Ultimate Edition of ‘BATMAN V SUPERMAN’ polishes but doesn’t fix ultimate problem

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Connor Bynum // Contributing Writer

BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE – ULTIMATE EDITION
Director: Zack Snyder
Cast: Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Amy AdamsJesse Eisenberg and Gal Gadot

It would probably be quite the challenge to find someone who thoroughly enjoyed the theatrical release of BATMAN v. SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE. We sure didn’t.

With the latest film to fall victim to an overreaching studio receiving negative reviews from critics and audiences alike, it is not that much of a surprise to see an Extended Ultimate Edition hit store shelves barely four months after its theatrical release.

With an additional 30 minutes of previously unseen footage and slight rearranging of existing scenes and increase in violence, fans are left wondering if the dawn truly can be brighter after such a dark night.

Is this version better?

In a word, yes.

Is the ultimate edition of BATMAN v. SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE the hero the DC Cinematic Universe needs?

Not really.

One of the biggest complaints that could be made for the theatrical version of this film was that it somehow succeeded in feeling incredibly rushed while also feeling way too long. A lot of the early scenes- the opening action sequence in Africa in particular – simply felt empty and disconnected. It was as if we were getting the cliffnotes to what happened in an earlier movie that doesn’t exist.

For the most part, the Ultimate Edition addresses these complaints and takes its time in building up the momentum to “the greatest gladiator match the world has ever seen”. With the aforementioned Africa sequence, we are given some much needed clarity as to why this event ends up being so important for the rest of the film.

Characters actions and motivations make more sense this time around. Clark Kent (Henry Cavill) doesn’t just want to write about the Bat Vigilante because he doesn’t care about writing football stories, but rather acts on his internal desire to deflect the criticisms he receives as Superman towards the Bat– possibly as a means of justifying his own moral compass.

His internal conflict is explored much more as he struggles with the responsibility to save as many people as he can while dealing with the reality that saving everyone really isn’t an option and a choice must be made. It provides depth to his character that was really wasn’t there last time.

Jena Malone, cut from the theatrical version, plays Jenet Klyburn in the Ultimate Edition. Photo courtesy of Warner Bros.

Jena Malone, cut from the theatrical version, plays Jenet Klyburn in the Ultimate Edition. Photo courtesy of Warner Bros.

Speaking of the caped crusader, Ben Affleck gets some additional screen time donning the cowl and beating Gotham’s criminals to a pulp without so much as batting an eye. This really was one of the major criticisms people had with this movie. It is widely known that Batman has a rule about not killing people under any circumstance. Putting aside the (still awesome) dream sequence in a post-apocalyptic Gotham City where he straight up shoots everybody in one long shot, Batman does not seem above being at least indirectly responsible for the deaths of multiple criminals who should have known better than to get in his way. This mindset is further explored in this version, implying that Bruce Wayne was not always so reckless in his vigilante justice, but is just over it at this point.

Other characters that mostly sat on the sidelines for the theatrical cut get a bit more fleshed out as well. Lois Lane (Amy Adams), Alfred Pennyworth (Jeremy Irons) and even Martha Kent (Diane Lane) get additional screen time.

Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg), however, is still annoyingly quirky as ever. Not much is added for him in terms of character development, but the idea of him always being in control of his master plan is much more prevalent.

Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) gets a little more time as her alter-ego, Diana Prince, but her big reveal in the film’s final act still leaves more to be desired.

Ultimately, this version is more enjoyable than its theatrical predecessor. While the film still struggles in its third act, especially in regards to the now infamous means by which the conflicting heroes join forces, the added material used to get us there gives the audience the respect it deserves by not assuming we won’t care about the story making absolutely no sense.

BATMAN v. SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE – Ultimate Edition is available now on Digital HD and will be available on Blu-Ray and DVD come July 19.

Extras for Blu-ray will include the following:

  • 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

About author

Preston Barta

I have been working as a film journalist since 2010, dividing the first four years between radio broadcasting and entertainment writing in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. In 2014, I entered Fresh Fiction (FreshFiction.tv) as the features editor. The following year, I stepped into the film critic position at the Denton Record-Chronicle, a daily North Texas print publication. My time is dedicated to writing theatrical film reviews, at-home entertainment columns, and conducting interviews with on-screen talent and filmmakers, as well as hosting a podcast devoted to genre filmmaking (called My Bloody Podcast). I've been married for seven happy years, and I have one son who is all about dinosaurs just like his dad.