Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Ultimate Edition Ultra HD Blu-ray Review

Fearing that the actions of Superman are left unchecked, Batman takes on the Man of Steel, while the world wrestles with what kind of a hero it really needs.

The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )

Film:

Extras:

Audio/UHD Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )

95

Details:

Studio and Year: Warner – 2016
MPAA Rating: R/PG-13
Feature running time: 151/182 minutes
Genre: Action/Fantasy

Disc Format: BD-100
Encoding: HEVC
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Resolution: 2160p/24

Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos, Dolby TrueHD 7.1, French/Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Starring: Henry Cavill, Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Amy Adams, Jesse Eisenberg, Diane Lane, Laurence Fishburne, Jeremy Irons, Holly Hunter
Directed by: Zack Snyder
Music by: Hans Zimmer and Junkie XL
Written by: Chris Terrio and David S. Goyer
Region Code: A,B,C

Blu-ray Disc release Date: July 19, 2016

“Two Legends. One Battle”

My Take:

Fearing the ramifications of a god-like Super Hero left unchecked, Gotham City’s own formidable, forceful vigilante takes on Metropolis’s most revered, modern-day savior, while the world wrestles with what sort of hero it really needs. And with Batman and Superman at war with one another, a new threat quickly arises, putting mankind in greater danger than it’s ever known before.

I took in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice in the theater. Narratively speaking, it left me scratching my head. I remember thinking when I first heard about it, that the idea of Batman taking on Superman seemed a little ridiculous, for obvious reasons. That aside, I figured that if they came up with a viable plot to support such a notion, that perhaps they could work around it. Unfortunately writers David S. Goyer and Chris Terrio, didn’t come up with anything that warranted serious attention. They came up with an overly dense story containing a series of shallow threads that literally did little to support the primary plot, WHY are Batman and Superman so pissed at each other? I mean there was some general details but truth be told they didn’t hold water when considering the grand scheme of things that occurred in Man of Steel

The Lois Lane factor was given too much emphasis and when lining up the facts about why Superman was taking all the heat, they simply didn’t make much sense. I wasn’t at all crazy about how their confrontation was brought to an end. As a matter of fact, I found it downright silly. Too much time was spent on superfluous aspects rather than delving into more depth with respect to the Batman/Superman/Wonder Woman characters, lightly touching upon their mythos, and focusing on creating an engaging conflict. That nonsense involving Lex Luthor and his creation was pretty lame and seemed like a complete reach.

So the question is, did I dislike Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice? The answer is not really. I liked how they handled Batman, and thought that Ben Affleck was surprisingly good. I liked Wonder Woman’s entrance and part in the finale. I see good potential in the character and liked Gal Gadot in the role. I wasn’t crazy about how the other Justice League members were tossed in but am eager to see how they are developed. They action and production elements were about what you’d expect and I thought were predominantly well executed.

After I watched the Ultimate Edition, with its 30 minutes of additional footage, I think that the elements surrounding the animosity between Batman and Superman had better focus which helped some. The other added tidbits didn’t truly serve to round out the overall narrative construct, but they didn’t diminish it in any way. It would be fair to day that I prefer the extended cut over the theatrical version. Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice in either case is flawed but not completely without merit. A bit of a lighter side would have brought things down from the film’s overtly serious tone. As a genre fan, I can be somewhat forgiving of narrative shortcomings, as at the end of the day, this isn’t monumental filmmaking. I do look forward to seeing where things go with elements started here, Have to hope that they are able to help the story match the potential in the subject matter.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Ultimate Edition features an extended cut of the film which includes 30 more minutes of story and action not seen in theaters. The extended cut is rated R.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice will be available on Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack for $44.95, Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack for $44.95, Blu-ray Combo Pack for $35.99 and 2-disc DVD Special Edition for $28.98. The Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack features an Ultra HD Blu-ray disc with the Ultimate Edition in 4K with HDR, a Blu-ray disc with the theatrical version and special features in HD, and Digital HD versions of both the Ultimate Edition and theatrical version. The Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack features the theatrical version of the film in 3D hi-definition and hi-definition, as well as the Ultimate Edition in hi-definition; the Blu-ray Combo Pack features the Ultimate Edition and theatrical version of the film in hi-definition on Blu-ray; and the DVD features the theatrical version in standard definition. The Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack and Blu-ray Combo Pack include digital versions of both the Ultimate Edition and theatrical version movies in Digital HD with UltraViolet*.

Parental Guide:

Both versions of the film contain intense sequences of violence and action throughout and some minor sensuality.

