WARNING: I WILL BE DISCUSSING SOME MAJOR PLOT POINTS IN THE FILM, SO IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THE MOVIE YET, YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.
Released: June 28,2016(Digital Only), July 19, 2016(Blu-Ray, DVD)
Director: Zack Snyder
Run Time-Extended Cut: 3 Hours; Theatrical Version: 151 Minutes
Rated R(Extended Cut), PG-13(Theatrical Version)
Composer: Hans Zimmer, Junkie XL
Distributor: Warner Bros.
Henry Cavill: Clark Kent/Superman
Ben Affleck: Bruce Wayne/Batman
Amy Adams: Lois Lane
Jesse Eisenberg: Lex Luthor
Holly Hunter: Senator Finch
Jeremy Irons: Alfred
Laurence Fishburne: Perry White
Diane Lane: Martha Kent
Gal Gadot: Diana Prince/Wonder Woman
As a general rule, I tend not to revisit movies that I have reviewed unless a certain circumstance arises. That circumstance being the release of an extended version of a film. I don’t review extended cuts as another rule, unless they add something significant to the actual like say…Ridley Scott’s Kingdom of Heaven, which added an entirely new subplot which changed the overall movie. THAT’S what compels me to revisit a movie on this blog. When I reviewed Batman V. Superman a couple of months ago, I gave it a 7/10. I enjoyed it for what it was, but there were so many problems with the movie, that I couldn’t give it my full recommendation. It had a lot of plot points that didn’t seem to go anywhere and some of the stuff that seemed to be important was cut short. The thing is that before the movie was released to theaters, Zack Snyder announced that an R-rated Extended Cut of the film would be released several months after the film’s theatrical release.
I already went over the story in my previous review of the film, so I won’t really go over the whole thing again here. What I will say, is that the story in Batman V. Superman isn’t actually bad, it just suffered from not having enough room to explore the characters and themes that Zack Snyder wanted to show the audience. It felt like there was too much going on. This is where the extended cut of the film comes into play. A lot of the issues that some people had with the film are mostly fixed. 30 minutes have been re-introduced into the film, and it bugs me as to why this stuff was cut out. It further explains why things happen and actually allows for character development. The theatrical version of the film felt more like a Batman movie than a Superman movie, and when you have a film that features both superheroes, you need to give them equal amounts of attention.
The 30 minutes that have been put back into the film don’t significantly alter the plot in a meaningful way, so if you’re expecting that to happen, it won’t. This version of the film actually gives you more information as to how Lex Luthor has been manipulating the situation from day one. His plan to destroy Superman is further fleshed out right from the get-go in the scene in the desert. But that particular plot point is actually further explored later on in the movie, especially after the courtroom gets bombed. This is also where Lois Lane as a character gets more to do and actually has a purpose. While she was investigating the incident in the desert, she actually puts everything together during the entire film and ends up with proof that Lex Luthor is behind everything, especially the bombing. People had complained about Superman’s reaction to the bombing, but Lane’s investigation concluded that the bomb has concealed by lead, so Superman didn’t do anything about it, because he literally couldn’t see it. THAT is a significant chunk of information that helps the movie considerably. It also shows Superman saving some of the people that got caught in the blast.
We also got to see Superman as Clark Kent also doing some investigation into Batman’s activities in Gotham City. We discover that Lex Luthor has also been manipulating issues in Gotham City to basically have Superman and Batman start pointing fingers at each other. Plot-wise, things are more clear and we get a better sense of what’s happening. Characters have room to breathe. Even Lex Luthor is given a little bit more room to shine. The more I see Jesse Eisenberg as Luthor, the more I actually like him. Peformances across the board really haven’t changed much, except during the scenes that were cut out. We even get to see Clark call his mother to check up on her and that adds a lot more to his character, and shows that he’s not a scumbag. Superman was never a scumbag, but the theatrical version of Batman V. Superman painted him in a very different light. The extended cut of the film changes that.
While the extended cut doesn’t add a whole lot more action to the film, it adds a little bit just to hit that R-rating. The film does get very violent, especially when Batman is involved. That scene where he takes on the mercenaries is exceptionally brutal, but it is definitely something one can see Batman doing. The best parts of Batman V. Superman are enhanced by the additional footage, but the negative of the film remain. There are still issues with the third act of the film. I still don’t like what they did with Doomsday, but it’s not as much of an issue for me anymore. It’s a hell of an action sequence, and Snyder really hits it out of the park. Big explosions, big special effects, that’s what you can and should expect from a movie of this kind. The pacing of the film is actually improved and it feels a little more complete. Make no mistake, the bad parts of the movie still remain, but that’s largely due to the script, and that’s not an issue you can fix with editing and additional scenes.
Ultimately, if you hated the film in the first place, the extended cut of the film is not likely to change your mind. But, you’re like me, and you saw that there was a good movie in that mess somewhere, this is the version that you need to see. It is the superior version of the film, and is what Zack Snyder had wanted the audiences to see from the beginning. Yeah, the film’s three hours long, but it IS a more coherent experience. I still stand by my score for the theatrical version of the film which was a 7/10. The extended version of Batman V. Superman gets an 8.5/10. It’s more of an operatic epic and far superior film to the theatrical version. I’m one of the people that really enjoyed Man of Steel, so my initial reaction to the follow-up was one of disappointment. The extended version of Batman V. Superman is the version to see. I think that Batman V. Superman is now mostly a proper set-up for the upcoming Justice League films. This version comes highly recommended.