Back when Dawn of Justice was first released, reviews were mixed and an entire nation of fans was split. The film didn’t do well critically and was met with tons of controversy. Much of it didn’t make sense to many and it’s horrible pacing didn’t help much. Thankfully, the ultimate cut is finally out, and definitely improves the film vastly. I 100 % believe that this is the version that should’ve been released in theaters. Much of what was cut from the original version is incredibly vital to the narrative and makes many, including myself, question WB as to what exactly they were thinking. My biggest gripe with the film originally was that it just didn’t click together the way a proper movie should. Weirdly enough, I also thought there wasn’t a bad scene through out the whole thing. Every second was exceptionally written and beautifully acted by a tremendous cast. But it just didn’t feel right. The extended version is finally out and I’m happy to say it fixes most (but definitely not all) of the issues I originally had.
Now let’s take it from the top. Batman v Superman is now fully fleshed out and way more coherent than it was the first time around. Everything that was cut just makes the movie that much better. Even the little things. Things like an extra shot in the Wayne murder sequence that actually shows the gun being pointed at Martha’s neck rather than her head like the first cut made it out to seem. Then there’s the even bigger things like the Africa sequence. This is an incredibly important scene that is continuously referred to throughout the movie. That scene is now a lot longer and makes a ton of more sense. We get a nice introduction to Jimmy Olsen, some nice dialogue from the Russian and then we see the brutality and extensive planning on Lex’s behalf with the bloodshed and bodies being burnt, making it actually seem like Superman might have actually killed people in that village.
With the longer scenes, the flow of the movie is much better. For example, one of my personal favorites, Batman’s introduction is now built up to with two policemen watching a football game between Gotham and Metropolis before receiving the call to Batman’s whereabouts. It makes the two cities feel more fleshed out and helps establish a world before we ever get to see the bat.
Aside from Bruce, the two who benefit the most from the extra scenes are definitely Clark and lex. Clark is shown being the reporter that he should be, and travels to Gotham for a scoop on the Batman. He is also shown calling his mother in the middle of the night to ask about his father, leading straight into the originally misplaced and even confusing scene in the mountains with Jonathan. The explosion in the Capitol is now preceded by a very nice shot of him helping people out of the building and looking around to see dozens of dead bodies and paramedics. He looks around like a child whose done something wrong but doesn’t know how to fix it. His silence says it all. This is a man who came out to do good, but is constantly being nitpicked and rejected by the general public. The beautiful acting by Henry Cavill makes you really feel his character’s inner turmoil. In this moment he feels powerless, and has no other choice but to leave the scene. It’s stuff like this that gives the film a little more spirit that’s desperately needed.
Also needed was a bit more logic. Lex now has a more calculated plan. One that no longer relies on coincidence. What we saw in the Theatrical Cut is that he conducts the incident in Africa and then relies on coincidence as to how the public reacts to it. However here, we see that the lady who speaks in the senate, blaming Superman is actually a paid actress. So not only does Lex conduct the attack, he also starts the public domino effect by creating the catalytic reaction to the event, making the plan feel more concise, and the way he then remains two steps ahead of Senator Finch makes him feel way more dangerous.
Moving on… before I talk about the issues, overall i’d say some of the bigger problems with the movie have been improved. The pacing and editing make it feel like a normal movie now as a whole. Lois’ place in the story fits better and Clark gets more scenes to further his job and point of view on the Batman. However…
The reason as to why batman and superman are at arm’s with each other doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. There could have been a better way to go about showing that conflict. The reason as to why they stopped fighting doesn’t seem to make a ton of sense to many people from what I can tell. I really enjoyed the whole “Martha” dilemma at the end of the fight but I can see why some people think less of it.
That wonderfully terrible email scene is still there, and in pretty much exactly the sameplace. Why not just introduce the rest of the league individually instead of having this random scene of found footage right before the big fight? Also, I may be wrong, but I think the Cyborg email actually has a few extra seconds with the Motherbox. I could be wrong.
The Knightmare and Flash scene are still shown off poorly. Though both really cool, they just feel like they shouldn’t be in the movie at all. It felt random and out of place 3 months ago, and even with the extended scenes, they still don’t fit into the plot much.
There’s no added scenes to explore the world post Black Zero in greater detail. There’s only one small line from Lex about what he did for the city, something like “one of my Save Metropolis teams found it” when discussing Kryptonite. If you’ve read the TimeOut guide you’d know Lex did so much more for the city of Metropolis, and this should have been used in the movie to show the positive public reception of him which could help him in his fight against The Man Of Steel. I found myself reading the guide thinking “this guy loves his city” and that is something that wasn’t shown well at all in the movie, which is a shame.
My final issue is the lack of Superman interacting with the public. This is an issue which may or may not matter to you, but, me personally, I wanted just one small scene of Superman speaking to someone that wasn’t Lois or Batman. Just some young kid or whatever which shows the humanity of Superman and how the innocent aren’t corrupted like the powerful or something. Just give us a glimpse of what Superman will end up becoming after Justice League.
Most of what was good originally remains intact this time of around. If you liked the original cut, you are going to love the ultimate edition! If you didn’t, then you most likely won’t be changing your mind.
Say what you will buy Larry Fong and Zack Snyder created a beautiful looking movie filled with amazing cinematography and top of the line special effects. They helped create a comic book come to life and that’s something I think we take for granted. The writers also deserve recognition. Everyone involved created something truly special here that will be talked about for years to come. I’d also like to express my gratitude to the likes of Hans Zimmer and Junkie XL for curating a brilliant and moving score that gave the movie a magnificent touch.
FINAL VERDICT: The Ultimate Edition of the movie is the only version you should watch. The additional scenes help add more meat to the story, filling in some of the gaps that went over quite a few people’s heads. It doesn’t resolve all the issues, but it is an improvement nonetheless. The nearly 3 hour long runtime will require a bit of patience at first. The film is now available on digital and will be made available on blu-ray and DVD on July 19th. If you haven’t already be sure to follow us on Twitter and Instagram @ComicDrops!