You can’t save the world alone—and Ultra High Definition can’t save “Justice League.”
The far-from-heralded DC Comics-inspired film is now available to purchase on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD (it has been available digitally since Feb. 13).
If you decide to reach for your utility belt to drop some cash so you can watch this film at home, be prepared for two hours of “what could have been.” A viewing of this film just makes you realize that Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment missed a gigantic opportunity to leave a definitive mark on the world of superhero cinema.
“Justice League” doesn’t age well. My initial more-positive-than-negative review back in November was more relief that WB/DC managed to finish making it at all after so much production drama, and for being top-notch, comic-book movie eye candy. But the film should have been an event. Instead it feels like a mistake.
Repeated viewing after a home video purchase is one of the true joys in this current era of comic-book movies, but “Justice League” doesn’t bring out such emotions watching it again. There are visual aspects to enjoy, but all that the enhanced detail of a 4K viewing provides is the realization that WB/DC just didn’t get it right with this one. The movie clearly suffered from studio interference. Witty Joss Whedon dialogue wasn’t going to save the day, and neither was Superman, who should have been a part of the advertising scheme from the beginning. (Everyone knew he was coming back.)
Not that you can’t find enjoyment from watching “Justice League” again: The kid in you will appreciate a movie where you can watch Superman and the Flash race against each other and hear Cyborg say “booyah.”
Maybe it would have been best to just release director Zack Snyder’s initial cut. At least we would have seen Superman’s cool all-black suit, even if just for an instant—I mean, how do you kill Superman, and not bring him back in an all-black suit? (Don’t worry, that clip at least is included with the disc extras.)
It wasn’t perfect, but “Justice League” is here now for your home consumption if you so choose. Here’s the good, the bad and the ugly.
Visually, you won’t find a better-looking superhero team on film. That’s a rare tip of the cap to WB/DC, and Snyder specifically, for doing an outstanding job of casting. The icing on the cake is the costume design of Michael Wilkinson, who might be the one true hero of “Justice League.” Every super-suit is a work of art and looks fantastic in 4K. There’s a special feature included that shows Wilkinson and his team constructing the look of the film, and it’s one of the most enjoyable parts of the home video experience. But even though the DC icons looked good, looks aren’t everything.
Perhaps the biggest mistake of “Justice League” (well, besides not giving each hero a solo film first so that when the team finally comes together it feels like more of an event) is the absolutely beyond infuriating lack of one of the most powerful and popular DC Comics villains ever: Darkseid. Maybe he was a part of the plans when this was going to be a two-part movie, but he’s nowhere to be found and his absence is glaring. The biggest heroes coming together to take on Steppenwolf? No one cares about Steppenwolf. If you do, you’re lying. Darkseid should have been the big bad from the beginning. His presence could have completely changed the perception of this film and given WB/DC a chance to do something that even Marvel Studios rarely excels in: creating captivating villains (although Killmonger fixed that problem).
The only thing worse than Henry Cavill having to film reshoots as Superman with a mustache because his “Mission Impossible” bosses wouldn’t let him shave, was that “Justice League” begins with one of those CGI-mustache removal scenes. To say that set the tone for the next two hours is an understatement.
“Justice League” wasn’t the world-changer you thought it would be. Perhaps you’re still a little upset about that? Don’t be. Jason Momoa’s “Aquaman” movie has a chance to be another “Wonder Woman” moment for WB/DC. A Flash(point) movie starring Ezra Miller (if it ever happens) could be used as an opportunity to play with the time stream and rewrite the DC movie universe anew. Shazam (starring Zachary Levi) could also be a game-changer, but that’s assuming WB releases an official image soon and stops letting the Internet dissect those photos that keep popping up online for a superhero suit that clearly needs some special effects to look more special.
So DC on film isn’t going anywhere. Just don’t expect these heroes to team up again for a while.