppenwolf (CiarŠn Hinds) rises in the aftermath, planning to use three powerful Mother Boxes to rule the universe, aided by an army of vicious Parademons. Bruce Wayne/Batman (Ben Affleck) seeks to amass a team of heroes to defend the world, with Diana Prince/Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) warning him of the potentially devastating effects of Steppenwolfís plan. Using all available information at his disposal, Wayne tracks down Arthur Curry/Aquaman (Jason Momoa), Barry Allen/The Flash (Ezra Miller) and Victor Stone/Cyborg (Ray Fisher), hoping to unite them and prevent Steppenwolf from eradicating humankind. But even their combined superpowers may not be enough, prompting the newly-formed Justice League to explore the potential to bring Superman into the fight before itís too late.

††† Even though Snyder is the sole credited director on the project, The Avengers helmer Whedon was recruited to oversee extensive rewrites and reshoots late into post-production, and received a co-writer credit for his efforts. Evidently, Whedonís job was to lighten the tone, bringing a more pronounced sense of humour to the production whilst retaining Snyderís proclivity for brutal, explosive action sequences. Previous DCEU movies have been criticised for lack of humour, with Batman v Superman in particular emerging as dour beyond belief, and Justice League endeavours to course-correct the franchise, with jokes and laughs scattered throughout. Though certain moments do work (such as an amusing aside during which Aquaman sits on the Lasso of Truth), other gags just come across as forced (see the awkward joking around after the climactic action sequence). Indeed, donít expect Whedonís best work, especially given that he didnít have a great deal of time to hone the best possible script. In addition, Justice League is completely hollow, with nothing in the way of poignant emotion. There is a contrived aside in which a family get the spotlight and are rescued during the climax, but it feels too perfunctory and makes no impact.

††† Itís evident that Warner Bros. only really cared about two things whilst trying to salvage Justice League in the editing room: keeping it at two hours in length (narrative coherence be damned), and carving out at least a workable movie thatís jam-packed with colourful action scenes. Itís also evident that Justice League was initially intended to be more in line with Batman v Superman from a tonal standpoint before the studio got Whedon involved. (Itís not hard to see why Whedon probably didnít want a directorial credit on the finished movie.) A new trailer was seemingly released every couple of hours, and therefore a lot of footage seen in the marketing materials did not make it to the finished movie. Indeed, it appears that Warner Bros. chose to deliberately excise any plot details that may have initially existed to set up future storylines - case in point: it seems that Steppenwolfís plan could be a precursor to something more significant, like Darkseid who was initially rumoured to be part of the movie and was ostensibly set up in Dawn of Justice, but the storyline as it is seems deliberately standalone in case the studio nominates a different direction in the future. (The post-credits scene does imply another direction entirely.) Hell, Justice League doesnít even provide any payoff to the time-travelling Flash, or to Batmanís nightmares from Batman v Superman.

††† Despite being hidden in the majority of the marketing materials, of course Superman makes his return here, but the Man of Steelís resurrection is one of the biggest missed opportunities of the movie. Rather than taking a page from the ďDeath of SupermanĒ arc (which would make sense, given that he fought Doomsday in Dawn of Justice), Justice League finds the heroes using the Mother Boxís powers to bring Superman back from the dead, and the resultant action set-piece of a confused Kal-El running amok is seriously awkward. In addition, the subplot feels too throwaway when it should be more significant, further demonstrating that squeezing so much material into one two-hour movie was a bad idea. It would have been more interesting to see Superman don the iconic black suit and battle the rest of the Justice League for real. Maybe this was actually explored in an earlier cut, and perhaps there was more to this subplot before the studio took a hatchet to the movie to keep it under two hours sans credits. Whatever the case, it feels like Justice League is rushing through plot points in order for the franchise at large to move on. The film was initially intended to be split into two parts, and thereís certainly enough material for two motion pictures to cover.

††† When Justice League gets into an agreeable groove, it works like gangbusters, providing plenty of lively action as the superheroes throw down against Steppenwolf and his Parademons. If nothing else, Justice League gets the characters right for the most part (more on that later), with perhaps the most definitive big-screen portrayal of the Caped Crusader to date (the costumes are dead on). Shot on 35mm film by cinematographer Fabian Wagner (Game of Thrones), the movie is actually presented in an expanded 1.85:1 aspect ratio, meaning that thereís more to absorb in every frame of the movie. However, the cartoonish CGI is admittedly squiffy from time to time, lacking in tangibility. The digital removal of Cavillís moustache looks amateurish at best, while the digitally-created Steppenwolf often resembles something from a video-game cut-scene. Some sequences are enormously impressive, to be sure, but thereís no consistency, which can probably be attributed to the reshoots and the rushed schedule to meet the longstanding, predetermined release date. For a major motion picture this expensive (a staggering $300 million before promotional costs, reportedly), itís disheartening to behold such sloppiness. On a more positive note, bringing in composer Danny Elfman (to replace Junkie XL) proves to be one of the most welcome creative decisions of the entire production, as his score is more on the playful side as opposed to downright serious. Elfman even incorporates some notes from his 1989 Batman theme to nice effect.

††† Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman have been properly introduced in the DCEU at this point, but Justice League is tasked with introducing Aquaman, Cyborg and The Flash to the franchise (their previous tiny cameos donít count), giving the movie plenty of baggage to work through. Thereís just no getting around the fact that these heroes deserved their own solo flicks prior to Justice League, just as the standalone Wonder Woman should have been released prior to Batman v Superman. As for the thespians themselves, itís...mostly good news. Affleck continues to impress as this older interpretation of Batman, and Gadot is still a charismatic treat. Itís certainly a real thrill to see Gadot back in action as Wonder Woman so soon after the release of her solo feature. However, Miller is a terrible Flash, playing the hero as a whiny, irritating, weightless Millennial stereotype, while Fisher doesnít have much screen presence, though that could likely be attributed to the lack of a meaty introduction. Momoa is fine, some cheesy dialogue aside, and Cavill is welcomely more upbeat here as Superman. Hinds does what he can with the material, but Steppenwolf is still a bit of a dud villain. Nevertheless, it is commendable that Snyder and co. elected to use a villain who hasnít previously featured in a live-action movie.

††† When Justice League works, it really works, providing breathtaking visual delights throughout, ensuring that the target audience will walk away happy. Itís an entertaining ride, if nothing else. But since we donít yet know all of the primary characters intimately enough, the film is not as gratifying as it could have been. In addition, the movie is undeniably pared-down to the bare essentials - basically, anything that isnít a joke, a character striking a dramatic pose for marketing materials, or a big action scene...didnít make it to the final cut. Extended cuts have become somewhat customary for the DCEU, as both Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad received beefed-up editions on home video, and it would certainly be intriguing to see what could be done with Justice League with more story development and character interaction. Even more promising, though, is the prospect of a sequel, with (hopefully) a more carefully-written screenplay and a better fleshed-out team.

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Transfer Quality


††† In spite of the rushed production schedule and sometimes shonky digital effects, Justice League still scrubs up extraordinarily well on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray. As with every other Roadshow 4K release, the disc was sourced from overseas - it was authored by Warner Bros., has European rating symbols, and it doesn't even feature a Roadshow logo. Presented in open matte at 1.78:1 (and therefore filling an entire widescreen television), this HEVC/H.265-encoded, 2160p ultra high definition presentation represents a noticeable upgrade over its standard Blu-ray counterpart, making this 4K disc the preferred way to experience this flawed but still enjoyable blockbuster at home. According to IMDb, Justice League was only completed at 2K resolution, which presumably means that this is an upscale of the digital intermediate. (Can you really blame Warner Bros. for wanting to save some pennies by opting for a 2K workflow, given the already monstrous budget?) With the movie only running at two hours, and with no extras on the disc, Warner Bros. only make use of a dual-layered BD-66 for this release, which is sufficient to facilitate a healthy bitrate. Clarity is noticeably improved compared to the more compressed 1080p Blu-ray, and the image looks more refined overall, with more intricate textures across the board, not to mention the use of High Dynamic Range improves the video dramatically.

††† Whereas Marvel movies are now all shot digitally, the films in the DC Extended Universe have all been shot on film so far, and Justice League is no exception. Although certain scenes were captured digitally with Arri Alexa cameras, the picture was for the most part shot on 35mm film stock, which creates a distinctive filmic texture and aesthetic. Grain is thankfully kept in-tact ("grain haters" beware), and is well-resolved throughout the presentation, which allows the movie to look textured and highly detailed. The digital photography is much easier to distinguish from the 35mm shots in 4K resolution, as film grain is absent for the digitally-captured shots and the image looks a touch too smooth as a result. (It looks as if the Whedon-directed reshoots were all digital, considering the original director of photography did not oversee the reshoots.) See Lois Lane and Martha Kent talking at the 29-minute mark which was obviously an Arri Alexa shoot, or, hell, Bruce's first meeting with Arthur switches between 35mm and digital from shot-to-shot in the same scene. Nevertheless, the transfer looks excellent for the most part. Close-ups of faces reveal a wealth of detail on the skin of the actors, from the slightest wrinkles and pores to Affleck's stubble. The meticulous costume design is also easier to appreciate - just look at the Batman bodysuit, or Aquaman's armour. Hell, just look at any member of the Justice League, while any piece of clothing looks beautifully detailed no matter the lighting conditions. Indeed, thanks to the benefits of HDR and the superior video codec, darker scenes reveal more textures than the 1080p Blu-ray. The image is razor-sharp for the most part, with strong object delineation allowing you to take in the intricacies of each set. The rotoscoping thankfully holds up to the added resolution for the most part, rather than looking jagged or amateurish.

