Justice League is now available on Blu-ray and DVD at purveyors of home entertainment worldwide. Thanks to the fine folks at Warner Bros., I have a copy of the DVD/Blu-ray combo pack all to myself.
While this movie has been available digitally for nearly a month, the Blu-ray version promises a host of extra features to give the viewer better insight into the choices that went into this latest offering from the DCEU. Over the past few days, I’ve been able to watch the movie and special features and roll them around in my mind to give you an unvarnished review of this release.
I don’t think I can contribute much to the choruses of praise and damnation that followed the premiere of this highly anticipated release. While the storyline and pacing have been a polarizing force within the geek community, I think we can all agree that certain scenes really knocked it out of the park. For my money, the fight choreography of the tunnel battle sequence will stand as a good example of ensemble action scenes. I especially enjoyed the scenes featuring The Flash, who packs 24 FPS of kinetic energy and didn’t let up for a second. The Blu-ray manages to harness the crisp visuals of the theatrical experience into a package fit for home consumption.
Several gems sparkle within the special features. Chief among them is a segment entitled “The Tech of the Justice League”. Justice League was a very technology-driven film, from Batman’s arsenal, to the Mother Boxes, to Cyborg himself. When featuring advanced or alien tech in an otherwise contemporary setting, many filmmakers utilize a design language that fails to link this new technology to the familiar. This oversight makes the tech less believable. “The Tech of the Justice League” shows how the design team took special care to base the movie’s otherworldly technology on modern day referents, thus creating visuals that are both impressive yet relatable. Another segment, “Suit Up: The Look of the League”, takes the same approach, but with the costumes. This feature is worth watching if only to see Gal Gadot, in full Wonder Woman regalia, try on Batman’s cowl.
While the Blu-ray maintains the impressive visuals of the theatrical release, it also carries with it the failings. If you loved the blob of Silly Putty on Henry Cavill‘s lip and other blemishes that only come from hasty reshoots and over-focus grouping, then you have nothing to worry about! The warts are still there, warts and all. However, WB missed a golden opportunity to fix these universally panned boo-boos and erase them from our collective memories.
Imagine you were tasked with creating a special features menu for your favorite movie. The catch? You could only include two features. What would you include? If you said “deleted scenes” and “director’s commentary”, then you’ve got good instincts and may have a future as a special features picker-outer (probably not a real job… yet). Unfortunately, this Blu-ray lacks all of the latter and only a smattering of the former. The two deleted scenes, which focus on Superman’s return, give us a peephole into what a Zack Snyder release might have looked like. Given that this movie underwent extensive reshoots, one would expect a rich repository of unused material. Then again, maybe they need to hold something back for the inevitable “deluxe” version.
As for the director’s commentary? Zilch! One would expect that with the home release of a tentpole franchise film, there would be multiple commentary tracks. I found nothing. In addition to a lack of director’s commentary, there is a lack of the director himself. Zack Snyder is conspicuously absent from all special features. The closest we get are brief, candid shots of him on the set. I saw Bruce Timm and Marv Wolfman more frequently throughout the special features. I long ago abandoned all hope for a Justice League Snyder Cut, but to see him almost completely scrubbed from the special features is disheartening.
Have you purchased this Blu-ray? What did you think? Let me know in the comments section below.