This Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice Ultimate Edition review may contain minor spoilers.
Last night, Warner Bros. finally released the three-hour long, R-rated, Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice Ultimate Edition. I stayed up just so I could see if the 30 minutes added made any difference in quality. Personally, when Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice was released in March, it didn’t work for me as a solid piece of cinema. In fact, I thought what was given to us was a complete mess. The entire film felt incoherent at times and rushed due to editing. The three-hour Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice Ultimate Edition proves this was the case. The 30 minutes added back help explain certain subplots that did not make sense in the theatrical version.
Read Shawn’s review of the Batman V Superman theatrical cut here.
First, here are the positives. The first half hour of the film has a huge subplot reinserted into the first act involving the scene in Africa. In the theatrical cut of Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, Superman flies at a guy who is trying to kill Lois Lane and the scene blacks out, then nothing is explained afterward. In this version, a huge chunk involving a huge scenario where the deaths of many in Africa are pinned on Superman. This moment supports the story plot later when Lex Luther’s devious plan comes to fruition. Everyone who complained about Lex Luther’s motivations being unclear will find relief by this change. It also gives Henry Cavill more scenery to chew on throughout the movie. We even get to see Clark Kent be an investigative reporter, which was much needed.
Another positive is throughout the film bits of dialogue are placed back in certain scenes that offer more weight that wasn’t there before. It also allows Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice to breathe in different sequences. For example, there are tidbits of conversation between Bruce Wayne and Alfred that were not in the earlier version that builds the relationship. Also, a touching phone call between Clark Kent and his mother that for whatever reason Warner Bros. decided to cut out of the film. All these things hurt the original release of Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice by not being in the movie, and I’m not sure how the studio did not realize this.
Not to mention, an awesome line is delivered by Batman towards Lex Luther involving Arkham Asylum. This moment happens at the end of Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice and it literally had me pulling my hair out that the studio removed this. These moments would have really got fanboys excited about the future of DC. I’m just not sure what they were thinking.
The negatives, however, are still sadly present. The third act still suffers all the same problems that the Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice theatrical version had. For example, the cringe-worthy Martha scene still is just as silly as it was before. The fight between Batman and Superman remains frustrating to watch. The whole time you just want Superman to calm down and say “hey, Lex Luther is behind this!”
There’s plenty of moments where he is able to make the fight stop, but doesn’t because the movie is begging for the fight to take place. The Justice League subplot is still obviously forced into the story. The 30 minutes of footage doesn’t change any of that. Also, you can see why they cut Jena Malone out of the film. She isn’t given much to do besides being the reason for the plot to move forward. So don’t expect Barbara Gordon or female Robin.
Overall, though, I did enjoy this version a lot more than I did the Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice theatrical cut. All the additions in this version help make the film flow a lot smoother. I even found myself not as bored by the overall story as I was before. The first two-thirds are a lot more interesting due to the changes, and I think some fans will appreciate the difference. Hell, Superman even smiles in this cut of the film, which is a huge plus.
Do the changes make Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice a good movie though? Not really, but the changes at least make the final version sting less and feel less disastrous. If Warner Bros. had released this version of Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, people would still have complaints but I doubt it would still have had the catastrophe label. The results morph the film from a disastrous mess to a coherent bloated mess, which to me is an improvement. Personally, I say give this Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice extended cut a chance because it just might surprise you.
[Image via Warner Bros]