††† Following on from their 4K release of It, Warner Bros. present Justice League with Dolby Vision HDR, which should please videophiles. Even though DV is currently rather niche, it's nice to have the option. After all, the movie was exhibited with a Dolby Vision grade in Dolby Cinemas overseas. Instantly, the benefits of HDR are apparent, with bolder colours that leap off the screen, better-pronounced highlights, deeper blacks and flawless contrast. It looks even better than it did at the cinema, since my theatrical showing was only in regular old SDR. The lightning around the Flash looks brighter and more impactful, skin tones are more consistently pleasing, and there's more vibrancy to Superman's outfit. See the scene on Themyscira, during which greens look beautifully lush and vibrant. Or see a shot at the 69-minute mark of Batman on a perch in darkness, overlooking the city - the image looks balanced, and the various lights and colours of the cars stand out all the more. The palette in the climax is more impactful as well, accentuating the push towards oranges and reds, creating a more pronounced sense of atmosphere. Furthermore, a bulk of the CGI scrubs up surprisingly well despite the added resolution, with the use of HDR making digital characters like Steppenwolf look more tangible as opposed to more phoney or artificial. Of course, however, certain VFX shots still look slipshod, and the digital removal of Cavill's moustache is much more obvious since the skin tones look different. On balance, though, the Dolby Vision grade is outstanding. Naturally, for those who aren't DV-compatible, the movie simply plays with HDR10 enhancements. There isn't a significant difference between the two grades, but since DV is dynamic, it does look a bit better balanced on the whole, bringing out every last available highlight and with better-judged contrast. Still, you're not missing out on much if you can only watch the disc in HDR10.

††† Thanks to the 1.78:1 aspect ratio, there is a lot to take in during the colourful action sequences, and it makes the visual experience more immersive. (It's worth pointing out that 2012's The Avengers was similarly framed at 1.78:1.) Justice League is all about spectacle, and boy is there a lot of it with the expanded aspect ratio - it's admittedly nice to see a blockbuster that's not letterboxed, and with framing that takes advantage of the vast screen real estate. In 4K resolution with a HDR grade, the movie looks terrific, easily topping the flawed 1080p Blu-ray. As ever, a native 4K finish would have undeniably made for a superior 2160p transfer, as certain shots in the finished movie will forever be constrained by the flaws of the source, but this is not worth losing sleep over. This one will easily satisfy more casual viewers, while videophiles will be equally impressed.

††† Numerous subtitle options are available. I had no issues at all with the English subtitle track.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


††† To complement the terrific 4K presentation, Justice League is given the Dolby Atmos treatment (with a Dolby TrueHD 7.1 core), which is how it was exhibited in the cinema. As with other Warner Bros. titles, the disc also contains an English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track, which the disc actually defaulted to on my equipment - so be sure to select Atmos from the Audio submenu if it means that much to you. The Atmos track, which is the preferred way to watch Justice League, is a winner from almost every angle. Whereas Disney's recent release of Thor: Ragnarok was spoiled by compressed audio, no such issues are encountered here - Justice League's audio is aggressive, rich, layered and crisp. The frequent action scenes benefit from bombastic sound effects as the subwoofer roars to life, while Steppenwolf's voice sounds deep and intimidating. The soundscape is immersive, with panning and placement effects being used during the major set-pieces (see any shot of Parademons flying around), while Danny Elfman's soundtrack comes through every available channel. Subtle environmental ambience is also included, such as the team aboard Bruce's craft at the 89-minute mark.

††† Thanks to smart lossless encoding, the audio is crisp and crystal clear, with no apparent muffling. None of the action sequences will leave you feeling underwhelmed by the audio. The only shortcoming of the track is that dialogue is occasionally mixed too low or sounds a bit weak, but it's not a huge deal and such instances aren't frequent. Thankfully, I never detected any pops, clicks or drop-outs throughout the presentation - it's smooth sailing across the board. It's worth pointing out that the 5.1 mix sounds much the same, but the Atmos track is a bit more layered. It's clear that this 4K disc was intended for distribution in a number of countries, as there are several additional audio tracks in different languages, but I was only concerned with the Atmos mix for the purposes of this review. Say whatever you will about the quality of the movie or the visual effects, but the sound mix is state-of-the-art.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


††† As usual, the 4K disc contains no extras. The accompanying standard Blu-ray houses all the supplements.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

† † 4K discs worldwide are virtually identical, only differing in terms of language options. It's a draw.


††† Justice League is a step in the right direction for the DCEU, but it's a far cry from what it had the potential to be. Marvel's The Avengers is still the best superhero team-up movie to date. I would be interested in seeing a Justice League sequel with a stronger foundation, but considering the movie's disappointing box office returns, it's not clear when - or if - Warner Bros. will attempt any follow-up.

††† I have nothing but praise for the 4K disc. The 2160 video presentation is outstanding for the most part, boasting strong textures and excellent use of HDR, while the Dolby Atmos soundtrack is a winner. Throw in the standard Blu-ray with its supply of special features, and this is one fine package. Probably a try before you buy situation, but fans of the movie can buy with confidence.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Callum Knox (I studied biology)
Tuesday, March 20, 2018
Review Equipment
DVDLG UP970 4K UHD HDR Blu-ray Player, using HDMI output
DisplayLG OLED65E6T. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 2160p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationSamsung Series 7 HT-J7750W
SpeakersSamsung Tall Boy speakers, 7.1 set-up

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