Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Ultimate Edition, 2016.
Directed by Zack Snyder.
Starring Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Jesse Eisenberg, Gal Gadot, Diane Lane, Laurence Fishburne, Jeremy Irons, Holly Hunter, Scoot McNairy, Tao Okamoto, Lauren Cohan, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Ray Fisher, Jena Malone, Ezra Miller and Callan Mulvey.
In “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” fearing the actions of a god-like Super Hero left unchecked, Gotham City’s own formidable, forceful vigilante takes on Metropolis’s most revered, modern-day savior, while the world wrestles with what sort of hero it really needs. And with Batman and Superman at war with one another, a new threat quickly arises, putting mankind in greater danger than it’s ever known before.
When Warner Bros. announced that the follow up movie to Man of Steel would feature a clash of two of the greatest comic book titans ever, I was beyond excited. Batman v Superman would finally bring these two iconic superheroes to the big screen (and in IMAX nonetheless!) in the same movie. Much of the marketing focused on the epic battle between Batman and Superman, asking people to choose sides. I was completely biased of course, being a Superman fan since I can remember, I was Team Superman all the way. After all, how could a mere man with no super powers defeat a God-like being? By the time the movie actually came out, my anticipation was at an all-time high. How would this epic battle play out? What tricks were up Batman’s sleeve? Would Superman go easy on him to his own detriment?
I got to see the special IMAX screening for fans who attended the IMAX trailer event last year. It was loud and brash and epic and exciting and everybody cheered at the end. Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Lex Luthor, Doomsday! So much canon from the comic book world, but it seemed to fall a little short (despite the 153 minute runtime) in the end. So much didn’t make sense. The editing seemed choppy. It felt like the movie had been taken apart and put back together smaller just to make it into theaters and keep that PG-13 rating. After a great start, the movie faltered at the box office and was trashed by critics. And then the news came that there was going to be an “ultimate edition” of the movie for home release that contained 30 more minutes of footage and was also rated R. Apparently this was the movie that Zack Snyder wanted to make, but couldn’t for theatrical release. So, with great anticipation I sat down and watched the Ultimate Edition and thankfully all of my fears were put to rest.
This cut has so much more backstory and context to what happens in the movie. We see more of Henry Cavill as Clark Kent doing investigative journalism, tracking down leads on not only what Batman was doing, but also putting the pieces together about what really happened at the Capitol. We see Lois’ reporting chops on display with a greatly expanded scene in the desert where Superman is framed for the murder of a warlord and his thugs. Here is where Jena Malone’s mystery character comes in – to help her find out more about what happened in the desert. Henry Cavill fans will appreciate an extended bathtub scene where he yanks his shirt off, showing his defined abs and an extended kitchen scene where he watches television shirtless and ripped. With more background details, we understand just how nefarious Lex Luthor is and just how deep his fingers reach in creating the situation that ultimately brings the Bat of Gotham to battle with the Son of Krypton. Everything makes so much more sense in this version. There is also extra violence that earns the Ultimate Edition its R rating, but it’s worth it.
Now, on to the special features! Here’s a brief synopsis of each.
Uniting the World’s Finest
Backgrounds of the heroes and why the actors were perfect for their roles. Putting them all together and expanding the DC universe was exciting. Lots of interviews with Zack Snyder, Deb Snyder, Charles Roven, David Ayer and the individual actors, including Henry Cavill, Ben Affleck, Ezra Miller, Jason Momoa, Ray Fisher and Gal Gadot.
Gods and Men: A Meeting of Giants
Exploring the Batman/Superman relationship through the years in the comics and also in the movie. Compares and contrasts each one’s approach.
The Warrior, The Myth, The Wonder
History of the creation of Wonder Woman in the comics, how she evolved over the years, eventually landing on television with the Linda Carter series and then finally in her first ever movie. Takes a deep dive into what her character represented and has meant over the years.
Accelerating Design: The New Batmobile
A fascinating look at the process of designing the Batmobile, from a sketch on a napkin to the silver screen. Shares the team behind the design, creation and testing of the Batmobile, including taking it out on test tracks and making improvements to the design. They also interview Zack Snyder where he talks about the car being another character in the film.
Superman: Complexity & Truth
Looking at the clothing and costume of Clark Kent and Superman. Plaid shirts for Kent hint back to his Kansas farm boy days. Henry Cavill talks about the complexity of the Superman story because he is God-like.
Batman: Austerity & Rage
The costume designer went for an austere look in Bruce Wayne’s civilian clothes. Talk about how he is more comfortable in the suit where he can express his anger and rage. Discuss his fighting style as very technical, but also a brutish brawler and hulk of a man. The Batsuit has scars (bullet holes, cuts, scrapes) to make it look like it’s been used for a long time.
Wonder Woman: Grace & Power
Mark Twight and Gal Gadot talk about how she underwent weight training and martial arts training to learn to use a sword and shield. The costume is designed to mimic Greek gladiators because she is supposed to look like a warrior. Wonder Woman’s suit also has battle scars because it has been around for a very long time.
Batcave: Legacy of the Lair
A look at designing and creating the Batcave with the theme being a combination of technology and nature. The Batcave is under the house and is built around the water and stone walls of the caves. Everything is designed to fit within the space underground.
The Might and the Power of a Punch
A bunch of cool statistics about Batman and Superman fighting, including Batman’s traps, the power of his punch, Superman’s power, etc.
The Empire of Luthor
Looking at Lex Luthor over the years as depicted in the comics, first as a scientist and then later as a business tycoon. Snyder’s take on the character and why Jesse Eisenberg was perfect for the role. Snyder wanted a modern take on the character, so he made him a Silicon Valley Steve Jobs type person. Incredibly smart, manipulative, and hungry for power over others because he doesn’t have any actual powers.
Save the Bats
A short PSA on “Save the Bats”, a group that helps build houses for bats to sleep in so that they are safe and don’t get white-nose disease, which kills millions of bats a year. The cast and crew participate in building Batman V Superman themed houses for the bats and Ben Affleck makes a plea at the end.
I really enjoyed the extra features and found them to be very informative and let me take a deeper dive into the movie and the history of these storied superheroes. I wanted to see a gag reel and either a director’s commentary or a commentary with Ben, Henry and Gal or at least just Ben and Henry, but I’m not sure movies even come with a commentary track anymore.
I absolutely loved Batman v Superman: Ultimate Edition. Containing both the Theatrical Release, Ultimate Edition and packed with extra features, this combo pack is a wealth of information about the movie as well as giving us the director’s cut of the movie that should have been in theaters, but wasn’t. Snyder seems to be vindicated after the fact by giving us in our homes what he couldn’t give us in the theaters- the Batman v Superman movie we deserved.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★ ★
Tai Freligh is a Los Angeles based writer and can be followed on Twitter.
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