Justice League Blu-ray Review: The DC Cinematic Universe Is Heading in the Right Direction

Will leave fans looking forward to the next film in the DC franchise.
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It’s been some time since the last film Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice where the Man of Steel (Henry Cavill) gave his life fighting Doomsday. The loss of the world’s most powerful superhero affected the entire planet, leaving most without hope. Even Batman (Ben Affleck) feels the loss as he takes responsibility for the death of Superman. But there isn’t time for everyone to grieve. The Dark Knight is still patrolling the streets and has stumbled upon a new threat.

Some strange insect-like creatures have been appearing around the world attracted by the scent of fear. After defeating one, the Dark Knight notices some curious markings left behind indicating three squares. Sensing that something extremely powerful and evil is coming, he tries to put together a team of metahumans that might be able to stand up to a massive cosmic threat.

For quite some time, he has been keeping tabs on Diana Prince/Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), Barry Allen/The Flash (Ezra Miller), Arthur Curry/Aquaman (Jason Mamoa), and Ray Fisher/Cyborg (Victor Stone). While there is some reluctance from some of the possible team members, it’s a good thing he’s trying to unite them as Diana informs them that the insect-looking Parademons are working for a super powerful being named Steppenwolf (Ciaran Hinds). Thousands of years ago, he had tried to conquer the Earth and it took all the combined armies of the Amazons, Atlanteans, Humans, and a few aliens from other planets to defeat him. After his defeat, they took away the source of his power that was contained in three mother boxes and were hidden away and guarded on the far reaches of the planet. But with the death of Superman and the loss of hope, the mother boxes had awakened and called out towards Steppenwolf sensing the Earth was ripe for takeover.

Putting aside their differences after several Steppenwolf attacks, the heroes find a way to come together to try and stop this formidable threat that wishes to conquer the planet and transform it into a duplicate of his home world Apocalypse. Sensing they may still not be strong enough, they must take a risk in trying to reanimate Superman.

With the addition of the three new superheroes, you would normally expect a lot of backstory and character development. But in this incidence, it wasn’t necessary as most people have some idea of the characters. It would have been easy for the film to have been dragged down with too much exposition, but in this case, it had just enough for introductions without becoming too overwhelming. They also brought a more relaxed atmosphere than previous films. With The Flash and Aquaman adding some levity, it helped to relax tension and make for a much more enjoyable film and gave it more of a comic-book feel.

Wonder Woman kept true to her character as she was when previously presented in her own stand-alone movie. Her heart and soul were still there as well as her concern for the average person, although her outfit looked a little skimpier and her speed increased dramatically. Both Batman and Superman had much improved personalities and felt truer to their comic personas.

The Blu-ray was presented in 1080p High Definition 16x9, aspect ratio 1.85:1, with a Dolby Atmos DTS-HD 5.1 Digital Audio. The video was very crisp and clear with vibrant colors that accentuated the new and brighter costumes significantly. It also appears that some other touch-ups were done on the final product because the scenes where Henry Cavill’s moustache had to be digitally removed looked terrible in everything I had seen before, but on the Blu-ray it wasn’t even noticeable. The surround sound was good and filled the room, immersing the viewer in the action.

The Blu-ray set contains a Blu-ray disc, a DVD and a digital download code, along with eight Special Features.

“The Return Of Superman” is two brief scenes showing Superman preparing to join the fight against Steppenwolf that were deleted from the final cut. Both scenes wee irrelevant to the story and would have detracted from the film and his surprise return at just the right time.

“Road To Justice” is a discussion with some famous comic writers and artists such as Jim Lee, Geoff Johns, and Bruce Timm, who give the backstory of the Justice League from their original creation and their various manifestations through the last five decades in comics, animation, and finally their big screen debut.

“Heart Of Justice” is cast and crew describing the importance of the Justice League trinity and what they represent, Superman is hope, Wonder Woman is love, and Batman as Justice.

“Technology of the Justice League” shows four of the movies most technological aspects in concept and schematics: “The Flying Fox” Batman’s troop transport vehicle, “Knight Crawler” hybrid tank and climbing vehicle, “Barry Allen’s Suit” the piecemeal fabric suit that is used by the Flash, and “Cyborg” who is his own technological miracle.

“Justice League: The New Heroes” Actor Ray Fisher takes a closer look at the newest DC heroes to be introduced, Cyborg, Flash, and Aquaman along with the actors who played these iconic roles.

“Steppenwolf The Conqueror” is the introduction of this latest villain including his back story and origin by voice actor Ciaran Hinds.

“Scene Studies” takes a closer look at four of the bigger action scenes in the film from conception, storyboarding, pre-visualizations, stunt rehearsals, and final performances. Those scenes included, the Amazons fight versus Steppenwolf, Wonder Woman taking on a group of terrorists, the resurrection of Superman and fight in Heroes Park, and the tunnel battle while rescuing the scientists.

“Suit Up: The Look Of The League” designer Michael Wilkinson shows how he and his creative team came up with the ideas behind the costumes used in the film and what it took to produce and maintain them.

Like most people, I have been very disappointed with the last couple of movies featuring Superman and Batman. Suicide Squad was a little better but didn’t live up to the hype. It wasn’t until Wonder Woman that DC gave a real spark of hope for their cinematic universe. But was Wonder Woman just an exception or could Justice League rise up and meet expectations? From early trailers and previews that I saw, there was no hope for this film and I believe had they kept to director Zach Snyder’s original vision and not brought in Joss Whedon to do major script changes and film reshoots, it would have failed.

Thankfully, the change of director worked. There were some issues with the basic storyline, but for the most part, it was a fun movie. There were plenty of exciting battles, the characters worked well together, the costumes were brighter (Superman’s suit was actually blue), and there was just enough comedy to keep the film from being too serious. It was a positive step in the right direction for the DC franchise and will leave fans looking forward to the next film to come instead of dreading how their beloved heroes would be portrayed.

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