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Sam Liu
Elyes Gabel, Diane Guerrero, Kevin Conroy
Writing Credits:
Alan Burnett, Eric Carrasco, James Krieg

The Justice League battles the Fatal Five.

Rated PG-13

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
French Dolby 5.1
Latin Spanish Dolby 5.1
Latin Spanish
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 77 min.
Price: $39.99
Release Date: 4/16/2019

• Audio Commentary with Executive Producer Bruce Timm, Co-Producer/Co-Writer Jim Krieg, Co-Writer Eric Carrasco and Director Sam Liu
• “Unity of Hero” Featurette
• “Battling the Invisible Menace” Featurette
• 3 Sneak Peeks
&bull: 2 Bonus Cartoons
• Previews
• Blu-ray Copy


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


Justice League vs. the Fatal Five [4K UHD] (2019)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (April 24, 2019)

A new direct-to-video DC Comic animated adventure, 2019’s Justice League Vs. the Fatal Five focuses on the shenanigans performed by the second half of that title. Mano (voiced by Philip Anthony-Rodriguez), Persuader (Matthew Yang King) and Tharok (Peter Jessop) - three members of super-villain group the Fatal Five – seek to free imprisoned compatriots Emerald Empress (Sumalee Montano) and Validus (Bruce Timm).

As a means to do so, they plan to use the skills of neophyte Green Lantern Jessica Cruz (Diane Guerrero). Along with a new partner in Starboy (Elyes Gabel), the Justice League attempts to halt the sinister plans of the Five.

With a title like Justice League vs. the Fatal Five, it doesn’t sound like the film will offer a particularly plot-heavy affair. This proves to be partially true, though we get more story material than we might anticipate.

In particular, Five acts as an origin tale for both Starboy and Jessica. Really, beyond their evolution and development, we don’t find much that one could view as a real narrative.

That can make Five a bit on the clunky side, though the movie tries to toss other plot elements our way. In addition to the development of Jessica and Starboy, we see complications related to the Five and the future Legion of Super Heroes.

These tend to bog down what should be a fairly simple tale, though I do think the movie starts well. When Five introduces us to Jessica and Starboy, it creates some intrigue, as we feel curious to see where they’ll go.

As the film progresses, though, it loses focus and becomes a somewhat confusing mix of fights and character dilemmas. We tend to lose track of the participants and don’t always understand what wants to do what to whom.

Despite these flaws, Five does manage some good action. It certainly throws a lot of battles our way, and at times, these live up to expectations.

Jessica and Starboy also create pretty interesting roles on which to focus. In particular, the choice to make Starboy a hero who suffers from mental illness adds an intriguing twist.

As far as these DC animated adventures go, Five feels slightly above average. It comes with too many weaknesses to land among DC’s better movies, but it manages enough excitement to keep us with it.

The Disc Grades: Picture A-/ Audio B+/ Bonus B-

Justice League vs. the Fatal Five appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1 on this 4K UHD Disc. I felt consistently pleased with this strong presentation.

No issues with sharpness emerged. The movie always came across as tight and well-defined, so don’t expect any signs of softness.

Jaggies and moiré effects also remained absent, and the image lacked edge haloes or artifacts. In addition, print flaws were a non-factor and didn’t appear at any point.

In terms of colors, Five went with a lively palette that favored primary hues. The tones looked solid, as they showed positive richness and vivacity. The 4K UHD’s HDR capabilities added real impact and power to the hues as well.

Blacks were deep and tight, while shadows showed nice clarity. The HDR brought extra richness to the blacks and clarity to whites. Across the board, the image worked well.

I thought the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Five opened up the comic book material well. With plenty of action, the mix added pizzazz to the program.

The forward channels brought out the majority of the material. Music presented strong stereo imaging, while effects cropped up in logical spots and blended well.

The surrounds also contributed good information. For the most part, these reinforced the forward channels, but they also brought us a fair amount of unique material, instances that mainly occurred during bigger action scenes. The back speakers brought out a nice sense of space and environment.

Audio quality always satisfied. Speech was warm and natural, without edginess or other issues. Music sounded lively and full, while effects displayed good definition.

