Zack Snyder’s Justice League 4K review

Sep 07, 2021- Permalink

For those of us who aren’t totally invested fans of the DC Universe, the whole #releasethesnydercut dust-up was a mystery. In a nutshell, the original director of Justice League, Zack Snyder, left the production due to the death of his daughter. At the time, Warner Brothers wasn’t happy with his version of the film, hired Joss Whedon, Whedon did reshoots and edits of his own, and the film was released in 2017. Fans weren’t happy with that version and online campaigns were started demanding they release the Snyder cut. Seeing a chance to make things right…I mean line their pockets with additional money and promote the new HBO Max streaming service, WB released the Snyder cut this year. Zack Snyder’s Justice League is now available on 4K and I had a chance to preview it early. Since Batman requires a disclaimer, here goes: though Warner Brothers provided me with a review copy of the movie, the thoughts and opinions below are my own.

The native 4K 2160p HEVC / H.265 encoded transfer with HDR10 is in the aspect ratio that Snyder intended 1.33:1 or 4:3, with some IMAX shot scenes in 1.85:1. Yes, you read that right, Snyder shot the film in the old Academy ratio that would be familiar to those who owned TVs before widescreens were introduced. The squarish image means that black bars will appear on the left and right of the screen. Do not adjust your set, this is Snyder’s artistic choice. This isn’t meant to be the most colourful presentation, but the dark tones and grays are well served by the HDR enhancement, as is the occasional pop of more vibrant colours. The image is highly detailed and every texture from facial features, costumes, and environmental details looks fantastic. Black levels are deep, though there is some occasional crush. Compression artifacts are undetectable, due of course to spreading the movie’s massive four hour runtime over two 4K discs. All in all, it just looks great.

On the audio side, Zack Snyder’s Justice League comes with English, French, and German Dolby Atmos and Dolby TrueHD 7.1 soundtracks, an Italian DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track, as well as Spanish, French Canadian, Czech, Polish and Japanese Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks. Subtitles are available in English SDH, French, German, Italian SDH, Japanese, Spanish, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Greek, Hungarian, Korean, Mandarin (Simplified), Mandarin (Traditional), Norwegian, Polish, Romanian, and Swedish. Snyder and his sound team make ample use of the Atmos soundscape, with the height channels put to good use. Sound effects and ambient noise fill your surrounds and move well, while the low end of things adds the oomph that so many of the scenes need. Tom Holkenborg’s score sounds great and the dialogue is clear and centred.

As mentioned, the movie is spread over two 4K discs and there is also a Blu-ray version included that is also spread over two discs. There is no digital code for this release in the US as WB is pushing subscriptions to HBO Max, but looking at Amazon Canada, I see there is a code in my home country. (I reviewed a US copy.) There is just one featurette included, a twenty-four minute series discussion with Snyder and the cast about his trio of DC films and the evolution of this new cut.

Obviously the fans who demanded and begged for Zack Snyder’s Justice League are going to love it. With amazing audio and video presentations, even the more casual viewer will enjoy it too. Just make a lot of popcorn.