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The first time that I saw BATMAN V SUPERMAN the theatrical cut I came out of there with a 6 on 10 rating. Expectations, Jesse Eisenberg’s WTF spastic rendition of Lex Luthor and the choppy way the story was told threw me off. The second time I took the film on; I managed to fill in the gaps in terms of the narrative and it all made sense to me. Alas, Lex Luthor still got on my f-ing nerves. I ended up with a 8 on 10. You can read my final thoughts on the theatrical cut HERE, which now pales in comparison to the ULTIMATE CUT (WATCH IT HERE) aka the DIRECTOR’S CUT.
WARNING HUGE BATMAN V SUPERMAN SPOILERS BELOW. IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THE FILM, STEP OFF!
I’ll start by saying that if you’re not into Zack Snyder’s overall vision for BATMAN V SUPERMAN i.e. the bleakness, the grounded feel, the blatant Christ parallels when it comes to Kal-El, the high style, the mythological figure vibe Snyder gives to his superheroes – then this Ultimate Edition will probably not change your mind. But if like me you dig what he’s doing and where he’s going with it but felt that the theatrical cut wasn’t all that the picture could have been– then get ready to be happy! BATMAN V SUPERMAN THE ULTIMATE EDITION was the version the Studio should have released on the big screen in the first place and SHAME on them for that. Running at 181 minutes (30 minutes longer than the theatrical cut) everything that took me two viewings to “capish” in cinemas was explored further and made simple here.
For example; Bruce "wine and painkiller gobbler" Wayne (Ben Affleck who so owned the role) got further motivation to loathe Superman via the opening while the “how” in terms of Lex Luthor manipulating both heroes to duke it out was beefed up and clarified too. The Africa bit was also stretched out big time (right down to meeting Jimmy Olsen…for a oh so brief moment). It was more violent, emotional, it somewhat laid out the main theme to come in terms of the story (those with power can’t be neutral) and fully sold the framing of Superman. And for everybody that missed Clark Kent and wanted more Superman out of the theatrical cut, you’ll be well served here! Clark actually got to be an investigative reporter in this version. He visited Gotham to find Kahina Ziri (Wunmi Mosaku) who also got a compelling extended subplot that keyed into Lex’s master plan and he received the 411 on Batman’s reign of terror. It was gnarly to witness Henry Cavill get so much to chew on in this version.
Moreover it was swell that Superman helped extra people here, with the scene after the wheelchair explosion being much appreciated by this jerk. PS: It’s also explained WHY Superman couldn’t see that bomb hidden in the chair – it was encased in led. On top of that, Clark had more interaction with his mother (the always reliable Diane Lane) and even his encounter with the ghost/apparition of Kevin Costner (which bothered me in the theatrical cut) went down much smoother here due to the potent build up they added before it. Furthermore, it was made clear to me in this cut that the “now longer” Knightmare scene was not just a dream Bruce Wayne had but a vision of things to come, revealed to him by a time traveling The Flash (Ezra Miller).
A bleak future that will go down with Lois Lane dying and Superman going bad (echoing the Injustice: Gods Among Us story line). The countless Parademons flying about and Steppenwolf’s appearance at the end of his cut can only mean one thing: DARKSEID is coming! Finally the end sequence with its dual funerals (one for Supes, one for Clark) was way more poignant (loved the shots of the empty city) and we had a handful of new cameos to dig into: Jenna Malone as Jenet Klyburn, badass bodybuilder CT Fletcher and John Stewart popped up while Pete Ross (played by Joseph Cranford) and Father Leone (Coburn Gos) from MAN OF STEEL also showed up.
NOTE: We got added Lois Lane investigating and cracking the “Lex” case (having her subplot beefed up finally made it interesting). It’s not said enough but Amy Adams makes for an excellent Lois! I really love what she’s doing with the role and here she got the screen time she deserves.
NOTE 2: We also get more Alfred (an excellent Jeremy Irons) here. They fleshed out his relationship with Bruce and he got to say that cool line he had in the trailer but not in the theatrical cut: “So falls the House of Wayne”
NOTE 3: Perry White (Lawrence Fishburne) took more room in this cut as well but was it me or was he an a-hole? There’s a fine line between no-nonsense and a jerk and he crossed it here.
Alas, I still had the same problem with Jesse Eisenberg’s rendition of Lex Luthor, I actually felt like we saw him more in this cut, which wasn’t a good thing. He just came off like an overacting buffoon. A more subdued and subtle showcase would have been appreciated by your truly. He’s in a different movie than everybody else that's for sure! And yes Lois still found out something she shouldn’t have known in the first place (having to do with that spear). Overall though BATMAN V SUPERMAN THE ULTIMATE EDITION was the real deal! A grim, layered and ambitious superhero epic! Yes it had a bit more action, expanded on some scenes, sported one F bomb, pimped all kinds of brutality and offered mucho goodies, some that I didn’t give away here! But it’s them adding the meat back into the story, giving Superman/Clark Kent his dues and connecting the dots for us as opposed to us having to guess them that made this version beyond worthwhile for me. I also got a way stronger sense of where the DC universe going via this edition and I LIKE IT! If you dug BATMAN V SUPERMAN in cinemas, get ready to WORSHIP this D. Cut! Ready for war?!