The Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice: Ultimate Edition does plenty things to correct the hacked up theatrical version though if you didn’t like the plot the first go-around, the UE won’t change your mind. For myself, as a fan of Batman in particular, found it entertaining mainly for Ben Affleck’s portrayal as the Dark Knight and a nice glimpse of what’s to come for Gadot’s Wonder Woman.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
— Ultimate Edition —
Genre(s): Action, Drama, Science Fiction
Warner Bros. | PG13/R – 151 min. / 183 min. – $44.95 | July 19, 2016
Date Published: 07/15/2016 | Author: The Movieman
THE MOVIE (THEATRICAL VERSION) — 3.5/5
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice didn’t exactly enter theaters with the best of fanfare and while I did enjoy elements of it, especially as a fan of Batman (more so than Superman to be honest), I did acknowledge the problems the film had from an overstuffed story that could’ve been simplified to the glaring pacing issues where it was obvious someone took a hatchet in the editing bay.
Now we get the Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice: Ultimate Edition (as its titled on screen) and although some of the plot problems still exist meaning some parts could’ve been cut beginning with the “Knightmare” sequence not to mention the out of place intros to the future Justice Leaguers, although as a DC fanboy, I did enjoy seeing them, but they seemed to be more suited as an Easter egg or, and I know they don’t want to copy Marvel, mid-credit scene. However, beyond those minor gripes, what was most apparent was the pacing was a whole lot smoother.
Note: This portion contains MAJOR PLOT SPOILERS.
BvS opens, after we get another recreation of the Wayne murders, during the events of the finale in Man of Steel as the Superman (HENRY CAVILL) and Zod (MICHAEL SHANNON who makes a cameo as a corpse) are battling it out in the Metropolis skyline causing mass havoc in their wake, including crashing into Wayne Industries building where it collapses and we get a very 9/11 imagery as Bruce Wayne (BEN AFFLECK), after weaving in and out of traffic, gets out and runs into the debris as others run the other way. After surveying the carnage, he and rescuing a little girl whose mother perished in the building, Bruce looks into the sky at the still dueling Supes and Zod with rage, a look that frankly you’ll need to get used to, well rage with a smidge of sadness…
Fast forward 18 months, Batman is kicking ass, Alfred (JEREMY IRONS) is more than concerned over Bruce’s obsession with taking down Superman, and is on the trail of someone called the White Portuguese and is going through thugs in order to get to him or her. Meanwhile, Superman is in hot water after an incident in Africa where, after saving Lois (AMY ADAMS), is framed for the slaughter of innocent villagers, to the point one Senator Finch (HOLLY HUNTER) holds hearings over it. She also has to contend with an eccentric Lex Luthor (JESSE EISENBERG) whose company has discovered a large Kryptonite rock which, upon testing, realizes its uses against Superman.
Batman, using his investigative skills, gets a beat on the Kryptonite and attempts to steal it for himself but instead is stopped, ironically enough I guess, by Superman as the two have their first face-to-face meeting where Supes warns for Batman to go away while Batman stands his ground, further amplifying the growing animosity. For his part, and this is where the Ultimate Edition really excels, is Clark Kent does his own investigative work, going to Gotham City and asking questions about the Batman and his cruel methods, including branding criminals with what amounts to a death sentence in prison.
The film also introduces us to Diana Prince (GAL GADOT). She’s after a photograph obtained by Lex and she and Bruce have a couple decent scenes together. As you might know, especially from every single trailer and TV spot has shown, we get to see her as Wonder Woman in all of her beautiful glory. It’s a bit shoe-horned in, though not as much as Spider-Man was in Captain America: Civil War, but she does give a great glimpse at the potential for her solo film (set for release June 2017).
There’s a bit more to the plot, namely Luthor’s ultimate endgame to force Batman and Superman to duke it out and when that fails, a plan B involving unleashing the monster Doomsday (also shown ad nauseam in trailers), whose DNA is a combination of General Zod and Luthor himself, created in the crashed Kryptonian spacecraft.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice still has its problems. As I said, the “Knightmare” sequence doesn’t add to the plot and without it Bruce’s motivations to stop (i.e. kill) Superman remains. Where I did enjoy the film, both versions, is mainly with the performances by Ben Affleck and Jeremy Irons with special consideration to Gal Gadot in her small role. Affleck does an amazing job as the Caped Crusader, filling out the incredible batsuit (perhaps my favorite since the 1989 version) and he gives one of the better nuanced performances both as Batman and Bruce Wayne. He appears to have an understanding and respect for the character that I cannot wait to see him, as well as Irons’ snark-filled Alfred, in a solo Batman movie.
And then there’s Jesse Eisenberg. He just might be the most divisive aspect of the film and while I wasn’t a complete fan of his interpretation, I also wasn’t opposed especially given the quirky versions we’ve gotten in the past. His take on the character, at his core, is in keeping with the character I felt and one big things I did like was at least this Luthor wasn’t obsessed with real estate and had some hair-brained scheme. As much as I enjoy Superman (1978) and Gene Hackman’s performance, his plans were dumb, even by 1970s standards and only continued on in Superman Returns which was even dumber somehow.
