Written By: Mike Agostinelli
Disclaimer: the following review will be a bit unconventional, in that this is a review of a Directors Cut Extended Edition and not a review of the initial film. That being said, there will be heavy discussion of plot elements and things considered to be spoilers. If you’d like to read my initial spoiler-free review of the original cut, follow this link here.
Well, here we are. The Batman V Superman Ultimate Edition. I have been waiting months for this, ever since it was revealed, and to say I was pumped when the blu-ray landed on my lap a week early courtesy of Warner Brothers would be a giant understatement. This had the potential to silence the stream of whiny haters who threw shade at this movie any chance they could get. It could redeem the ongoing DC Cinematic Universe. It could make me lose control of my reproductive organs if there were more Wonder Woman scenes. Alas, unfortunately, my reproductive organs are silent. For now.
This is a vastly better cut of this movie. This is not one of those directors cuts where you get about ten minutes of new but ultimately unnecessary footage that bogs the film down and contributes next to nothing. The added material makes the movie flow more smoothly, as well as contributing greatly to the overall plotline. Where things seemed rushed and glossed over in the original cut, they are now laid out more clearly and given more time to breathe. Whole scenes are re-arranged in a different order than how they appeared in the first cut. The world-building is more solid. Character decisions make more sense. Motives are more clear. In general, this is the cut to watch.
Here’s a general rundown of whats different and improved:
Lex Luthor’s Plan
In the original cut, Lex Luthor was nothing more than a sniveling and damaged billionaire with a plan that was so terribly constructed that there was virtually no chance he wasn’t going to get caught. In this Ultimate Edition, those concerns are tossed out the window. Indeed, the full scope of his plans were left on the cutting room floor for some odd and inexplicable reason. We get an almost totally different Africa sequence in the beginning of the film, with more action and more Jimmy Olsen, as well as adding a SEAL team and a government drone into the mix. We find out the Afircan woman who testified to Congress was in fact hired by Lex to lie on the stand, and she is eventually killed to cover up loose ends. Also, that human trafficker who Batman brands? We see him get killed in prison under the orders of Lex. Essentially, his plan had a much grander scope than initially shown, and his character is better for it.
Gotham City is given more of a personality here. In the first cut, we saw virtually none of it, and came into contact with none of its citizens. Here, we get an added scene of a pair of Gotham cops watching a college football game between Gotham and Metropolis, complete with authentic ESPN graphics and announcers. We also get more shots of the city skyline. You can even make out the ACE Chemical building in the background, birthplace of The Joker. Clark Kent travels to Gotham and does some investigating into Batman, something which was sorely missed in the theatrical cut. We also take a quick dip into the GCPD building. Was hoping for a Gordon sighting, but it was not to be. Finally, Jena Malone’s cut character is finally revealed to be a scientist for STAR Labs, a vague Flash character who helps Lois look into her bullet taken from the Africa incident. A nice little add-on, but honestly this could have been cut with no issue.
This cut is rated R, so there is more ballsiness and violence than before. People drop F-bombs. Blood bursts from bullet wounds. Batman beats the holy hell out of people, possibly to death in some cases. Superman’s death scene is more overtly brutal and bloody. Was this necessary? Not really, but the thirteen year old in me enjoyed the fact that I have an R-rated Batman movie to watch now.
Finally, certain scenes are extended in quick yet substantial ways which contribute to a smoother overall flow. Where before scenes seemed to randomly stop before quickly bounding to the next, in this cut they are allowed to breathe and accomplish what they set out to do. The scene where Bruce and Diana meet at a museum gala is extended, actually clarifying why Wonder Woman was there to begin with. The Batman warehouse fight is longer, as well as his scene of reflection with Alfred before heading out to attempt to murder Superman. There’s even a quick Ben Affleck nude shower scene for the ladies, as well as an extended sex scene between Clark and Lois. Get those Bat-vibrators at the ready.
Bottom line: watch this cut. Never again watch the original one. And if you haven’t see the original, simply watch this one. It’s so much better, especially if you are a bit of a film nerd and enjoy when things are composed in a clearer and more professional manner. They hacked this movie to shreds in the editing room and shoved a subpar cut into our faces at release, and that’s a mistake which cost this movie at least another $25 million at the box office. Lets hope Suicide Squad isn’t a victim of this process now either.
I give the BVS Ultimate Edition a 9 out of 10
Own Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Ultimate Edition on Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack, Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack, Blu-ray Combo Pack or DVD on July 19 or Own It Now on Digital HD! Be sure to watch the trailer below.
Special Thanks to Warner Bros for allowing us to use images from the movie.
Next Review: Star Trek Beyond