Those elements seemed accurate and dynamic. All of this led to a positive presentation that deserved a “B”.

How did the 4K UHD compare to the Blu-ray version? Audio remained identical, as both sported the same DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix.

Visuals varied, though, mainly due to the 4K UHD’s HDR. While sharpness showed a mild tick up in quality, it was the power of the colors as well as the blacks/whites that most impressed about the 4K UHD. The HDR factors allowed this to become an upgrade.

No extras appear on the 4K UHD itself, but the included Blu-ray copy brought a few components, and we begin with an audio commentary from executive producer Bruce Timm, co-producer/co-writer Jim Krieg, co-writer Eric Carrasco and director Sam Liu. All four sit together for this running, screen-specific look at story/characters, cast and performances, animation and connections to comics.

Overall, this becomes a decent but erratic track. While we get a reasonable overview of various subjects, the participants joke around a little too much and don’t really make this an especially informative piece. It’s not bad but it’s not great, either.

Two featurettes follow, and Unity of Hero runs 15 minutes, 11 seconds. It offers notes from Carrasco, Krieg, “DC Daily” hosts Hector Navarro and Tiffany Smith, licensed clinical psychologist Andrea Letamendi, writer/creator Marv Wolfman, and DC Entertainment Creative Director Mike Carlin.

“Unity” covers diversity among DC characters. A few good nuggets about these characters in comics’ history emerge but a lot of “Unity” feels self-congratulatory.

With Battling the Invisible Menace, we find an eight-minute, five-second reel with Navarro, Letamendi, Carlin, Wolfman, Carrasco, Krieg, and Smith.

They examine the depiction of mental health issues among superheroes. Like “Unity”, “Menace” includes a smattering of insights but much of it comes across as superficial praise for DC.

Next we find promos for other DC animated projects, and we begin with a Sneak Peek at Batman: Hush. This nine-minute, 18-second clip features Krieg, director Justin Copeland, voice director Wes Gleason, producer James Tucker, screenwriter Ernie Altbacker, and actors Jerry O’Connell, Geoffrey Arend, Peyton List, Jennifer Morrison, Maury Sterling, and Jason O’Mara.

“Peek” covers the source comic and its adaptation as well as story/character areas and cast. Most of this learns toward promotion, but the “Peek” becomes a bit more substantial than most.

A Sneak Peek at Justice League vs. Teen Titans spans 11 minutes, 31 seconds and includes Tucker, Carlin, Liu, O’Mara, O’Connell, writer Bryan Q. Miller, and actors Taissa Farmiga, Rosario Dawson, Shemar Moore, Jake T. Austin and Jon Bernthal.

Some notes about characters and story emerge. However, most of the piece just acts to sell the project to potential viewers.

These reels finish with a Sneak Peek at Justice League Dark. During this eight-minute, 14-second piece, we hear from Carlin, Tucker, O’Mara, director Jay Oliva and actors Matt Ryan and Camilla Ludington. It’s another ad for the project, so we don’t learn a lot about the production.

Two bonus cartoons appear. We get “Man of Tomorrow” from Legion of Super Heroes (22:44) as well as “Far From Home” from Justice League Unlimited (22:57).

In “Man”, the Legion brings a young Clark Kent to the future to help battle the Fatal Five, while “Home” offers a similar story that takes Supergirl, Green Lantern and Green Arrow to the future for the same kind of battle.

Both plots seem a lot alike, but that’s not a major issue, as both entertain. “Man” becomes the more enjoyable of the two.

The disc opens with ads for Aquaman and Reign of the Supermen. Trailers adds promos for Shazam, Constantine: City of Demons and The Death of Superman.

When it concentrates on action, Justice League Vs. the Fatal Five offers a pretty fun adventure. It loses some points due to semi-messy storytelling, but there’s more to like than dislike here. The 4K UHD boasts excellent picture as well as very good audio and a decent array of supplements. Five winds up as a mostly positive production.

To rate this film, visit the prior review of JUSTICE LEAGUE VS. THE FATAL FIVE

Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main