Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. The movie offered an excellent visual presentation.
Sharpness worked very well. Any instances of softness remained confined to a handful of interiors and seemed negligible, as overall definition appeared excellent. No signs of jaggies or moiré effects occurred, and I witnessed no edge haloes or print flaws.
In terms of palette, the movie often went with Hollywood Standard Teal and Orange. Predictable as that might be, the tones appeared well-reproduced within their stylistic constraints. Blacks were dark and deep, while shadows looked smooth and clear. The image satisfied.
I also liked the dynamic Dolby Atmos soundtrack of Dawn. Because I don’t have an Atmos-equipped system yet, this played back as a Dolby TrueHD 7.1 mix, and it gave me an exciting presentation.
With so much action on display, the soundscape boasted many opportunities to shine, and it took advantage of them. Via the reprise of the Man of Steel climax, the movie kicked off with a bang, and the elements used the various channels in an active, dynamic manner. Add to that nice stereo music and some directional dialogue to end up with an engrossing soundfield.
Audio quality also pleased. Music was peppy and full, while speech seemed natural and concise. Effects appeared dynamic and accurate, with solid low-end response. The soundtrack kicked into high gear often enough to earn an “A-“.
In this package, we get two versions of Dawn. Disc One provides the movie’s theatrical cut (2:31:40) while Disc Two includes an Ultimate Edition (3:02:33). How do the two differ?
The biggest change – and improvement – relates to the UE’s depiction of Luthor. He often stays in the background during the Theatrical Cut, but Lex plays a significantly more prominent role in the UE, especially in terms of the ways he manipulates other characters.
In addition, the UE better explains Batman’s current status and his push toward rougher/more violent methods. We see more clearly how the “Bat Brand” impacts criminals, and we also better understand Clark’s obsession with him.
Both factors help patch up a lot of question marks from the Theatrical Cut. Other additions/expositional bits occur as well but these elements dominate and allow the UE to provide a substantially stronger version of Dawn.
Do the additions “fix” Dawn? No – I still think the movie comes with some of the negatives I mentioned in my main review, mainly because the characters still lack the level of emotional heft I’d expect. But the UE does manage a more powerful punch – I won’t call it moving, but it gets closer to that sentiment than the flat Theatrical.
Most importantly, the UE simply makes more sense. Character motivations seem clearer – especially connected to Luthor – and the entire narrative fits together more cleanly. Again, these changes don’t turn Dawn into a great movie, but unlike the Theatrical Cut, it’s one I can watch and enjoy – and recommend.
All the set’s extras show up on Disc One alongside the theatrical cut – and all of these encompass featurettes. Uniting the World’s Finest runs 15 minutes, five seconds and delivers info from director Zack Snyder, producers Charles Roven and Deborah Snyder, executive producer/DC Entertainment CCO Geoff Johns, Wonder Woman director Patti Jenkins, Suicide Squad director David Ayer, Suicide Squad producer Richard Suckle, Suicide Squad actors Will Smith, Margot Robbie and Jared Leto, executive producer Wesley Coller, and actors Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Jason Momoa, Ezra Miller, Henry Cavill and Ray Fisher. “Finest” looks at the movie characters who will eventually form into the Justice League. “Finest” really feels like a teaser for upcoming films, so don’t expect much substance.
With Gods and Men: A Meeting of Giants, we get a 12-minute, 28-second reel that features Affleck, Cavill, Johns, Roven, Deborah Snyder, Coller, Zack Snyder, co-producer Curtis Kanemoto, still photographer Clay Enos, and actors Laurence Fishburne and Diane Lane. “Meeting” looks at the Superman and Batman characters as well as their combination here. We find a passable overview but not something with much depth.