AUDIO/VIDEO – By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100/EXCELLENT = 83-91/GOOD = 74-82/AVERAGE = 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**

UHD Presentation: 94
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

 

  • HDR: Dark Highlights:
  • HDR: Bright Highlights:
  • HDR: Expanded Color:
  • Resolution:
  • Visual Impact:

 

Dolby Atmos Rating: 96
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

 

  • Level of immersion:
  • Soundstage integration:
  • Audio object placement:
  • Effectiveness:
  • Entertainment factor:

 

Ultra HD Blu-ray has finally been released and eager enthusiasts are ready and willing to see what it has to offer. For those not familiar with the details regarding Ultra HD Blu-ray you can refer to my article that includes some pertinent data on the subject. Here is the link:

Ultra HD Blu-ray Has Come to AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

For those not willing to refer to the article linked above, I have included some comments here. The implementation of high dynamic range as it stands currently, doesn’t appear to have exacting standards and no calibration tools to allow for a foundational threshold for setting up a visual system. This leaves us to do the best we can to determine what appears to be accurate, at least for the time being. With that in mind, my approach to reviewing Ultra HD Blu-ray will be to assess the elements observed which I find to generate the most significant visual impact when compared to standard high definition Blu-ray.

For me, high dynamic range, with its broader spectrum of colors and emboldened highlights in the areas of contrast and brightness, is where the potential lies in the format. The increase in resolution, while an important component, isn’t going to be definitive in every case, especially given that currently many of the Ultra HD Blu-ray releases are derived from 2K Digital Intermediates that are up-converted to 4K. This shouldn’t be strictly construed to mean that such up-converted images won’t look noticeably better than their 1080p counterparts. Conversely, a release finished on a 4K Digital Intermediate isn’t a guarantee that it will be heads and shoulders above the rest. So, what can you expect to hear from me when discussing what I observed from Ultra HD Blu-ray? I will hit upon the things that struck me, the impact, or lack of impact, of HDR and the improvement, if any, in resolution when compared to 1080p Blu-ray. The outcome will be a rating as seen above.

Front projection for home theater is just stepping through the door with respect to the reproduction of HDR. My goal is to present readers with a reasonable expectation of what they can expect when viewing the same content that I have. There may be variables that differ slightly however I believe that in general the outcome will be close. As we are exposed to more and more content and calibration tools come onboard we will have better perspectives from which to gauge. Thanks for reading!

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Ultimate Edition comes to Ultra HD Blu-ray from Warner Brothers Home Entertainment featuring 2160pHEVC encoded video and lossless Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1 channel sound that has an average bitrate of 3.4Mbps.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was shot on film and derived from a 4K DI for its presentation in Ultra HD. With the limited exposure to Ultra HD sourced from 4K Digital Intermediates we are left to judge based upon what we have seen thus far. In this case the results are marvelous.

The 1080p transfer looks terrific and this Ultra HD rendering takes it to the next level with a discernible increase in detail, emboldened highlights, both light and dark, and a noticeably vibrant image. This is one of the most obvious benefits of high dynamic range that I have seen from the format. The film has a multitude of fiery explosions, streaming /cascading light and mixed light dark elements. They simply look stunning. This is primarily a dark film and those low level sequences look terrific. Those sequences that incorporate elements of brilliant light, like the extended chase, where Batman is attempting to obtain the Kryptonite from Luthor’s flunkies, looks amazing. The emboldened highlights are bright enough that it caused me to squint. The use of shadows mixed with light looked very natural as well. The scene that takes place atop Lexcorp where Luthor reveals his dastardly kidnapping plot to Superman is a great example.

The film utilizes various chromatic schemes, with an overall cooler visual aesthetic, that appears faithfully reproduced in Ultra HD. The nature of the photography didn’t always allow the wide color gamut to shine but scenes like the one that takes place in India where the large Kryptonite meteor is recovered from the ocean revealed richer earth toned hues and lush color. Close ups reveal oodles of fine detail and abounding textures. Looking at the presentation as a whole I would say that it makes for a distinct improvement when compared to the 1080p Blu-ray rendering.

In listening to the Dolby Atmos surround mix I found it to be of the active variety that makes effective of the platform. The blend of audio objects placed in the height channels is a mix atmospherics and discrete effects. This creates a tangible level of 3D immersion that coincides with the onscreen events nicely. The opening of the film recounts the events that took place in Man of Steel (told from a different perspective) The devastating destruction and battle features the sounds of swirling objects, explosions and hails of falling debris that travel around the soundstage moving overheard, passing by and coming directly at the listening position. There are both large set pieces and smaller/brief sequences/moments that show off the track’s well-crafted mix. In the scene where Batman’s jet departs the warehouse after his encounter with the group holding Martha Kent hostage, the sound of the jet flying overhead moves from the front of the room, toward the rear and then circling behind before heading off into the distance. Everything comes together during the finale’s violent encounter with the creature in Gotham City as sounds rotate and revolve around the soundstage from both above and at ear level. The music score as presented over the entire soundstage is one of the highlights of this Atmos mix. I enjoyed the balance of atmosphere and integration of discrete object placement. I think that it complimented the source material and made for an entertaining and invigorating listening experience.

