Justice League (3D Blu-ray) (2017)

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Released 14-Mar-2018

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Adventure Deleted Scenes-The Return of Superman
Featurette-Road to Justice
Featurette-Heart of Justice
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Technology of the Justice League
Featurette-Justice League: The New Heroes
Featurette-Steppenwolf the Conqueror
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Scene Studies: Revisiting the Amazons
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Scene Studies: Wonder Woman's Rescue
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Scene Studies: Heroes Park
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Scene Studies: The Tunnel Battle
Featurette-Suit Up: The Look of the League
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2017
Running Time 120:02
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Zack Snyder
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Ben Affleck
Henry Cavill
Gal Gadot
Ezra Miller
Jason Momoa
Ray Fisher
Jeremy Irons
Diane Lane
Connie Nielsen
J.K Simmons
CiarŠn Hinds
Joe Morton
Amber Heard
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI $34.95 Music Danny Elfman


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
French DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
German DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Thai 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 for the Hearing Impaired
French
German
Spanish
Danish
Dutch
Finnish
Korean
Chinese
Norwegian
Swedish
Thai
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

Video

††† The 3D market may be on the downturn at this point in time since television manufacturers have dropped support for the format, but luckily for fans, 3D Blu-ray releases are still being manufactured. Like most contemporary blockbusters, Justice League was shot in regular old 2D (a combination of 35mm film and digital photography) before being subjected to a 3D conversion during post-production. (It's worth pointing out that native 3D productions are getting rarer and rarer, particularly live-action movies.) Just like Justice League's other home video versions, this 3D Blu-ray presentation is opened up to 1.78:1, and it will therefore fill an entire widescreen television with no visible black bars, making for a more immersive watch. Roadshow have placed the 3D version on a dual-layered BD-50, though in keeping with usual Roadshow/Warner Bros. practise, 7GB of unused space is left on the disc that could have been used to augment the video bitrate or provide a superior primary audio track.

††† Perhaps unsurprisingly given the movie's notoriously rushed post-production, the 3D conversion is middle-of-the-road, perfunctory and unspectacular. It's worth pointing out that both the iPhone footage of Superman in the opening sequence as well as the movie's brief mid-credits scene were not converted and are only presented here in 2D, but the remainder of the flick is offered here in three dimensions. When the 3D is at its strongest, there are some impressive moments to behold. The conversion is eye-catching during Batman's initial clash with a Parademon above Gotham City; there's discernible depth to the streets and cityscape shots, a quality that's carried over to the "Everybody Knows" montage, which is full of long shots that benefit from the use of 3D. When Diana thwarts a terrorist attack in a bank, the slow motion bullets are a brilliant showcase for 3D, particularly whenever a bullet is fired towards the screen. The island of Themyscira comes alive in three dimensions, with cliff-faces looking steep and the initial battle with Steppenwolf looking genuinely excellent. As a matter of fact, all of the movie's primary action sequences benefit from the 3D effects, as the conversion appears to be at its strongest during these moments. The digitally-created Steppenwolf and the Parademons look noticeably impressive in 3D as well. On that note, it's likely that the digital effects were rendered natively in 3D, which would explain why the digital elements look superior. Dirt and debris appear to be floating inside the screen, meanwhile, and the climactic action sequence displays the best depth of the entire presentation.

††† However, for every worthwhile 3D shot, there's another shot that looks underwhelming. Certain moments do not exhibit much depth at all, while other shots just look lazily-converted, closer to a consumer television's automatic conversion rather than the real deal. Diana's first meeting with Victor Stone, for instance, looks shoddy; it carries the dreaded "pop-up book" look, appearing like 2D at different depths. This carries over into other scenes, such as Clark and Lois on the farm, which looks startlingly artificial, and the field does not appear to stretch back into your television in the way that the best 3D presentations are capable of. Surely I can be forgiven for expecting something more from a major $300 million blockbuster. But then again, with visual effects artists and colorists still working on Justice League mere weeks before its cinema debut, it's no surprise that the conversion is so hit-and-miss - it was rushed.

††† In terms of the encoding itself, the disc is fine but falls short of being called demo-worthy, particularly since it suffers from many of the shortcomings seen on the 2D Blu-ray. Clarity slightly suffers compared to 4K Blu-ray, particularly in darker moments, though close-ups of faces and hands still exhibit beautiful texturing on skin and clothing more often than not. I also found that highlights are a bit stronger during the digitally-shot scenes compared to the 2D Blu-ray (see Lois' meeting with Martha Kent, or Diana talking with Bruce by the water). The 3D transfer retains a layer of source grain in the 35mm shots, but the grain sometimes appears more on the blocky side, unfortunately. It's not a frequent issue, but it does spoil certain shots. However, it's worth pointing out that - on the whole - grain is less apparent on this 3D Blu-ray compared to the other home video editions, which makes the switch between 35mm and digitally-photographed shots look less obvious. Indeed, this will probably be the preferred version for any "grain haters" out there. Inevitably, viewing the movie with 3D glasses does dim the colour palette slightly, and the colours are certainly not as strong or vibrant as they are on the terrific 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray. Nevertheless, the palette looks faithful rather than revisionist, and certain moments still pop. In addition, I was unable to detect any bothersome encoding anomalies like aliasing or macroblocking.

††† Justice League is not a home run on 3D Blu-ray, but those who enjoyed the movie and still buy 3D discs may find some merit in this one. It's not terrible (it's not Clash of the Titans), but the 3D effects only seem to slightly accentuate the on-screen action for the most part, making the 3D presentation noticeably inessential. Man of Steel looked better in 3D - hell, Disney's recent 3D Blu-ray release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi looks better despite being a longer movie which necessitated more compression. If given the choice between 4K and 3D, I would choose the superior 4K Blu-ray any day of the week.