Unfortunately lost in the shuffle is Superman himself, Henry Cavill. I actually don’t mind his portrayal as the Man of Steel and I wonder under a different director he might excel a bit more, showing off that charm and all around charisma seen in Man from UNCLE. There are glimpses but he spends the majority of the film more gloomy than hopeful, not exactly the best look for Superman. On the plus side, and this goes for Amy Adams’ Lois Lane, we do get to see Clark Kent as an investigative reporter so I do appreciate seeing that side to the character.
In the end, Batman v Superman isn’t the best and certainly the Ultimate Edition doesn’t fix the problems it has, but for myself, albeit a DC fan, I found it to be a superior version which did raise questions why certain cuts were made. I for one will never watch the theatrical version (or the studio cut) again…
SPECIAL FEATURES – 3.75/5
This 3-disc set comes housed in a standard Blu-ray case and a lenticular front slip cover. These featurette have been split up and while I wish this was one long documentary, there is 126-minutes worth of material covering many aspects of the film.
Uniting the World’s Finest (15:05; HD) is a glimpse of the future of DC’s new cinematic super heroes. It contains interviews with Zack Snyder, Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Geoff Johns, Charles Roven (producer) and others, including Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins, as they discuss the developing cinematic universe.
Gods and Men: A Meeting of Giants (15:05; HD) looks at how the pasts for Batman and Superman have been leading up to the “epic” showdown.
The Warrior, The Myth, The Wonder (21:16; HD) looks at the origin, evolution and impact on pop culture by Wonder Woman.
Accelerating Design: The New Batmobile (22:46; HD) – Here we get a look at Batman’s newest ride as host Sal Masekela goes under the hood and then puts rubber to the road.
Superman: Complexity & Truth (7:08; HD) – This featurette looks at the transformation of Henry Cavill going from earnest journalist in tweed to a powerful godlike being; examines the costume designs between Clark and Superman.
Batman: Austerity & Rage (8:15; HD) where we look at the costume design work for both Bruce Wayne and Batman and his, well, wonderful toys.
Wonder Woman: Grace & Power (6:48; HD) examines the warrior princess’s costume, shield and sword designs as well as training regimen.
Batcave: Legacy of the Lair (7:12; HD) looks at the nature and technology and how they exist side by side in Batman’s modernistic subterranean digs.
The Might and the Power of a Punch (5:15; HD) is an illustrative look at the power, physics and details that make the battle between Batman and Superman so formidable.
The Empire of Luthor (12:33; HD) delves into the inception of an entirely new interpretation of Lex Luthor, including an examination of his storied history in the comics and what makes him tick.
Save the Bats (4:37; HD) is where we learn how the cast and crew gave back to the environment and brought awareness to a very real ecological problem.
Previews – Suicide Squad, Batman: The Killing Joke
3D VIDEO – 4.5/5, 2D VIDEO – 5.0/5
The 3D Blu-ray more or less compares favorably to what I remember from my theatrical experience. Although it is nice looking with decent depth perception, this was already a dark movie to begin with and having it in 3D doesn’t help. That said, there are some good looking scenes that benefit from the format such as on the helipad in the scene between Luthor and Superman while the final fight looks alright though, honestly, I preferred watching it in ye old 2 dimensions…
The 2D transfer doesn’t disappoint and unsurprisingly, detail is sharp throughout and although there’s not a whole lot of color, when there is, it has a certain pop such as Superman’s red and blue costume while darker scenes still display nice textures like Batman’s costume where you can see each stitch or, as with the cowl, surface. However, even other scenes, like at the gala when Bruce and Diana first speak, the scene has a gold hue which looks amazing.
AUDIO – 5.0/5
|The Dolby Atmos (or TrueHD 7.1 for older systems) track, included on the 3D and 2D versions, is in a word incredible. Dialogue levels are crisp and clean but where this track really comes to life is with the numerous action-centric scenes which makes usage of each and every channel while the LFE kicks in for that extra measure of depth. It’s a fantastic lossless track and yet another reference quality work for the latest release with the Atmos audio.
French, Spanish and Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks also available as is an Audio Descriptive track for the visually impaired.
OVERALL – 4.0/5
Overall, the Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice: Ultimate Edition does plenty things to correct the hacked up theatrical version though if you didn’t like the plot the first go-around, the UE won’t change your mind. For myself, as a fan of Batman in particular, found it entertaining mainly for Ben Affleck’s portrayal as the Dark Knight and a nice glimpse of what’s to come for Gadot’s Wonder Woman. Even Cavill’s Clark Kent gets some due. This 3D Blu-ray combo pack release offers excellent video/audio transfers while the bonus features are nice but hardly anything special as a commentary with Snyder and Affleck would’ve been nice.
Check out some more screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.