Man of Steel appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Virtually no problems manifested themselves during this strong transfer.
Sharpness excelled. Only the slightest smidgen of softness ever appeared in wide shots, and those instances remained marginal. The vast majority of the flick looked tight and well-defined.
No issues with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and edge enhancement was absent. In terms of source flaws, I saw no specks, marks or other issues.
Hello teal and orange! Or teal, at least - the movie came with some orange overtones but tended more toward an amber feel in the non-blue shots. As tiresome as those visual choices may be, the Blu-ray reproduced them well.
Blacks demonstrated good depth and darkness, and shadows were solid. I felt quite impressed by this consistently terrific image.
I also found a lot to like via the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Man of Steel. I figured the movie would come with a pretty dynamic soundfield, and it often came through with the anticipated vivacity.
Though not chock full of action scenes, we got enough material of that sort to open up the soundfield well. Shots of flying elements – ships, Supes - were the most consistently involving, as these swooped around the room in a convincing manner.
Other elements fared well, too. Fights and explosions used the various speakers to add (literal) punch to the package, and the track featured nice involvement from all five channels. Music presented nice stereo presence, and we even got a bit of directional dialogue.
Audio quality worked nicely. Speech was natural and distinctive; no edginess or other issues affected the dialogue.
Music was lively and full, while effects presented the expected clarity. Those elements demonstrated good accuracy and range; low-end was powerful and tight. I found a lot to like about this fine soundtrack.
The package includes both the 2D and 3D versions of the film. The comments above reflect the 2D edition – how did the 3D compare?
Visuals seemed pretty close. I thought the 3D took a tiny hit in terms of definition, but that’s a minor quibble, as the two images largely look very similar.
As for the stereo imaging, it opened up matters to a fairly good degree. The 3D version came with a nice sense of depth and various airborne elements managed to create punch and dimensionality.
I couldn’t claim the 3D image became any kind of revelation, though. Fellow 2013 release Pacific Rim actually became more entertaining when seen 3D, whereas Man of Steel worked about the same either way.
That said, I’d recommend the 3D version because it did add some pizzazz to the proceedings, and there’s simply no reason not to choose it, as the visuals remained positive. The climactic battle turned into the standout and that part of the film nearly justified the 3D all on its own.
While you shouldn’t anticipate a terrific 3D experience, the stereo Man of Steel turned into my preferred rendition. As noted, the 3D didn’t fix the movie’s flaws, but it brought out a little more excitement.
All the set’s extras appear on the two 2D platters, and on Disc One, we open with the 25-minute, 59-second Strong Characters, Legendary Roles. It features comments from director Zack Snyder, DC Entertainment Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns, screenwriter David S. Goyer, production designer Alex McDowell, producers Charles Roven and Deborah Snyder, co-producer Wesley Coller, visual effects supervisor John “DJ” Desjardin, composer Hans Zimmer and actors Laurence Fishburne, Henry Cavill, Kevin Costner, Amy Adams, Michael Kelly, Diane Lane, Ayelet Zurer, Russell Crowe, Michael Shannon, Richard Schiff,
“Legendary” looks at the characters and their adaptation for Steel in addition to cast/performances and the depiction of Krypton. It gives us a pretty solid overview of the parts and lets us understand what alterations came along for the ride.
Next comes All-Out Action, a 26-minute, two-second piece with Zack Snyder, Deborah Snyder, Coller, Cavill, Roven, Shannon, Crowe, Desjardin, Adams, 2nd unit director/stunt coordinator Damon Caro, trainer Mark Twight, cast trainer Michael Blevins, stunt coordinator Tim Rigby, stuntmen Ryan Watson and Guillermo Grispo, unit production managers Jim Rowe and Gregor Wilson, special effects coordinator Joel Whist, 2nd unit director Pete Romano, supervising location manager Bill Doyle, military technical advisor James Dever, and actor Antje Traue.
We learn of the actors’ physical preparation for their roles, stunts and various elements required to bring the action scenes to life. “All-Out” follows “Legendary” with another good examination of its topics, a piece abetted by lots of useful footage from the shoot.
