A drastically improved cut of a deeply flawed film.
Directed by Zack Snyder
Lets all be honest here. Batman V Superman was doomed to fail based on ambition alone.
Here is a movie that attempts to be A Man Of Steel sequel, a Batman introduction, a Wonder Woman’s introduction, a Justice League’s set up movie, and FINALLY, Batman V Superman. So yes, calling this movie overcrowded would be an understatement.
There was absolutely no way it could live up to that many expectations, and the theatrical cut is a hot mess. Featuring some of the worst pacing and editing i have seen in a high profile blockbuster, a downright idiotic plot, and the oh so terribly placed Justice League cameos and set ups. This was at least 4 movies crammed into one and it painfully shows with its strained structure. So why am i giving the Ultimate Edition a positive review?
To be perfectly honest, despite the numerous glaring flaws of BvS, i still liked what it was going for. The philosophical battle between Batman & Superman’s clash of ideologies is genuinely interesting, but it was sadly wasted in the convoluted plot. This Ultimate cut fixes a lot of that convolution, makes the overall flow of the film smoother, as well as adds some much needed character motivation. The change is so drastic that i’m shocked anyone gave the go ahead for the theatrical cut.
With the Ultimate cut, you get some semblance of a coherent plot that makes sense from a Point A to Point B context. The extra violence doesn’t add much but it doesn’t need to. This is still a dark, bleak film that tries hard to ground its characters within a realistic world. Much of the added footage goes to Henry Cavill as Superman, as well as Lois Lane’s reporter subplot. It turns what was originally a laughable attempt to frame Superman into a pretty decent frame-job by Lex Luthor. And more importantly, we get that much needed emotional connection to Clark Kent/Superman and Lois Lane.
What all these additions do, is allow for the great parts of the original cut to shine. And yes there are great moments in Batman V Superman, despite what the haters refuse to see. Ben Affleck’s turn as Batman is fantastic, and the warehouse action sequence really is the best Batman action put on film to date. The score by Hans Zimmer and Junkie XL is a home run, both epic and somber when it needs to be, accentuating the mostly fantastic action. And the cinematography and visuals? Just gorgeous, with a grit and style that Marvel films just cant compete with. Yes, the film is dark but i for one loved the tone.
Of course, that doesn’t mean the film suddenly becomes a masterpiece. Lex Luthor still sticks out like a cartoon, and Superman is severely under powered for the sake of forced tension. The Justice League set up is still a jarring diversion that stops the film dead in its track every time it comes on. You can literally feel that studio interference with every forced Justice League cameo being shoehorned in, and this is why BvS is so disappointing.
There is a great Batman V Superman film somewhere in here. Its just overstuffed with so many other movies that it starts to have an identity crisis. Warner Brothers really should have taken their time to release solo films to build up the characters of Batman & Superman respectively. Instead we get everything thrown into the sink, and it diminishes what could have been an amazing story. But when this movie is on, its really on.