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Revisiting ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’- The Ultimate Edition

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Now I’ve already reviewed this movie, so I don’t plan on getting into my overall thoughts again in this post. If you read my original review of BvS, you might remember that I didn’t hate or love the movie. I thought it was heavily flawed, but still really enjoyable.

Word came out about a Director’s Cut for this film right at the time it was released in theaters. It was said it would be a 3-hour, R-rated cut of the movie. This was honestly one of the first signs of what mediocrity the studio was about to put into the cinema.

Most problems that many people had with the theatrical cut of this movie, I felt were pretty minuscule, or even stupid. I don’t care that Batman killed. They at least gave reason for it, and I’m sure it’ll be explored more in future films. Besides, he killed in the older movies too and people didn’t bitch about it then! If you don’t believe me, then here. I also didn’t care that Jesse Eisenberg’s portrayal of Lex was weird and not like the comics. Who cares? It’s the portrayal they chose, and just a new version to add to the lore.

What I did have a major problem with though was the editing and pacing, especially during the first hour or so. It was a gigantic mess.

The reason I’m writing this is because I now truly believe that thanks to this Ultimate Edition, ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’ has gone from an okay movie, to a pretty GREAT one.

more clark kent

One of the first things I’d like to point out in this version is: MORE CLARK KENT!

The theatrical cut felt like a Batman movie that was trying really hard to be a Superman movie, but just couldn’t quite get there. The “Ultimate Edition” spends a lot more time with Clark, investigating Batman, and this was needed. It was like Warner Bros. was afraid of putting in too much Superman/Clark because they’ve had more success with Batman. Yeah, that’s true, but don’t diminish the role if it hurts the overall story!

Seeing Clark Kent trying to unravel information on the Batman, as the reporter he is, was a joy to watch. These added/extended scenes improved on two huge things:

  1. The character of Superman/Clark Kent is far more fleshed out. Superman uses his journalist alter-ego to benefit his responsibilities as a hero. It’s not just a day job that pays his bills.
  2. You see a tremendous impression of fear that the Batman gives to Gotham. He’s almost mythical, and he basically runs the city because of how much people fear him.batman-v-superman-ultimate-edition-image-3

Next up: The Africa sub-plot

Why was this shortened? Or better yet, why was it even there in the first place if they were just going to glaze over the actual points?

The entire point of this Africa scene at the start of the movie left me completely lost for the first hour or so with the theatrical version. It just felt like a random scene that served no purpose. But as the movie kept going, I kept having this feeling that I missed some kind of major detail. Turns out, it’s because every scene with Lois Lane, every scene with Lex Luthor, and every scene with the Senate- drew from this event in Africa.

Restoring this full scene showed me that there definitely was something missing. Why was there a group of people that were so against Superman? Oh, because he was actually framed for MURDER. But you wouldn’t have known that if you weren’t watching this Ultimate Edition.

What does this one, simple thing do for the movie? Well, I just mentioned one thing. It gave reason for people across the globe to be skeptical of Superman. But more importantly, this event was staged. There is a false hate on the character and now he has to carry on living with the consequences of something he didn’t even do. Furthermore, this added a lot to the motivations of Lex Luthor, which I thought were very underdeveloped in the theatrical cut. Here, you see what he’s doing.

I still didn’t understand WHY Lex was doing what he was doing. It may have been for financial gain, or trying to prove some other thing, I really don’t know. That is one flaw in the movie that still wasn’t fixed by this edition. BUT, his character can be written off as just simply crazy, so it doesn’t bother me all that much.

batman-v-superman-heat_vision

To shorten things up, I’ll just say that the rest of this version outside of the first hour is pretty much the same as it was in the theatrical, but it extended a few other scenes to help strengthen certain reasoning. An extension off the Africa subplot sees Lois Lane taking a bullet to S.T.A.R. Labs, justifying that the whole thing in Africa was in fact overseen by LexCorp. It gave Lois’s role more reason story-wise, instead of just “being there” like she was in the original cut. Just certain little tid-bits like this that made other elements make more sense.

Then there are some extended action moments, extra lines of dialogue, stuff like that… Nothing that made it better or worse, but just added more that was still nice to see. Like at the end there’s a scene where Batman tells Luthor he’s going to be placed in Arkham Asylum. It doesn’t add much, but it’s just a cool bit of fan service that didn’t need to be cut if it was already in the original script.

One other quick thing I’d like to add that I didn’t mention in my previous review either, is how amazing the dialogue actually is in this movie. I probably didn’t notice it as much the first time given that the context of certain lines probably didn’t make that much sense in the original cut… But here, I felt that the dialogue really shinned because the placement of certain lines were now in the better areas where they belonged.

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It’s really apparent that this was the cut they wanted to release in theaters but then got scared of the 3 hour run time. So then they quickly trimmed off whatever fat they possibly could. Unfortunately a lot of the finished edit didn’t make a lot of sense in the first hour, and it effected the rest of the movie. I really think that’s a major reason it got such bad reviews. Fixing the first hour of this movie made all the difference in the world in my opinion.

There are still a couple of gripes I have with the movie itself that the Ultimate Edition didn’t fix. I still felt like the whole fight with Batman and Superman ended weird. It was totally sweet to watch and I love the fight itself, but how they just made up really quickly after Clark saying “Save Martha!” was unbelievable. I don’t mind that it was the shared name that turned Bruce away from killing him, it was more of just how they handled it afterwards. He was literally about to murder him and then they acted like they were old friends about to go for a beer. I would have liked to see some continued tension between the two of them right up until the moment Superman actually died.

My last issue is something that was just never going to change. While I like the movie overall, it just did too damn much, even in the 3 hours it had. It was a Man of Steel sequel, an adaptation of The Dark Knight Returns, a Justice League set-up, and an adaptation of The Death of Superman- all in one movie. I just can’t help but feel that DC rushed this universe. Plain and simple. Hopefully things will feel a little less crammed now that this movie is out of the way, and we have a standalone Wonder Woman movie before Justice League. Warner Bros. just needs to breathe. Marvel is already WAY ahead of them anyways. There’s just no reason for them to rush anything. Just focus on making good, uncluttered movies.

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With all of that said- THIS IS THE VERSION OF BVS TO WATCH!!! I will never go back and watch the theatrical cut again. This is the definitive version, and I’m sure it will be for a lot of people. It’s a shame that Warner Bros. didn’t do a better job editing together something a little more cohesive in the first place, but I’m glad we have this now. I urge everyone to check this out as soon as you get the chance.

I gave the theatrical version of this movie a B-. This version fixed a huge reason I bumped it down almost an entire letter grade in the first place. It was just the horrendous editing and pacing of the first act. ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’ is actually pretty awesome for what it tried to do and what it did end up accomplishing. Even if it was a weird decision to jump into this territory so quickly.

 

Rating: B+

 

 

13 comments on “Revisiting ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’- The Ultimate Edition

  1. Great review, Warner Bros. should have released this version instead or made it a two part film.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Really good read. I thought the ultimate edition improved the film greatly but didn’t fix most of the problems. I also struggled with the now extended run time partly. I do wonder though whether my opinion of the film would be greater if it hadn’t already been tainted by the theatrical release.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! To me the extended cut actually felt shorter. When things go in sequence and actually make sense, it really makes the pacing feel smoother. The other version was already long but it felt hard to watch because so much was not making sense.
      What other problems did you have with the movie outside of the editing of the first act?

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      • My main problem with the film is the dialogue. There isn’t really a conversation in the film, just people talking at each other, saying huge one liners that may sound clever on their own but don’t work when bounced off other characters. Because of that the film doesn’t flow at all and that never allowed me to get into it.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hmm… that was actually a major problem I had with the theatrical cut but then was kinda fixed in this version. One example being the dialogue between Lex and the Senator. I thought it was vastly improved in that scene, and I also liked much of Bruce’s dialogue with Alfred much better in this edition. I will agree though, there were still a few times where it didn’t feel like an actual conversation, but I didn’t mind it.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I agree with you on most every account. The problems with the film had to with editing and pacing — basic elements of filmmaking — as opposed to fan-approved adaptation details and “proper” restoration of comic lore. The extended (original) cut fixes the worst of the theatrical release’s rough editing, so anyone who claims there’s no significant difference between these two versions is kidding themselves.

    That being said, I’ve never had a problem with the “Martha”-moment, other than Henry Cavill’s awkward delivery. You can argue the execution of Bat and Supe’s reconciliation to an extent, but I strongly believe most people are approaching this story arc from the wrong angle; it has nothing to do with logic and global defense, but rather Batman’s paranoia, humiliation, rage, and (let’s face it) suicidality. There’s nothing logical about Batman’s hatred for or wrath against Superman, and I interpreted his entire quest against the Man of Steel as an off-his-rocker suicide quest. Much like suicide attempts or suicide-by-mass shootings, people can be easily talked down from them by appealing to their emotions. Bruce backing down from his murder because he empathizes with Clark’s humanity, because he realizes he’s become the same monster who killed his parents (set up in the opening montage scene) makes complete sense.

    Again, I suppose most people could have problems with the execution, or Cavill’s gargled cries, but otherwise I think moviegoers need to cut that moment a break. That may be the most realistic moment in the entire film, in my opinion.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh I don’t take issue with the Martha scene either. I just take issue with how they handled the aftermath of that scene. It just felt so quick to me. The moment itself is fine, but afterwards Batman is just all of a sudden like “Alright cool so where is Martha I’ll go save her and we’ll stop Lex and go to Denny’s afterwards”. It was more of just the aftermath of their confrontation that seemed so weird to me. Again though, it’s not a big deal, it was really the one thing that took me out of the movie for a minute but then I was back in.

      I always looked at Batman’s motivations of this movie just like how you said it. He was “off his rocker”. I never took issue with what he was doing because it seemed like he just lost his way. But if it’s not the average ordinary day Batman in his most noble prime, everyone else seems to take issue with that. I don’t understand what’s wrong with showing us (for one movie) a Batman that has strayed away from his morals.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I can’t wait to see it! I too didn’t feel the original was as bad as they were saying. I’ve seen the original a couple of times so I now realize that it was pretty clear how important the Africa scene was- the Senate hearings reference that directly, as does Lois in every scene that she’s in. But the movie is badly edited so it can be easy to miss.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. […] how divisive this movie was, I was instantly disappointed before even seeing it. As I said in my Revisiting ‘Batman v Superman’ post, I mentioned that DC really needs to chill, and not try so damn hard to catch up with […]

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