Next comes The Warrior, The Myth, The Wonder. In this 21-minute, 16-second program, we find info from Deborah Snyder, Coller, Gadot, Lane, Zack Snyder, Johns, Robbie, Kanemoto, Roven, Jenkins, artists/writers Molly Crabapple and Phil Jimenez, Secret History of Wonder Woman author Jill Lepore, artist Cliff Chiang, “Share the Wonder” online network moderator Jennifer B. White, character creator’s son Pete Marston, artist/educator Carla Gannis, journalist Quinn Norton, media literacy educator Andrea Quijada, musician/author Amanda Palmer, “3rd Wave Fund” executive director Rye Young, cast trainer Mark Twight, Saucy Magazine founder/editor Kristen Taylor, Suicide Squad actor Viola Davis, and comic writer Brian Azzarello. “Warrior” presents a quick history of the Wonder Woman character. It delivers a fairly good summary, even if it occasionally feels like another promo for Wonder Woman.
Hosted by extreme sports commentator Sal Masekela, the 22-minute, 46-second Accelerating Design: The New Batmobile features Zack Snyder, production designer Patrick Tatopoulos, specialty vehicle designer Dennis McCarthy, concept designer Ed Natividad, 2nd unit director/stunt coordinator Damon Caro, set designer (vehicles) Joe Hiura, stunt driver Mike Justus and Batmobile crew Michael Scot Risley. As implied, we learn of the design and creation of the movie’s Batmobile. While glossy, the program includes good details and offers a fine overview of the topic.
Superman: Complexity and Truth takes up seven minutes, eight seconds with details from Cavill, Zack Snyder, Deborah Snyder, costume designer Michael Wilkinson and stuntman Albert Valladares. “Truth” discusses aspects of the movie’s depiction of Superman, with notes about costumes, stunts, and themes. Though brief, “Truth” brings us some interesting tidbits.
After this we go to Batman: Austerity and Rage. It lasts eight minutes, 15 seconds and provides material from Affleck, Zack Snyder, Johns, Wilkinson, Roven, Deborah Snyder, stuntman Richard Cetrone, property master Doug Harlock and actor Jeremy Irons. “Rage” discusses the same topics as “Truth” and becomes another useful program.
Another hero comes to the fore in Wonder Woman: Grace and Power. This six-minute, 48-second show includes Deborah Snyder, Gadot, Twight, Caro, Wilkinson, Harlocker, Zack Snyder, fight choreographers Ryan Watson and Guillermo Grispo, and director of photography Larry Fong. “Grace” follows the path from the last two featurettes, and it works fine.
For the seven-minute, 12-second Batcave: Legacy of the Lair, we hear from Deborah Snyder, Tatopoulos, Zack Snyder, Irons, Harlocker, onscreen graphics Gladys Tong, and art director Beat Frutiger. Like the title indicates, “Lair” looks at the design and creation of the movie’s Batcave. It becomes an engaging overview.
A major fight scene becomes the focus of The Might and The Power of a Punch. During this five-minute, 15-second piece, we locate an analysis of the movie’s climactic Batman/Superman battle. Some of this seems interesting, but it’s not a great piece overall.
In The Empire of Luthor, we discover a 12-minute, 33-second featurette with Johns, Zack Snyder, Jimenez, Cavill, Roven, Fishburne, Coller, production supervisor Bill Doyle, and actors Holly Hunter, Amy Adams, and Jesse Eisenberg. “Empire” offers another character-based examination, with a look at Lex Luthor. This delivers an efficient enough summary.
Finally, Save the Bats presents a public service reel. The four-minute, 37-second clip features Zack Snyder, Affleck, Coller, Adams, and Organization for Bat Conservation executive director Rob Mies. As expected, this program offers a PSA to explain how bats help the planet and need to be assisted. I respect its goals.
Disc One opens with an ad for Suicide Squad, while Disc Two provides a promo for Batman: The Laughing Joke. No trailer for Dawn appears here.
After the severe disappointment of Man of Steel, Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice offers an improvement – but not as much of one as I’d hoped, at least in its erratic Theatrical Cut. On the other hand, the longer Ultimate Edition becomes a substantially stronger tale that makes much more sense and seems fairly exciting and compelling. The Blu-ray boasts excellent picture and audio along with a decent roster of supplements. In its Ultimate Edition incarnation, Dawn becomes a good movie.