Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was easily one of the most divisive films of 2016, and still continues to rile up nerds and movie fans everywhere. Now with the release of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Ultimate Edition there’s even more to debate as director Zack Snyder’s original vision for the film is revealed in a vastly superior film compared to the theatrical cut.
You can read my initial review of the standard theatrical cut here and the Ultimate Edition adds an additional 30 minutes to the already hefty original 153 minutes – and yet, somehow it doesn’t feel like a longer movie. It’s quite clear that there was some heavy editing going on from the studio to trim down the final theatrical film so it would get to the action faster, but unfortunately it made many things – like Lex Luthor’s (Jesse Eisenberg) conspiracy – make very little sense.
Not only does the Ultimate Edition make the villain look better, it also does the same for our heroes. Clark Kent/Superman (Henry Cavill) is shown being much more Superman-like and actually caring for people in ax excised investigative B-plot, as well as extended scenes after the Capitol bombing, where Superman saves people from the rubble rather than just immediately flying away.
The Bat-branding that Batman (Ben Affleck) was burning onto criminals also played a much bigger role in the conspiracy for the Ultimate Edition, while also revealing itself to being a key factor in Luthor’s plot. Batman also earns the upgraded R-rating for some truly bloody and brutal fights scenes. Personally, I didn’t feel like those extended scenes were necessary, instead just making Batman look like a violent killer – but the scenes are pretty incredible to watch.
The perplexing Africa scenes in the theatrical cut also are expanded and shown the way Snyder originally intended, creating an extremely complex and interesting plot point for Luthor to discredit Superman to public. Even the much talked about Jimmy Olsen cameo works in a way that I didn’t think it would without seeming too “blasphemous” for the character.
While I will say that the Ultimate Edition isn’t going to sway anyone that originally hated the film, but with all of Snyder’s original scenes restored, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is an impressively complex deconstruction of these two legendary characters in a modern world. The film is extremely mature in content and themes and should have been applauded upon release for providing a thought-provoking superhero film with adult moral quandaries, but instead audiences left frustrated and confused by a hacked up version of the film.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Ultimate Edition also has a fantastic array of special features to go along with the much more satisfying version of the film. Not only do you get Snyder’s cut of the film, the theatrical cut is also provided in addition to a Digital HD Ultraviolet version of the film to watch on the go.
Here’s a breakdown of all the other features that go into impressive depth with tremendoues looks behind the film:
* Uniting the World’s Finest
* Gods and Men: A Meeting of Giants
* The Warrior, The Myth, The Wonder
* Accelerating Design: The New Batmobile
* Superman: Complexity & Truth
* Batman: Austerity & Rage
* Wonder Woman: Grace & Power
* Batcave: Legacy of The Lair
* The Might and The Power of A Punch
* The Empire of Luthor
* Save the Bats
Probably the feature of most note to fans with be Uniting the World’s Finest – which not only includes interviews with just about everyone behind the camera, but also every single member of the Justice League including Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Gal Gadot, Ezra Miller, Jason Momoa, and Ray Fisher.
Many of the other features are also interesting, but provide more of a history of the characters like Batman and Superman in Gods and Men: A Meeting of Giants, Wonder Woman in The Warrior, The Myth, The Wonder and Lex Luthor in The Empire of Luthor. Everything is still well done for fans in the know, but a credit cram session for viewers only familiar with live-action versions of the characters.
Superman: Complexity & Truth and Batman: Austerity & Rage talk about the fashion of Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne in and out of costume, and what each outfit says about the characters themselves such as Batman’s bullet-ridden, battle-scarred suit that was designed to show years of use.
Gear heads and Bat-fans alike will really dig Accelerating Design: The New Batmobile for its fascinating look at the vehicle’s conception all the way up to the test track and debut on set for the film. Save the Bats is really the only feature that seems a bit out-of-place, but it’s for a good cause that the movie supported. The cast and crew helped build “homes” for bats to help prevent them from contracting a disease that kills millions of bats every year.
With hours of meticulously gathered, quality supplemental features and an unquestionably better version of the film, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Ultimate Cut is the version fans deserved and needed upon the film’s original theatrical release giving consumers the only version needed for your home video collection.
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The Ultimate Edition is unquestionably better than the theatrical cut and should have been the version audiences originally saw in theaters, although it probably isn't drastically different enough to sway all those that vocally hated it the first time. Not only is the film vastly improved, but this set has an enormous haul of outstanding special features in real a must have for fans.