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Justice Society: World War II (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)

The Animated DC Universe continues its impressive and well received run going back to the past again with Justice Society: World War II. We get the present meeting such as The Flash goes back and meets a younger Wonder Woman and crew. It’ll be arriving to 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray on May 11th. It’ll include a making of Featurette as well as a look at the highly anticipated Batman: The Long Halloween Part One. You can pre-order the film now and have it on or around the release date from the paid Amazon Associates link that comes after the review below. It helps the site and it helps you by landing a quality animated superhero film!

Film

Justice Society: World War II finds modern-day Barry Allen – prior to the formation of the Justice League – discovering he can run even faster than he imagined, and that milestone results in his first encounter with the Speed Force. The Flash is promptly launched into the midst of a raging battle – primarily between Nazis and a team of Golden Age DC Super Heroes known as The Justice Society of America. Led by Wonder Woman, the group includes Hourman, Black Canary, Hawkman, Steve Trevor and the Golden Age Flash, Jay Garrick. The Flash quickly volunteers to assist his fellow heroes in tipping the scales of war in their favor, while the team tries to figure out how to send him home. But it won’t be easy as complications and emotions run deep in this time-skipping World War II thriller.

Interestingly enough, Justice Society: World War II is a bit of a hybrid in being a both a Flash and a Wonder Woman story. While we see things through the Flash’s eyes and he learns in this experience, Wonder Woman is pretty front and center once they settle into the past timeline. Its also an opportunity to add and flesh out some other character here. Though, I’m not against Black Canary being here, her look is that of the known/modern one and I’m not too sure how it jibes with being accurate to the era. Nonetheless, its still quite fun and she’s given some good stuff to do in this story.

There are plenty of big action and mythology exploits about here and they oddly turn this into an Aquaman as villain story. It feels plenty informed by the DC films as well. There are story points, characters and action set pieces that feel informed by them. They’ve obviously decided to change Wonder Woman’s dialect to fit Gal Gadot’s and also even include a very No Man’s Land inspired sequence into the film. Hell, I think they even have a sense of humor in a bit where Clark Kent first shows up in the past and has a mustache. I was HOPING he’d stay like that as Superman but (spoiler) alas, he friggin’ shaved.

Overall, Justice Society: World War II provides a great adventure for those into past heroes, period era superheroes, mythology fun and action exploits. The team dynamic and “behind closed doors” meeting stuff has lots of good stuff to chew. Actors are terrific in their roles and the animation makes for some rock solid iconic imagery be it created or come to life from an image or comic pane. This just continues the fun and excellence that comes from the DC animated universe.

Video

Encoding: HEVC / H.265

Resolution: 4K (2160p)

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

Layers: BD-66

Clarity/DetailJustice Society: World War II arrives on 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray as a decent uptick from the standard Blu-ray, but not really huge jump. The colors are a little stronger, the image a bit finer, but overall it wouldn’t convince anyone to jump formats. However, it still is the best way to view it at the end of the day.

Depth:  While a very 2D animated feature slightly leaning anime, there is a nice detached feeling from the characters and their backgrounds, as well as a good three dimensional pushback. Movements are smooth without any distortions from rapid motions.

Black Levels: Blacks are deep and natural. They do well with shading and definition of the characters. No crushing witnessed.

Color Reproduction: Colors are strong, looking bold and striking where they can. Its a more primary palette on display so everything is rather solid. There is a nice HDR glow added to some neon lights, fire and mystical beam things.

Flesh Tones: N/A

Noise/Artifacts: Clean.

Audio

Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, Spanish 2.0 Stereo Dolby Digital

Subtitles: English SDH, French

Dynamics: This is a pretty lively 5.1 track that has a really nice, wide range of bringing to life these animated environments. The mix is clear, concise and has great layering and balance with the effects, vocals and music. Overall, this is a nice, impactful presentation with good punches and sound spread across the channels.

Height: N/A

Low Frequency Extension: Explosions, gunfire, magic beams, crashes and more really get some good pounding from the subwoofer.

Surround Sound Presentation: Much of the action is held up front, but once a big fight breaks out, its all fair game for the rear channels. Rears also provide good environment building with slight ambiance while also helping to bolster the score.

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are clear and crisp.

Extras

Justice Society: World War II comes with the standard Blu-ray edition and a redeemable digital code.

DC Showcase Short: Kamandi: The Last Boy on Earth! (HD, 18:03) – A neat little postapocalyptic tale. Which is funny, reviewing Thundarr The Barbarian very recently, I was reminded of it a lot with this short.

Adventures In Storytelling: Justice Society: World War II (HD, 30:04) – Butch Lukic, Jim Krieg, Jeremy Adams, Meghan Fitzmartin and Jeff Wamester sit around a table and discuss the origins of this film and producing it. Its a different approach to these “making ofs” and feels very loose, honest and like a breath of fresh air seeing them having fun, joke, interact and give side notes.

A Sneak Peek at the Next Animated DC Universe Movie, Batman: The Long Halloween Part One (HD, 10:29) – A preview for a film I’m VERY excited to see come to life in that of a Batman comic I’ve always loved (As have many others).

A Preview of Justice League vs. Teen Titans (HD, 11:29) – Considering this is already out, this is an archival featurette, looking at, with no spoilers, this release.

A Preview of Wonder Woman: Bloodlines (HD, 9:59) – Another preview of a title that’s already out and has already been on a release before.

From the DC Vault

  • Justice League: “Legends (Part 1)” (HD, 21:57)
  • Justice League: “Legends (Part 2)” (HD, 21:45)

Summary

Justice Society: World War II is another hit for the Animated DC Universe. These folks rarely do any wrong. The 4K Ultra-HD Blur-ay comes with a terrific presentation and some nice extras new and old for it. There is a limited edition version that comes with a figurine of The Flash that is probably the way to go with this. Do you NEED the 4K Ultra-HD version? Well, it is slightly better looking in its appearance and my personal recommendation, but the standard Blu-ray is pretty terrific on its own.

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Brandon is the host, producer, writer and editor of The Brandon Peters Show (thebrandonpetersshow.com) on the Creative Zombie Studios Network. At Why So Blu he is a Writer/Reviewer. Brandon is a lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash. You can also find older essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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