The theatrical release of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice left many disappointed with the finished product. In fact, the film was so poorly received that Warner Bros. restructured their entire film division in order to create subdivisions dedicated to specific types of movies.
Director Zack Snyder was raked over the coals to such a degree that fans are demanding his resignation from the helm of Justice League, which is currently in production. So it came to the surprise of no one when a three-hour, rated R version, of BvS was released and was met with eye rolls, since the original was panned to the Nth degree.
The Ultimate Edition won’t bring that night and day differential in opinion for most who absolutely hated the theatrical release, however, it does make the film a little more enjoyable for those that liked it to begin with.
Storylines are more fleshed out, whether they made sense or not. Criminals branded with the Bat symbol meant a guaranteed death sentence during incarnation. This subplot is further explored here as it’s revealed that Lex Luthor coordinated the deaths of the branded, which tied into, and expanded, his plan to force the Dark Knight and the Man of Steel to lock horns.
Africa…you all remember the Africa scene form the beginning of the movie, right? Well, the ultimate edition provides some much needed clarity by explaining how Superman was framed for the murder of the villagers.
While it was refreshing to be given all of the dots so we can connect them, there is still the issue of the special bullets used on the victims, which any autopsy would have discovered thus exonerating Superman in the process.
There was some additional Metropolis and Smallville footage shown during Superman’s funeral. The Metropolis scenes, in particular, conveyed a pronounced sense of grief, loss, and admiration that failed to hit the mark in theaters since so much of the film was devoted to questioning whether he was good, evil, or should even exist.
The heroistic investigative journalism of Superman/Clark Kent were highlighted throughout this extended cut and it put the character in a more positive light. I’m surprised these scenes were removed because it would have made a world of difference as to how Superman was portrayed on a number of levels.
World building was clearly near the top of Zack Snyder’s agenda here. While the Knightmare scene and Future Flash cameo were great visual spectacles, they were out of place from a narrative perspective. Steppenwolf’s scene in the Kryptonian genesis chamber, along with Batman telling Lex Luthor that he’s arranged his transfer to Arkham Asylum, perfectly fit the mold and took very little time to make this universe even bigger then it was at the start of the film.
Remember several months ago, before the movie was released in this theaters, when reports emerged that Warner Bros. executives absolutely loved Batman v. Superman? This extended cut must be the version they saw because the plot was more cohesive, some plot holes either shrank dramatically or went away completely and it’s easier to understand the character’s motivations, especially in Luthor’s case.
Every single frame of these additional thirty minutes should never have been removed, despite the fact that it doesn’t make up for certain things, such as Superman not trying very hard to tell Batman that Luthor pitted them against each other. If the dark and grim tone of the theatrical version was a big turn off, this new version is a hard R, with some F-bombs and even more blood splattering murder from Batman.
Some have stated that the fans owe Zack Snyder an apology for their negative comments of the director’s work after seeing this extended cut but I’m not going to jump on that train just yet. Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice – Ultimate Edition proves that Zack Snyder is a good film maker, but is he the right person to helm a big budget tent pole film within the confines of Hollywood?
Snyder should have known that the studio was never going to approve a three hour film that is rated R because everyone makes less money in that endeavor. The rating means less viewers due to the age restriction and the lengthy runtime would have meant theaters can’t show it as often throughout the day.
Assuming Snyder had final cut over the theatrical version of the film, there were some poor decisions made that hindered the film in a variety of ways, especially when it comes to the awful editing, which made it feel disjointed while short changing certain characters. That whole deal with Clark up in the mountains with his dead father was completely pointless and could have been cut, among other things.
I’m glad that I saw the ultimate edition and its worth going out of your way to see if you liked the original. It’s an improvement over the theatrical version. It’s not going to turn a B graded paper into an A, but it proves that Warner Bros/DC can do a lot better.