Blu-ray Video:

Video: 96
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

 

  • Resolution/Clarity:
  • Black Level/Shadow Detail:
  • Color Reproduction:
  • Fleshtones:
  • Compression:

 

Audio: 100
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Dynamics:
  • Low frequency effects:
  • Surround Sound presentation:
  • Clarity/Detail:
  • Dialog Reproduction:
  • Low frequency extension * (non-rated element): [img] [/img]

 

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice comes to Blu-ray Disc from Warner Brothers Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 21 Mbps and lossless Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1 channel sound that has an average bitrate of 3.4Mbps.

Having seen Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice theatrically I found this rendering to faithfully mimic that presentation. The film utilizes a stylized visual design comprised of various elements that represent the differing environs featured in the story. The color range is limited to shades of dark blue, grays and black with splashes of broader colors and muted sepia tones. Warm golden accents are used to break up the monochromatic essence as uneven light and shading are prevalent. Contrast is spot on which empowers whites and grays without washing away detail. Whites are snappy and crisp and grays are multi-staged and layered. Blacks are dynamic and gradational and detail in shadows is just as strong. The large amount of CGI featured in the film softens some of the background elements but I didn’t found it to be excessive or distracting as the quality of the video is high. It isn’t always razor sharp but it is cleanly rendered with revealing refinement that increases the perception of fine detail.

The Dolby TrueHD 7.1 channel audio is demonstration quality and is sure to please those who like to play their systems near reference. This recording has wide dynamic range and boasts superlative clarity and high level detail. Dialog is appreciably lucid through the center channel as it penetrates well into the room. Channel separation and imaging is excellent. This draws out both large and small sound elements and allows their directional correlation based upon the onscreen events to be definable. The mix makes effective and often aggressive use of the surround channels to reproduce the spatial and discrete sounds contained in this soundtrack. Where called upon the listening position is submerged in sound that bombards the senses with a combination of discretely placed, near field, and panning sound effects. Low frequency effects are applied with authority and occasionally provide room shuddering bass. This is an involving and noteworthy audio presentation that is guaranteed to give your home theater a workout.

Bonus Features:

  • Disc 1: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Ultimate Edition Ultra HD Blu-ray
    Disc 2: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Theatrical Version
  • (HD) United the World’s Finest – 15 minute featurette
  • (HD) God’s and Men: A Meeting of Giants – 12 minute featurette
  • (HD) The Warrior, The Myth, The Wonder – 21 minute Documentary
  • (HD) Superman: Complexity & Truth – 7 minute featurette
  • (HD) Accelerating Design: The New Batmobile – 22 minute featurette
  • (HD) Batman: Austerity & Rage – 8 minute featurette
  • (HD) Wonder Woman: Grace & Power – 6 minute featurette
  • (HD) Batcave: Legacy of the Lair – 7 minute featurette
  • (HD) The Might and the Power of a Punch – 5 minute feature
  • (HD) The Empire of Luthor – 12 minute Documentary
  • [b](HD)[/b[ Save the Bats – 4 minute feature
  • Digital HD Copy

Final Thoughts:

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice fails to live up to either of its iconic subjects but manages to entertain at a base level that didn’t leave me completely disappointed. It comes to Blu-ray from Warner Brothers Home Entertainment in this Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack featuring excellent Ultra HD video, reference quality high definition audio/video, a terrific Dolby Atmos sound mix and a solid supplemental set. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice comes recommended to its fan. I found that the extended cut did make it a bit more palatable which may be something to consider. Either way it’s easily worth the cost of a rental as it looks and sounds terrific on Blu-ray and even better in Ultra HD.

 

Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:

JVC DLA-RS500 3D/4K Ready High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6-HDR Meter from Spectracal)
Stewart Filmscreen – Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16×9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV8802A 13.2 Channel Audio/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies – 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
B&K Reference 200.7 Series 2 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-103D Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player
Samsung UBD-K8500 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton “Ergo” and In-Ceiling series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SVS PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
SVS PC12-NSD
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) – Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components – CP-CP102 cooling package

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