In the six-minute, 42-second Krypton Decoded, we hear from Dylan Sprayberry, the actor who plays young Clark Kent. He meets with Desjardin as they look at the design and execution of some Krypton-related elements. While brief, “Decoded” offers a nice array of notes and proves to be an efficient piece.
After this we find a Superman 75th Anniversary Animated Short. It fills two minutes, three seconds and shows the visual evolution of Superman over the years, including cartoon versions of live-action depictions. It’s a cool way to breeze through the variations.
Connected to 2012’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, New Zealand: Home of Middle-earth runs six minutes, 35 seconds and provides notes from writer Philippa Boyens, writer/director Peter Jackson, production designer Dan Hennah, Hobbiton movie set and farm tour owner/operator Russell Alexander, conceptual designers Alan Lee and John Howe, actor/2nd unit director Andy Serkis, 2nd unit 1st AD Liz Tan, and actors Richard Armitage, Mark Hadlow, Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Elijah Wood, Jed Brophy, Graham McTavish, William Kircher, Sylvester McCoy, Dean O’Gorman, Peter Hambleton, James Nesbitt and Stephen Hunter. The program gives us some info about the sets and locations used for The Hobbit.
On its own, “Home” offers a glossy but decent look at its subject matter. The bigger questions relates to its inclusion here, as I have no clue why a Blu-ray for Man of Steel goes behind the scenes of The Hobbit. I assume it intends to promote Hobbit but it still feels out of place here; if WB wants to advertise the Hobbit, why not toss in the trailer for The Desolation of Smaug, the second chapter in the trilogy?
Disc One opens with an ad for Pacific Rim. No trailer for Man of Steel appears here.
On Disc Two, the main attraction comes from Journey of Discovery: Creating Man of Steel. In this two-hour, 54-minute, five-second program uses the same format as the “Maximum Movie Mode” found on older WB Blu-rays.
This means that as the film runs, we get various forms of behind the scenes material as well as comments from different cast and crew. Those mix standard “talking head” interview sessions with “walk-ons” in which folks stop the movie and wander onto the screen to chat.
Through “Discovery”, we hear from Zack Snyder, Roven, Coller, Deborah Snyder, Goyer, Crowe, Zurer, McDowell, Shannon, Romano, Caro, Desjardins, Wilson, Cavill, Lane, Sprayberry, Rigby, Schiff, Fishburne, Adams, Traue, Doyle, Zimmer, graphic designer Kirsten Fanson, linguistic anthropologist Dr. Christine Schreyer, supervising art director Helen Jarvis, costume designer Michael Wilkinson, executive producer Lloyd Phillips, special effects supervisor Allen Hall, singer Allison Crowe, property master Jimmy Chow, senior carpenter Brian Sammartino, USAF Entertainment Liaison Office superintendent MSGT Chris Stagner, C17 Loadmaster Staff Sgt. Paul Garcia, and actor Ian Tracey.
The program covers the depiction of Krypton, story and characters, cast and performances, sets, locations and costumes, various effects, stunts and action, music, camerawork, and other areas.
While I’d probably prefer a standard audio commentary, “Discovery” works well as an examination of the film. We don’t find many lulls in the discussion, and we get a nice array of subjects across its long running time. This becomes one of the better "picture-in-picture” pieces, as it investigates the movie in a satisfying manner.
Planet Krypton runs 17 minutes, 18 seconds and views the events of Man of Steel as though they actually happened. It creates a faux TV documentary that looks at what the humans knew about Krypton. This makes it a fun way to learn more that subject.
Disc Three delivers a DVD copy of Man of Steel. It lacks extras other than the animated short and the “Middle-Earth” featurette.
When I saw A Good Day to Die Hard, I opined that it’d probably end up as my biggest cinematic disappointment of 2013. Perhaps I spoke too soon, as Man of Steel earned that “honor”. Flawed in almost every possible way, the film craps all over the Superman legacy. The Blu-ray boasts terrific picture and audio along with a fairly solid roster of supplements. Although the 3D version works pretty well, the movie remains less than compelling.
To rate this film, visit the prior review of MAN OF STEEL