Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice proved a divisive film upon release, scorned by critics while causing bitter debate between fans that loved and hated the movie. Director Zack Snyder's gritty take on the DC Universe wasn't for everyone, but audiences might find more to enjoy thanks to Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice: Ultimate Edition, the film's recently released extended cut.
The new release adds plenty of Easter Eggs as well as 30 minutes to the movie's runtime, and earned itself an R-rating for some additional violent action. But that might not be a bad thing, because reviews suggest this is the movie we should have seen in the first place.
New Footage Improves Everything
Collider's Steve "Frosty" Weintraub wasn't a huge fan of the theatrical release, but thinks fans should definitely give the extended cut a chance:
"I can honestly say the three hour cut of 'Batman V Superman' is such an improvement that I strongly suggest giving the film another chance. Not only does the North Africa sequence at the beginning of the film now make sense, you get to see Clark Kent be an investigative reporter, understand how Lex was pulling the strings to frame Superman, how Lex was behind the killings when Batman branded someone, and so much more."
The new version might not be perfect, but Screenrant writer Ben Kendrick also saw major improvements:
"There are still moments of clumsy storytelling, a significant amount of shared universe setup, and an overall dour tone but the 'Ultimate Edition' injects a considerable amount of quality character drama and plot development back into the experience – putting more distance between the clunky parts while also providing a much more comprehensible set of side arcs that elevate every character, every narrative beat, and every thematic through-line in the process."
More Balance Between Superman And Batman
While Ben Affleck's Batman was a bright spot in the theatrical cut, many complained that BvS sidelined Superman in favor of the Dark Knight. But according to Forbes' Scott Mendelson, that's not the case in the Ultimate Edition. The reviewer, who said the theatrical release would "hurt your brain and break your heart," felt the new version was much more balanced:
"It does feel more like a Superman/Batman two-hander, as opposed to a Batman movie with Superman supporting characters filling out the cast. I would go so far as to say that I 'liked' this version of 'Batman V Superman.'"
New scenes featuring Clark Kent's investigation into Batman's activities as well as an extension of the North Africa action sequence at the film's start go a long way in making the narrative feel more balanced.
Do We Need The Extra Footage?
Extra scenes may provide more character development and explain some plot holes, but for JoBlo's Paul Shirey they aren't the best solution to the film's problems:
"So, is the 'Ultimate Edition' better than the theatrical version? The short answer is yes. The longer answer is yes, but…do we really need three hours to get the best out of this film? I don’t think so. Unlike Snyder’s longer 'Watchmen' cut, which serves very specific source material, BVS could easily lose just as many scenes as its gained, but more than that, a tighter narrative (i.e. much less convoluted) would have given it the strength to hold its own without more time added."
Additional footage is cool, but it might have been better to create an entertaining experience that doesn't need to be three hours long.
Ultimate Edition Won't Win Over All Fans
While some are praising the new scenes and their impact on the film, others see little overall change. As Jim Vejvoda put it in his review for IGN:
"This version offers a lot of little moments and extensions of plot threads that, even when revealed in their 'Ultimate' length, still don’t do much to make any more sense or to justify why those elements were even there to begin with. The 'BvS Ultimate Edition' isn't like the multiple cuts of 'Watchmen' or 'Blade Runner' that offer viewers entirely new movies to experience."
If you didn't like BvS to begin with, you might not be won over by the new home release. But critical consensus shows that even though they're not perfect, the additions in Batman V Superman: Ultimate Edition help create a more balanced, consistent experience. In the end, it sounds like this version is the movie director Zack Snyder was actually trying to make.
You can find Batman V Superman: Ultimate Edition on Digital HD now, with Blu-ray, DVD and Ultra Blu-ray releases set for July 19. Are you excited for the extended version of BvS? Let us know in the comments below!