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    Man of Steel 3D Blu-ray Review

    Blu-ray 3D Blu-ray DVD Warner

    Nov 12 2013 03:46 PM | Todd Erwin in DVD & Blu-ray Reviews
    Man of Steel had some big shoes to fill, as did everyone connected with it. After all, Richard Donner’s 1978 Superman: The Movie is still considered the blueprint and litmus test for which all other comic book adaptations are compared to. Zack Snyder’s darker re-imagining of Superman’s origin succeeds as a visual feast.

    Title Info:

    • Studio: Warner Brothers
    • Distributed By: N/A
    • Video Resolution: 1080P/AVC
    • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
    • Audio: English 7.1 DTS-HDMA, Spanish 5.1 DD, French 5.1 DD
    • Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French, Portuguese
    • Rating: PG-13
    • Run Time: 2 Hr. 23 Min.
    • Package Includes: Blu-ray, 3D Blu-ray, DVD, UltraViolet
    • Case Type:
    • Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer), DVD-9 (dual layer)
    • Region: A, 1
    • Release Date: 11/12/2013
    • MSRP: $44.95

    The Production Rating: 3.5/5

    The origin story of Superman is fairly well-known, first told by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster in Action Comics #1 in 1938. Hollywood has told the story numerous times, as a series of 17 animated short subjects by Fleischer Studios in the early 1940s, a 1940s radio series, matinee serials in the late 1940s and early 1950s, a television series starring George Reeves, and, most famously, in Richard Donner’s 1978 classic, Superman: The Movie (which would prove to be the benchmark for superhero films). After the disastrous box office of Superman IV: The Quest For Peace and tepid results of Superman Returns, Warner Bros. brought in Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyer, the team responsible for the successful Dark Knight Trilogy, to commission a reboot of the franchise, and Zack Snyder was subsequently brought in to take over the director’s chair for Man of Steel.

    Starting from scratch, Goyer’s screenplay changes Krypton's fate from the red sun going super nova to the planet imploding due to the Kryptonians depleting the planet of its natural resources. Much of Superman’s origins are told in flashback, very different from the storyline we’ve grown up with. Overall, the film was given a much darker tone, both in theme and color pallette (the bright blue spandex suit replaced with a much darker, almost scale-like leather). I’ll be brutally honest, I went in to Man of Steel with pretty low expectations. Partly because I have not been a huge fan of Zack Snyder (I found Watchmen to be completely unwatchable), but also due to a lot of the bad word of mouth I had been hearing and reading from major fans of Superman (specifically that it did not follow the Siegel/Shuster origin story). I was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked and enjoyed the film. Henry Cavill dons his best American accent, and pulls off Kal-El and Superman with ease (the verdict is still out on a grown-up clark Kent). Amy Adams is a feisty, modern-day Lois Lane. Michael Shannon is a sympathetic villain as General Zod. Kevin Costner and Diane Lane are both very believable as a much younger Kent couple. Russell Crowe was a brilliant choice as Jar-El. And Laurence Fishburne was an interesting casting choice as Daily Planet editor Perry White.

    The film does have its problems, though. Hans Zimmer had the unfortunate task of trying to score Man of Steel without using any of the themes made famous by John Williams, which was almost a no-win scenario. What Zimmer brings can best be described as experimental. The biggest complaint, though, is the running time combined with uneven pacing, action sequences that go on too long, and way too many endings to the film itself.

    Video Rating: 4/5 3D Rating: 3/5

    Warner’s 1080p transfer, which retains the film’s 2.40:1 aspect ratio, may not be to everyone’s liking. As stated in my review above, this is a much darker film than previous Superman films, with muted colors leaning to a more greyish-blue and hyped detail. Some may consider the 2D version to be reference quality, worthy of demo material for your HD display. Colors are consistent, and black levels are excellent (although there is some crushing, but that was purposeful).

    As for 3D, I have to agree with Ron Epstein, our resident HTF 3D Addict, that the decision to complete the film in 2D and convert to 3D may not have completely paid off for the studio this time. There is some sense of depth throughout much of the film, but there are never any protrusions from the screen (or anything close to it). On the plus side, I did not experience any noticeable ghosting or crosstalk.

    Audio Rating: 4.5/5

    I remember many people commenting on how loud the mix for Man of Steel was during its theatrical run, and especially in IMAX and RPX/ETX/XD screens, the exhibitors do like to show off how the amps in those theaters can go to 11, while all other screens only go to 10. Having listened to the DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 mix (folded down to 5.1 in my theatre setting), I can see how, if played at excessive volume, a theater patron can think that way. When played back at a comfortable level, this is a very impressive, immersive, and active mix, while at the same time dialogue rarely, if ever, gets lost. This is definitely a reference quality, demo-worthy soundtrack.

    Special Features: 4/5

    DVD Copy

    UltraViolet HD Digital Copy

    Main Feature Disc (2D):
    Strong Characters, Legendary Roles (1080p; 25:59): Explore the legendary roles of the Superman canon and how they evolved in this new iteration of the Superman story.

    All-Out Action (1080p; 26:02): The action in Man of Steel soars to new heights with a level of realism never before seen in a superhero film.

    Krypton Decoded (1080p; 6:42): Dylan Sprayberry (Clark Kent, age 13) gives the lowdown on all the amazing Krypton tech, weapons and spaceships featured in Man of Steel.

    Superman 75th Anniversary Animated Short (1080p;2:03): A very brief animated history of the evolution of Superman over his 75 year career.

    New Zealand: Home of Middle-earth (1080p; 6:35): From Matamata to Queenstown, travel with Peter Jackson and his team across the stunning locations of New Zealand, transformed by the filmmakers into Middle-earth.

    Special Features Disc:
    Journey of Discovery: Creating Man of Steel (1080p; 2:54:05): Watch the movie with Zack Snyder as he shares the incredible journey to re-imagine Superman.

    Planet Krypton (1080p; 17:18): A mockumentary on the world’s first exploration of Krypton and its lost society.

    Overall Rating: 4/5

    Love it or hate it, Man of Steel is an audio-visual feast that attempts to re-imagine and reboot a once-successful movie franchise. The 3D does not add enough to the film to recommend it hands down over the 2D version, but if the price difference is negligible, I say go for the 3D combo pack.

    Reviewed by: Todd Erwin
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    I agree for the most part -- great cast hindered by uneven pacing and a non-linear plot.  The a/v stuff is grand but the structure of the film is what bothered me the most.  Had it a more linear story line to follow coupled with better editing/trimming we would have a better movie experience.

    Cameron Yee
    Nov 14 2013 11:01 AM

      • Todd Erwin likes this
    Bryan Goldberg
    Nov 30 2013 03:10 PM

    If you're a fan of 3D version of Man of Steel as I am, this is how you can save TWICE on blu-ray 3D purchase at target.com (worked for me a month ago, not sure if it's still valid):
    - if you spend over $25 you'll receive a free $10 gift card:
    - Target's Cartwheel app has a coupon for an addition 10% off