This piece contains spoilers for BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE and its Ultimate Edition extended cut.
I still stand by my original review of Batman v Superman, but after watching Zack Snyder’s extended cut of the already unwieldy film built around a ten minute clash between comic book titans, I have a few more thoughts.
After opening with the first of many overblown and confusing dream sequences, I will say that the scene of Bruce Wayne charging through Metropolis on a rescue mission, in the process giving us a ground-level view of the destructive finale to MAN OF STEEL is quite effective. Ben Affleck is a really good, melancholically charming Bruce Wayne throughout really, it’s just a shame what they decided to do with the Bat, though admittedly his fight with the warehouse full of thugs is the film’s best action scene (despite all the killing).
So what new delights can be found in the Ultimate Edition? Jimmy Olsen (Michael Cassidy) gets to introduce himself before being killed in Africa. A couple of insert shots make it clearer that Louis Lane (Amy Adams) was being used by the CIA to facilitate a sting operation unbeknownst to her, so she comes across as less reckless for the sake of it, still just a damsel, but a slightly less stupid damsel. You get to see Ben Affleck’s bum. Snyder is a little less inclined to cut around people being shot or stabbed. The point of the Senate explosion scene is more apparent. Clark Kent (Henry Cavill) gets to do a little investigative reporting. Still foggy is Lex Luthor’s (Jesse Eisenberg) game in all this, though he does briefly commune with a special effect. Lex admits he is insane and Batman makes sure he is transferred to Arkham Asylum for special treatment. That’s your extra 30 minutes.
Even putting aside Batman killing pretty indiscriminately in some sequences, his branding of criminals (I know, it’s a classic sadistic Frank Miller idea) is beyond cruel. Terrifying and incarcerating them isn’t enough for him – it’s that every criminal he catches from common muggers to serial killers live a day-to-day hell akin to that suffered by child molesters in real prisons because of this brand. Does he really brand everyone he finds outside the law? Should he brand himself? I guess at least Snyder and his writers ask this question, unfortunately they actually have a character ask it rather than exploring it in a more nuanced way (maybe in a film you should use film language?).
“The world only makes sense if you force it to” really is one of the worst movie lines in recent memory, and it’s immediately followed by Supes and Bats ceasing their hostilities because both their mothers’ names were Martha.
Why the hell does Superman need to watch the news? Isn’t he supposed to be near-enough omnipotent or is that just knowing where Louis is? Apparently the latter as he doesn’t realise his mother has been kidnapped until Lex tells him so.
So the new stuff is negligible, and seeing the film as a whole again hasn’t changed my opinion. Affleck, Jeremy Irons and Gal Gadot come out of it OK, but this film is still broken on a fundamental level and I am actively dreading the release of JUSTICE LEAGUE at the end of next year. Sort your creative team out, DC/Warner Bros. SSP