It’s fair to say that last year’s Justice League did not exactly get the critical love that DC fans were hoping for when it came out in November. Smatterings of one and two star reviews (although we here at Cultured Vultures gave it a kinder-than-most write-up) killed it quicker than Superman did General Zod.
And there was that moustache…
The film was a mess from the get go. With DC and Warner Brothers doing their best to catch up with Marvel’s runaway train of success with their superhero slate, DC planned an entire cinematic universe in three films and a few short years to get to their team-up movie, and it backfired spectacularly. After the mauling that Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice got by critics it was impossible to have much faith in the DCEU. Then along came Wonder Woman and completely blew everybody out of the park and got everybody thinking that holy crap, maybe DC can do this extended universe shtick. Then it all went a bit wrong. Again.
As Justice League was nearing the end of production director Zack Snyder left the project and it was left to Joss Whedon to carry the film over the finish line with re-shoots, editing and digitally removing Henry Cavill’s moustache for the hilarity/horror for everyone to see. (I never saw Justice League in theatres, but I’m so glad I waited to get my hands on a Blu-ray copy, as I’ve never hit the rewind button more in my life. The majesty of watching Henry Cavill, a genuinely fantastic fit for the Man of Steel, all square-jaw and pecs, try and talk with his un-mouth shaped mouth post-CGI ‘stache removal is one of the most perverse pleasures I got from watching Justice League. It’s weirdly joyous, like watching a dog on its hind legs or children falling over. You can’t help but look).
It’s telling with this changing of the guard that on the Blu-ray’s extras there is little-to-none of Zack Snyder anywhere, understandable given the circumstances of his departure. Bar a few shots of him stood around from the heart of filming he’s nowhere to be seen. Oddly, though, Joss Whedon is also absent from the extras so there is no director input into the project here on the Blu-ray which is a huge disappointment to see from Warner Bros. Snyder rightly shouldn’t have been bothered by the top brass but getting Whedon in to explain how and why he came to some of his creative decisions on the film would have been greatly appreciated, due to the extensive reshoots he oversaw that clearly made it into the final product.
However, what does make this a good Blu-ray is the sheer amount of extras that are available and do give fans a peek behind the curtain of Justice League. Seeing Ray Fisher (Cyborg) introduce the new members of the DCEU in the “Justice League: The New Heroes” featurette was a joy to watch. His clear enthusiasm and pride at being part of one of comics most famous teams on the big screen is genuinely lovely to see.
Also, with the absence of directors the other equally valuable crew get their chance to shine. “Suit Up: The Look of the League” is an honestly fascinating look into how the costumes for the film are made and watching the level of effort that the crew put in is a sight to behold. Same with the “Scene Studies” extras, which looks at some of the key scenes from the film (with added hilarity for us Brits as a scouse stunt coordinator, Eunice Huthart, gets subtitles whilst she explains a stunt to some of the actors is funny to see).
It’s clear, though, that there was a bona fide love for the project from the crew and they really put their hearts and soul into this project. Tragically, there’s no featurette about Cavill’s moustache removal in post-production and I’d be lying in saying that I was a little disappointed that it was missing. I would’ve given this Blu-ray a perfect 10 if Warner Bros. had had the stones to put it on the disc.
Justice League is a messy film that deserved better considering the amount of passion and love that was put into the film by the cast and crew, but this Blu-ray, whilst not saving the film, does offer something for fans of Justice League. It’s a rewarding watch and gives the fans ultimately what they deserve to a certain degree. However to the casual viewer it’s probably not going to change your mind about Justice League in general.
Justice League is out on Blu-ray and digital now. The author was given a copy of the film for the purposes of a review.
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While far from perfect, Justice League on Blu-ray has a lot more going for it than the film itself. The extras will keep fans happy and the casual viewer interested for the most part. Definitely more for the fans, though.
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