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Back when the theatrical cut of Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice was released, fans and moviegoers had all but made up their minds about this movie – they either loved it or hated it – a lot. Batman and Superman – two of the greatest superheroes of all time, expectations were always going to be high.
Contains Spoilers. If you haven’t seen this movie stop reading!
Batman v Superman Ultimate Edition is 30 minutes longer than the theatrical cut, but does it actually add anything to the movie?
Yes it does.
I wasn’t the film’s biggest fan when I saw it first. I praised Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill‘s performances, but the storytelling was horrible. Fans saw Batman and Superman at odds but never really found out why. The ultimate cut adds more depth and context to tell a cohesive story and fills in the blank spaces, which made for a better movie.
The Ultimately Edition goes into greater detail concerning Batman’s reasons for hating superman. He was on the front-line in Manhattan that day in a truly amazing opening sequence. In this cut though, we get things such as a group of young school girls all holding hands walking past Bruce Wayne, which explains why that young girl is their waiting to be crushed by a building. It also gives more insight into Bruce Wayne and Alfred (Jeremy Irons). Their relationship is strained, often mocked by Alfred which could be to do with the death of Jason Todd (Robin); hinted at with the costume covered in Joker’s writing. We also get more about Wallace Keefe (Scoot McNairy) who was Bruce Wayne’s employee turned Superman-hater and who gives us our first ‘F’ bomb in a DC superhero movie. Wallace sends checks back to Bruce with cryptic messages on them, later we learn from Lois Lane – who visits his apartment – that all the plans to blow-up the Senator were written all over his apartment.
Although the tone of the movie doesn’t change much with this new R-rating, we do find out more about Batman’s character, as he mentions a few times “20 years in Gotham how many good guys are left?”
This is echoed in his actions when he brands his victims – because in prison a Batman brand is death sentence which results in a man being brutally stabbed. Batman has taken a beating over time so much that his principles are backwards, he doesn’t care about killing anymore.
The main problem with the theatrical cut to this Superman sequel was that we didn’t get much screen time from Superman. There was a huge amount of screen time given to Batman; however, the Ultimate cut balances it out. Clark Kent is appalled by Batman’s actions and begins to investigate him finding him to be more of a villain. There is more insight into Clark’s daily working routine being an investigative journalist, it is this that leads him to be invited by Lex Luther (again left out in the theatrical cut) to a fancy dinner party.
We are also introduced to Superman’s human side when he calls his mother for a late night talk to make him feel better and shows a solid mother-son bond. Superman really is the heart of the movie, we also dive deeper into his relationship with Lois Lane, how he warns he about dangerous path’s to which she somewhat takes for granted that he will always save her. These extra scenes really gave the movie a more fluid narrative because it shows Superman as genuine and vulnerable, the audience very much feels for him.
Probably still the weakest part of the film was Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luther, a whimpering ‘genius’ that could have ruined the whole film. His scenes in the Ultimate cut make a lot more sense – meddling with Kryptonite technology as well as indirectly threatening Senators. A new scene involving a witness telling Senator Finch (Holly Hunter) that Lex Luther paid her off to get Superman to the hearing is also included, as well as that same witness being pushed to her death at the hands of Luther’s henchman. It all makes more sense now, instead of making the fans feel like Zack Snyder just got lazy. Batman even mentions Arkham Asylum when confronting Lex while he’s in prison.
Batman V Superman Dawn of Justice felt like a very rushed and muddled movie whose sole intention was to set up the Justice League to contend with the Marvel Cinematic Universe. However, the Ultimate Edition is an amazing improvement, its got heart, depth and flows with better narrative. Sure there’s nothing extra from Wonder Women but her scenes were just right in the original cut. The story now makes a lot more sense which makes one believe that Henry Cavill’s Superman and Ben Affleck’s Batman have potential to be the best yet. Jesse Eisenberg was a poor choice for a villain, he can only play nerdy, annoying and is in no way intimidating.
The effects in this films were dazzling especially in the scenes with Batman uses his Batwing and grapple gun, as well as the superman flying, fighting and destroying metropolis. However next time I would go for a more grounded approach maybe with Batman exploring Arkham Asylum during a break out and Superman fighting Brainiac.
Batman V Superman Ultimate Edition is a success. Sure there are better R-rated films out there (looking at you Deadpool), but in a film that takes itself more seriously with a much darker tone, the R-rating works better than the in-theatre version.
James Morgan is a Contributor to ComiConverse. Follow him on Twitter:@thecamerasuite
Batman V Superman Ultimate Edition is everything the movie should have been from the start: Dark, violent and full of character.