DC's heroes unite as Justice League arrives on blu-ray this week. While the film didn't light a fire like many expected/hoped upon it's theatrical release, it still might be worth picking up on blu-ray. Check out my full review to see why.
Critically speaking, the DC Cinematic films have had it pretty rough, unless we're talking about Wonder Woman. Personally speaking, I enjoyed Batman v. Superman for what it was, though I get why it disappointed so many. Justice League definitely tried to shift gears a bit, while still building off of the BvS story, and the result is both good and bad.
The film picks up after the death of Superman, wherein Batman is actively seeking out other superheroes to combat a potential threat he knows is coming. He does this with the help of Diana, Wonder Woman, but when Steppenwolf, one of Darkseid's generals, arrives to collect the mother boxes strewn about the planet, they have to work fast to save the world. It becomes clear quite quickly, however, that even the team they've assembled isn't equipped to handle Steppenwolf and his horde of parademons.
For those of you who skipped out on the film in theaters, perhaps having run out of goodwill...I won't spoil the film for you. The movie itself feels like a more typical comic book movie, with many elements jumping right off the page of a comic onto the screen. The designs are definitely in line with what we've come to expect from Zack Snyder's aesthetics, but the story itself has a more expanded sense of fun and light-heartedness.
That's not to say the stakes aren't high (the world is about to end), but the tone feels more optimistic overall. While some have debated whether this is a good thing, or not, I enjoyed it. Overall, I think Justice League was a lot of fun and I remember having a blast watching it with the kiddos in the theater. I'm happy to say the humor and sense of fun sticks with it upon more than one viewing.
The action is solid and the cast meshes well together. It's not a perfect film, however, and has its fair share of issues. Steppenwolf's CGI design could certainly use some polish and Henry Cavill's digitally removed mustache is still plenty distracting in those sequences. The story moves at a fast pace and while that's a good thing overall, there are moments that zoom by too quickly. Some things could have been expanded, allowing for stronger character moments and better plot beats.
It's a barebones plot that moves along regardless of whether you're ready for it to or not. Despite the issues with the story, the film absolutely nails the characters. I loved seeing these heroes interact on the big screen and felt their chemistry was spot on. That alone made it fun to watch again, and I suspect will keep me entertained any other time I feel like popping it in.
While Justice League isn't going to please everyone and has problems, it feels like a genuine step in the right direction for DC films on the whole. There are lessons to be learned from it, but it manages to be entertaining. It's definitely a turn your brain off type of entertainment, but it's entertaining nonetheless.
Sight and Sound
Justice League has a wide range visual styles. From Batman’s stark Gotham City, Themyscira’s hidden land, Aquaman’s underwater abode, and the brighter tones of Metropolis...It’s kind of all over the place. This isn’t a bad thing, however, as it’s a good way to visually distinguish locales without losing the audience. It also gives the blu-ray a chance to shine.
Warner Bros. has always delivered on excellent blu-ray transfers (with only a couple notable exceptions) and the work on Justice League is no different. The image is sharp and clear, making the colors pop on the screen. The blacks are also very deep and allows for a clear picture in even the darker sequences.
This is especially important for quite a few of the action scenes that take place in dark and secluded areas (a sewer system and within an abandoned power plant). With all that’s going on, it would be easy to lose the action in a blu of darkened tones. Thanks to the quality of the blu-ray, however, everything remains clear and easy to follow.
The sound transfer is given equal treatment here though there’s not a whole lot special about it either. Everything is aligned properly, but there doesn’t seem like a lot of focus was given to immersion on the surround sound. It’s all very functional, and the dialog gets proper prioritization (despite all the heavy action going on). In all, from a technical aspect, the Justice League blu-ray is solid.
The Bonus Features
While the Justice League blu-ray doesn’t feature the mythical “Snyder Cut,” it does have some nifty special features for fans to enjoy:
The Return of Superman
Road to Justice
Heart of Justice
Technology of the Justice League
Justice League: The New Heroes
Steppenwolf the Conqueror
Revisiting the Amazons
Wonder Woman's Rescue
The Tunnel Battle
Suit Up: The Look of the League
Easily the biggest things fans will want to check out first is “Return of Superman” although it’s just a deleted scene (the only one included here), showing an alternate version of the League bringing the Man of Steel back to life. The rest offer up some fun insights into the history of the Justice League, from the comics to the long road to the big screen, and some behind the scenes goodies.
Nothing here stands out in a big way that will have you coming back to watch them again and again. However, they are still plentiful and provide some decent extra entertainment for the purchase price.