Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (Ultimate Edition) (2016)

July 25, 2016

I was not a big fan of the theatrical cut of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. The theatrical release felt rushed and there were plot elements that felt incomplete. Superman/Clark Kent, while the focus of the film, felt like a bland boring guy. Bruce Wayne was an absolute angry mad man.

So, does the Ultimate Edition cut of the film, which is a massive 30 minutes longer, make a difference? Yes, it makes it a good film. A lot of the flaws from the theatrical cut remain, but the plot is smoothed out and plot points are clearer.

Between the time that I saw the theatrical release and the Ultimate Edition, I read Glen Wheldon's excellent book on Batman titled The Caped Crusade: Batman and the Rise of Nerd Culture. It gave me a better understanding of the Batman character and his history (I am a fan of Batman, not Superman). Wheldon posits that Batman is an idea and that each of us have our own version of Batman. My Batman closely aligns to the one that is in Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy -- a Batman that refuses to use guns, does solid detective work and does not kill even the worst of criminals. My original complaint of the theatrical release of BvS was that this Batman kills people and he uses guns! Blasphemy. But, not really. The very first Batman story (Detective Comics #27, May 1939) has Batman punch a bad guy so hard that he falls into a vat of acid. Batman then proclaims, "A fitting ending for his kind." In later comics, Batman was not averse to wielding firearms. So, while the Batman in BvS is not my Batman, but he is still a Batman nevertheless.

Spoilers Ahead

While the Ultimate Edition cut of the film is still not perfect, here is what made it better than the theatrical cut.

There are some large issues that the Ultimate Edition could not correct.

When I watched the theatrical version of the film in the theater, I felt every minute of the two and a half hour running time. It was long and boring. But, what surprised me is that the three-hour running time of the Ultimate Edition actually is not bad. I chalk it up to the smoother flow and pacing of the film -- plus the extra storylines add much needed material.

While I understand that PG-13 films that have shorter running times may sell more tickets, the cuts made to Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice hurt the film more than it helped. The Ultimate Edition goes to show that an R-rated three-hour film can actually work and I will give credit where it is due: Zack Snyder did good with this film when judged by the Ultimate Edition. Although, I still wonder why Snyder hates Superman so much. He just seems to beat on Superman until... well, Superman is dead.

It would be a treat if before Justice League is released, Warner Brothers could release the R-rated Ultimate Edition of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice to the big screens.

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