DVDSleuth.com is your source for daily Blu-ray Disc & DVD news and reviews
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
Warner Home Video
Blu-ray Disc Released: 7/19/2016
All Ratings out of
Review by Mike Long, Posted on 7/12/2016
You've got to give credit where credit is due -- DC did if first. 1978's Superman: The Movie showed the world what a big-budget, well-made superhero movie could look like. A little over a decade later, DC came roaring back with Tim Burton's Batman, an event film in a time when event films didn't exist. And while it went out with a whimper, Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy proved that audiences would embrace a serious and mature comic book movie. While this was going on, Marvel began to assemble its own feature film universe and soon convinced us that a comic book movie with multiple superheroes could work. This inspired the powers-that-be at DC to follow suit. This resulted in the Superman rebootMan of Steel, one of the most misguided movies ever made. Now, those responsible for that film have decided to throw Batman into the mix. Will Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice fare any better?
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice actually begins during the finale of Man of Steel. While Superman (Henry Cavill) and General Zod (Michael Shannon) were destroying Metropolis, Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) arrives in an attempt to his employees working in the city. Unfortunately, he's too late and a blast of heat vision destroys the Wayne building. The story then jumps ahead 18 months. Blaming him for the devastation in Metropolis, Bruce Wayne has been looking for a way to defeat Superman. Meanwhile, Superman is facing public scrutiny after his rescue of Lois Lane (Amy Adams) in Africa lead to the several deaths. At this same time, Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) is attempting to woo Senator Finch (Holly Hunter) to allow him to import a strange mineral which was found in India. Bruce Wayne knows that Luthor is up to something and begins to investigate him. Following a disaster which casts even more doubt on Superman, Batman puts his plan together to fight the Man of Steel. While Superman is reluctant to engage in such a fight, Luthor puts a plan in motion which ensures that the two heroes clash.
Did you follow all of that? There's a lot going on in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and the convoluted synopsis above only reveals a fraction of the storyline here. It would be a great understatement to say that the film bites off more than it can chew. Batman has a storyline. Superman has a storyline. Lex Luthor has a storyline. There are also subplots involving Lois, Martha Kent (Diane Lane), and Diana Prince (Gal Gadot). Even with the film's 2 1/2 hour running time, the story feels very episodic and choppy as it tries to cover all of this ground. Therefore, some scenes feel very truncated and some of the plot points don't go anywhere. Writers Chris Terrio and David S. Goyer clearly had a lot of ideas, but they made the mistake of trying to cram them all into this movie.
The one idea that I did like was the movie's jumping-off point. Following the release of Man of Steel, many discussed the incredible amount of violence in the finale. The notion that Bruce Wayne lost people in that destruction is a good one and it almost says, "Yes, we did go overboard there." But, after that, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is filled with bad, or like much of Man of Steel, misguided ideas. The fact that Batman has to build an Iron Man-like suit in order to fight Superman is dumb and it's hard to believe that he could fight, much less move, in something like that. Isn't Luthor Superman's villain? Why is Batman snooping on him? Whose idea was it to put Wonder Woman in a brown outfit? I guarantee that there were people who saw the film that had no idea that was Wonder Woman, as she was missing her signature outfit. Speaking of character design, could Doomsday have been more uninspired? Actually, what we get are unfulfilled ideas. The fact that some distrust Superman is logical, but it never goes anywhere. We see a lot of shots of Affleck brooding, but what Batman does and why he does it remains vague at times.
But, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice's greatest sin is that it's essentially a really long commercial for the upcoming Justice League movies. If the inclusion of the word "justice" in the title wasn't enough of an indicator, the movie shoves some very under-developed ideas at us which are setting up those future movies. Batman has dreams which hint at an apocalyptic future which are never explained. Things become downright ridiculous when the impending action of the third act comes to a halt so that Diana can watch videos featuring The Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg. Seriously, a movie which is already too long stops so that it can show a an for future movies. Astounding.
Based on the word of mouth received by Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, I didn't know what to expect. I don't think I expected the movie to be boring. The first half of the movie contains a lot of talking and scenes that don't go anywhere. The second half is capped off by a fight scene which just goes on and on until it is just noise. It's become very obvious that Zack Snyder's visual skills far outweigh his story-telling ability. The movie features a great cast, and I think that Affleck did a good job as Batman, but Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice simply collapses under its own weight.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice should have had Jeremy Irons doing some ironing on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of Warner Home Video. The film has been letterboxed at 2.35:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 21 Mbps. The image is very sharp and clear, showing no overt grain and no defects from the source materials. Snyder has given the movie an overall dark look, but the transfer is never overly dark. Despite this, the colors look good, most notably Superman's suit. The image has a good amount of depth, even in the 2D version and the level of detail is very impressive -- the image is never soft. The Disc carries a Dolby TrueHD 7.1 audio track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 6.0 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The action sequences deliver notable surround and stereo effects. These effects show very nice separation and we are treated to individual and distinct effects, most notably from the rear channels. The stereo effects highlight sounds coming from off-screen. The subwoofer effects are quite powerful and deliver wall-shaking bass. This set also includes a Blu-ray 3D where the film has been letterboxed at 2.35:1 and the Disc contains an MVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 22/10 Mbps. The image is very sharp and clear, showing no notable grain or defects from the source materials. The 3D effects are impressive here. There is a nice amount of depth, as the actors are clearly separate from the background. Things are a bit blurry at times and there was some doubling of images in the foreground in certain spots, but otherwise the depth works well and really adds to the big action scenes. This Disc offers a Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track which runs at 48 kHz and a constant 448 kbps. The track provides nice stereo and surround effects, but it doesn't have the range of the 7.1 track found on the Blu-ray Disc.
The Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Blu-ray Disc contains a load of extras. "Uniting the World's Finest" (15 minutes) explores the DC universe and looks at how the Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman characters were brought into this movie, while also giving us a glimpse of the future movies in the series. "Gods and Men: A Meeting of Giants" (12 minutes) looks at the history of Batman and Superman appearing together and the two characters differ and relate. "The Warrior, The Myth, The Wonder" (21 minutes) delivers the background of Wonder Woman, including the unique origin of the character, and looks at the upcoming Wonder Woman film. "Accelerating Design: The New Batmobile" (23 minutes) appears to be an episode of a TV shows, which takes us into the garage and shows how the sleek car was designed and built. "Superman: Complexity & Truth" (7 minutes) allows Cavill to give his view of the Superman character and looks at how he plays the icon. "Batman: Austerity & Rage" (8 minutes) examines the look of Bruce Wayne and Batman and what Affleck brought to the role. "Wonder Woman: Grace & Power" (7 minutes) takes us behind-the-scenes to see how Gadot trained for the role, as well as her wardrobe. We see how Batman's headquarters was designed in "Batcave: Legacy of the Lair" (7 minutes), which includes footage of the set being built. "The Might and the Power of a Punch" (5 minutes) shows the weapons that Batman utilizes to fight Superman. "The Empire of Luthor" (12 minutes) takes us back to the DC Comics history and introduces us to Lex Luthor. "Save the Bats" (5 minutes) shows a bat habitat and teaches us how important they are to the ecosystem.
Review Copyright 2016 by Mike Long