Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was not a terrible movie, but a decidedly flawed one where many felt that there was simply too much missing from the story for it to make sense. What made it more frustrating was that this was supposed to be the platform for bigger things in the DC Universe and with its poor reception, many feared that the future of the franchise was in jeopardy. And with news that almost 30 minutes of the film was actually left out of the final cut to reduce its length, it seemed that perhaps some poorly planned edits were the cause of some of the script confusion.
Well, the good news is that Ultimate Edition – think Director’s Cut, with all that footage added back in – has now been released digitally and although we don’t have our own copy of the film to review for you YET (it only releases locally on Blu-ray on July 22), we can tell you what many of the other reviewers felt who have watched it. Here are some key points highlighted from the main reviewers:
Ben Kendrick over at ScreenRant writes:
Fortunately, the Ultimate Edition improves upon many of the film’s biggest narrative shortcomings – clarifying and/or outright answering a number of questions that had, previously, presented major plot holes and often undermined the intelligence and integrity of Batman V Superman‘s starring heroes.
The Ultimate Edition is not going to make converts out of viewers who thought the “Martha” moment was an idiotic resolution to the title fight or rolled their eyes at Lois Lane’s disposal (then retrieval) of a kryptonite spear. There are still moments of clumsy storytelling, a significant amount of shared universe setup, and an overall dour tone but the Ultimate Edition injects a considerable amount of quality character drama and plot development back into the experience – putting more distance between the clunky parts while also providing a much more comprehensible set of side arcs that elevate every character, every narrative beat, and every thematic through-line in the process…In the most basic sense, Batman V Superman doesn’t just add back in key details to the plot, it also includes a number of extended scenes and subplots that (even in the most subtle instances) allow the audience to linger on interesting conversations longer than before while also clarifying entire story beats that, originally, made characters look stupid, careless, or downright unheroic.
Mark Hughes, who enjoyed the theatrical cut, had this to say at Forbes:
The result is proof that Batman v Superman was meant to be more than the theatrical cut, and if most critics and audiences had a chance to see Snyder’s intended vision back in March, then it probably would’ve had a better reception. Again, those who hated this movie because of tone and/or the deconstructive elements might still dislike it overall, and some of those who like this version better might still find it flawed, but overall I think the consensus will favor this extended cut by a wide margin and rehabilitate the film’s reputation going forward. That 27% Rotten Tomatoes score would surely be many points higher, perhaps even into the 50+% range, if the Ultimate Edition had been the theatrical cut we saw earlier this year. And in ten years, I think hindsight will even further improve Batman v Superman’s reputation, and overturn the excessive and wrongheaded damage done to Zack Snyder’s reputation, as this de facto director’s cut takes root as the definitive and intended incarnation of the film.
Khalil Johnson over at Heroic Hollywood adds:
Turns out the big issue with the theatrical cut is editing. This happens in every film, but it wasn’t any more prevalent that editing hindered the story of the film until watching the final cut. This version, while longer than the theatrical, just flows a lot better. There are great character building moments for many of the main characters that absolutely should have remained in the film. Fans who purchase the digital or Blu-Ray might be pulling their hair out wondering why specific scenes were removed from the film after seeing this. Lex Luthor is a better character and his diabolical plot makes more sense. The scene in Africa is fully fleshed out. Batman’s motivation is much clearer, and we get to see more kickass Batman scenes. Clark Kent has his own arc where you get to see him do some actual reporter work. Even Superman even smiles! A few of the existing problems in the film remain, but overall this film is 100% better with all the cut scenes in it.
And the verdict – it seems to be a winner. If you were greatly disappointed with BvS: Dawn of Justice, then there is hope and it seems there was a good movie hiding in their somewhere after all, if they just didn’t cut it out. It’s a pity that producers sometimes feel viewers can’t handle a long 3 hour movie, so decide to cut it down excessively to keep it to more palatable to the wider audience. Let’s hope this teaches them to leave the final script intact as best as possible.
After all, the two biggest movies of all time, Titanic and Avatar, were around the 3 hour mark or more and people didn’t seem to have an issue sitting through those epics. Multiple times! (I struggle to this day to watch Titanic in its entirety, but that’s for completely different reasons.)
Last Updated: June 30, 2016