††† Subtitles are available in English and a variety of other languages. I could not detect any issues with the English subtitle track.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

††† Roadshow/Warner Bros. may continue to support 3D Blu-rays, which I certainly appreciate, but they also continue to unnecessarily downgrade the audio for such discs. Whereas both the standard Blu-ray and the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray were permitted a Dolby Atmos mix, this 3D Blu-ray gets short-changed in the audio department, with a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track that's only 16-bit. And from the very beginning, something sounds a little bit off about the audio; the Atmos mix is richer and carries more oomph, not to mention placement is more precise. Comparing the two, the 5.1 mix is perhaps acceptable to a certain extent, but a far cry from the Atmos track. I certainly felt that in certain scenes, the soundscape of this 5.1 track is limp - see Bruce first talking to Arthur Curry outside, before he dives into the water. Atmospherics are less apparent, too, while there's less separation between Danny Elfman's original score and other sounds within the soundscape; it all kind of blends together.

††† On a more positive note, the audio is still serviceable. At least this is a lossless track - I mean, Blade Runner 2049's local 3D release carries a lossy sound mix, which is abominable. Thus, this 5.1 track carries the qualities that we would expect from a lossless track; it's clear and crisp, with no traces of muffling, and the encoding never gives rise to sync issues, drop-outs, pops or clicks. Sound effects throughout the movie are deep and impactful thanks to smart subwoofer activity; Steppenwolf's voice carries an appropriate boom, punches and kicks are deafening, while explosions are nicely accentuated as well. Dialogue is well-prioritised for the most part, though certain lines do get lost in the busy soundscape. When the movie gets to the big action scenes, the audio shortcomings are not as apparent as the set-pieces are entertaining, but the Atmos track is still superior. For those interested, the disc also contains lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 options in French, German, Spanish and Thai.

††† Those without surround sound mixes may not notice anything is off, and the track should play fine to more unfinicky viewers. However, more devout audiophiles will be bitterly disappointed. Of course, as previously stated, there is unused space left on the disc, enough to accommodate a Dolby Atmos mix, making the downgraded audio all the more bewildering. If Roadshow/Warner Bros. wish to continue catering to the 3D crowd, it would be wise to start providing Atmos mixes to cater for the audiophiles. This just solidifies my position that the 4K Blu-ray is the better option.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

††† This two-disc set comes with a 2D disc containing a selection of special features.

The Return of Superman (HD; 2:04)

††† Anybody expecting mountains of new footage is going to be disappointed. Despite the ample additional footage that was known to be shot and was shown at test screenings, there are only two scenes here. Both of these are worthwhile, and it's a bit baffling that they were cut - though the latter was probably excised to make Superman's appearance at the end more impactful.

Road to Justice (HD; 14:10)

††† The first featurette on the disc is concerned with the history of the Justice League across the various comic book incarnations, video games, animated media, toys, and so on. Several comic book writers and artists chime in to discuss how the League has evolved in the comics, leading up to the 2011 "New 52" relaunch, and the animated Justice League movies are also touched upon. 2017's Justice League is covered in the last few minutes, with behind-the-scenes footage intercut with cast and crew interviews. The absence of director Zack Snyder is felt, though I suppose it's hardly surprising given that he left the project in post-production due to personal reasons.

Heart of Justice (HD; 11:52)

††† This segment zeroes in on the central characters who represent the heart of the Justice League, with cast and crew discussing the characters of Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman. The featurette goes into the comic book Death of Superman arc, and there's plenty of behind-the-scenes footage showing the actors on-set in costume.

Technology of the Justice League (HD; 8:14)

††† More of an EPK-style featurette with omnipresent voiceover to walk us through everything, this segment is all about the technology used by the Justice League in the movie, with a special focus on the vehicles and on Cyborg. The production design is touched upon and the visual effects required to bring everything to life are briefly covered, though not in any great detail. This is enjoyable enough, but undeniably fluffy.

Justice League: The New Heroes (HD; 12:24)

††† Actor Ray Fisher (who played Cyborg) walks us through the three new heroes that are introduced in Justice League: Cyborg, Aquaman and The Flash. Each of the three is given its own segment in the featurette, with interviews, behind-the-scenes footage and comic panels to delve into the characters. Again, this feels overly fluffy, and was visibly designed for online promotion (especially with Fisher's over-the-top delivery - he even says he can't wait to see the movie), but this is still worthwhile enough.

Steppenwolf the Conqueror (HD; 3:03)

††† As implied by the title, this next featurette is dedicated to the primary villain of the movie, Steppenwolf. His comic book origins are covered, as well as his connections to Darkseid and the way he is portrayed in the movie. However, the motion capture process and the VFX are not discussed, which feels like a wasted opportunity.

Scene Studies (HD; 15:16)

††† Four featurettes are included under this submenu which delve into specific set-pieces. These can either be watched individually, or via a "Play All" function.

Suit Up: The Look of the League (HD; 10:21)

††† Probably the best featurette on the disc, this is a decently in-depth look at the designs for each of the central heroes. The costume designer walks us through the concept artwork and how each of the outfits were made. Even Cyborg is covered, showing how he was built in a computer. As ever, I wish this was longer, but it's an informative featurette nevertheless.

R4 vs R1

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

† † Luckily, special features are the same worldwide, while only language options differ. This disc actually appears to be a direct port of the U.K. 3D release.

Summary

††† 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.

††† In addition to a standard Blu-ray and a 4K release, Roadshow have chosen to release Justice League in 3D for those who are still interested in such discs. Unfortunately, the 3D presentation is noticeably underwhelming, though it still has its moments. The downgraded audio is also disappointing, while the extras leave something more to be desired. This is a try before you buy situation.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Callum Knox (I studied biology)
Friday, April 06, 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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