I wanted to like this move. I really did. In fact, I wanted to love it. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be. Don’t get me wrong, I found it entertaining and seeing Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman on the big screen together, well, the geek in me was doing back flips. The problem was they attempted to push in about four movies’ worth of character development into one film and somehow made it painstakingly slow. How do you do that? Overwhelm someone with information while also making it feel like things are unfolding underwater? You can read MBP’s thoughts here in our email throwdown.
As Batman V Superman became a punchline for everything that sucks about DC in the DC vs. Marvel battle of comic blockbusters, there were rumors of an extended addition of the film that covers up some of the rough spots of the cinematic release. Optimistic of the additional scenes as well as the R rating of the Ultimate Edition, I took a leap of faith and purchased the Blu Ray. Here are some quick items of note that changed in the Ultimate Edition:
- The ultimate cut does a much better job showing the audience how Lex Luthor has been manipulating everything from the background. Whether it’s paying off key witnesses, altering crime scenes, or framing people for murder, it’s more clear that Lex is creating conflict between the two heroes as opposed to capitalizing on random coincidence.
- There’s some additional backstory for Lex Luthor that expands upon the relationship he had with his father. Not really anything to help improve the story but it’s something.
- Lois Lane does a lot more digging to discover Lex’s grand scheme and there are more details around LexCorp’s involvement with weapon design and how it was being discovered in weapons at key Superman-related incidents.
- The violent scenes are a little more brutal. The African attack, the killing of the Waynes, and the Batman scene versus Lex’s thugs. More bones breaking, a closer look in the eyes of Martha Wayne – little things that push it from PG-13 to R.
- A touch more heroic Superman. He’s shown aiding victims of the bombing in the Capitol but still ducks out early. Better than nothing I guess.
- A subtle shift in the ending with Batman confronting Lex and telling him he’s being moved to Arkham Asylum.
- Gal Gadot is still gorgeous, Wonder Woman is still awesome. Sorry, it needed to be said.
- Much more shirtless Batfleck and Superman – they’re freaking ripped…
Overall, the Ultimate Edition is better – I can’t deny that. The story is more coherent and the action feels more meaningful. Lex as a villain is a lot less confusing. However, coherency does not make a bad story good. It also doesn’t change the fact that DC rushed to create a team up movie. If you can look past the fact that Batman get manipulated a little too easy for my taste, or tacking on Doomsday to the end of the film when he could have been the focus of his own movie, or Superman not being heroic or present for much of the film… then I guess this extended scenes turn the movie around for you. I’d recommend watching the extended version if you can deal with the story and just want to respect your characters more. The theatrical release felt like a cast of characters responding to a jumble of coincidental events. The ultimate release does a better job showing the intelligence and motives of the characters and while that doesn’t improve the story, it does give you a better idea of who they are.