Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice had a muddled, divisive, and underwhelming theatrical release. It was vilified, prompting a change in course for WB going forward.
The Ultimate Edition was seen by some as a cash grab. To me the extra thirty minutes of footage transforms the film from a weirdly disjointed affair to one I like a fair bit.
Seeing more of Affleck’s Batman is fantastic, but it’s the extra scenes and lines of dialogue included in the Ultimate Edition that make the biggest difference, giving us more character whilst clearing up the majority of the confusion that surrounds the story.
This Batman is broken. Years of fighting and loss has taken it’s toll as this corrupted force of nature forcefully bends his environment to suit his weary and violent state of mind. He might not be the Batman we expected but he makes sense. The extra scenes correctly do nothing to change him.
They do change Superman. I cannot fathom how the film was allowed to be edited to portray him in much a negative way. He’s left looking mopey, overly concerned with Lois, and unhelpful. Whose idea was it to cut a scene of him helping people? WHO!? Idiotic and harmful decisions were made regarding Cavill’s take on the Boy Scout and none of them were his fault. His Superman is conflicted and hurt – no wonder what with killing the last known member of his race and the public backlash he faces – but he still tries to be a symbol of hope who will always help, even when he is questioned and hated.
I’m standing up for this film but I’m not oblivious to it’s faults. Lex is a bit much. We didn’t need the Batmobile chase when Batman just ends up following the tracker anyway. The nightmare sequence is cool but extraneous, as is the Flash from the future. We probably didn’t need videos of the future League either.
There could be a version of this film under 3 hours that makes sense and flows better. No argument there. But length isn’t an excuse. The LOTR films prove that audiences can sit down for 3 hours. Hell, even The Dark Knight Rises was 2 hours 40 minutes, and that made serious money.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is almost a trilogy on it’s own. Sure it’s dark and sullen, but that’s the point! Both characters, and the world they inhabit, are going through massive changes and aren’t sure how to deal with it. The film is part of the story of how everyone deals with that. It’s not your standard comic book film and I think that put a lot of people off. We’re saturated with Marvel and Fox stories that have created a highly successful template. This film goes against all of that, so I understand it’s going to be a hard sell.
It’s not for everyone. It’s not perfect. But it’s worth defending.