Unlike our beloved NerdLush head honcho, I have not really discussed with you all my thoughts on Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. So let me start off my saying that BvS is not the worst movie ever made (maybe the worst comic book movie of 2016, but that’s only SO FAR…), BUT there’s way too many pacing and story issues that don’t make it good. It’s like shoving 15 pounds of stuff into a 5 pound bag and realizing some important material fell out during the bag filling. So when I heard of a longer version coming to Blu-ray, I was guardedly excited.
For some reason I can’t explain, Zack Snyder’s more divisive films have actually benefited for me in being more watchable (certainly in the Director’s Cut for Watchmen and even for the far crappier than BvS movie Sucker Punch). BUT did a longer version of a movie that was already a slog for me on the first watch benefit it being a better film? And that answer is both YES and NO. Up front, if you had problems with the grim tone of this, not much is done to lighten it up for you. On the other hand, if you found parts of the plot and story had massive gaps, those get filled in. Maybe better I just go through the pluses and minuses of this thing:
Hey, Superman’s Not Just Mopey! As much as I love Ben Affleck’s Batman and the still brief Wonder Woman scenes, Superman felt too much like a stranger in a movie he was a title character in. The little bit of extra footage of him as Clark Kent actually does help him seem a bit more rounded (he does some investigating on Batman), but if you didn’t really like the Superman presented here, I can’t say this will sway you completely into liking him.
Lex Luthor’s Plan? Okay, this is really a big problem in the movie in both versions, although the Ultimate Edition (UE) does fill in the blanks for most of it. The scene in Africa actually makes sense as to how Superman would be framed for all those murders, and we find out why he didn’t stop that bomb from going off in Congress. Of course, all these extra beats, as much as they make Lex’s plot to turn Superman and Batman against each other actually cohesive, also show how unbelievably overcomplicated it is. Hell, its a scheme so complex it can get screwed up by ANYONE, and in this case, by Lois Lane (another UE extension that gives her more to do than just be a damsel in distress). It’s one of those schemes that with two or three less moving parts would have been equally as effective (such as it is).
The Justice League Problem. For every improvement in plot and character, you have to keep in mind the UE still has the problem the theatrical version has: trying to shoehorn a setup for a Justice League movie in. That’s not fixed at all here, with those video clips coming at a time when the movie should get to its climax with the cave troll, I mean, Doomsday. Its not a hard fix pacing wise, if you just show those icons (which, really?) on the video files and dump the video files as a after credit teaser ala the Marvel movies or to the actual JL movie. And then there’s that deleted scene that came out some time back added here where Luthor is video chatting with the supposed baddie of the JL movie. It does explain Luthor’s behavior a bit throughout the movie, but its still a performance that could have been taken down a few notches to tolerable.
If you want blood, you got it? This movie was pretty dark and violent as it was as a PG-13 movie, but does the addition of CG blood here and there for an R rating make it better? Let me put it another way: would it have mattered either way? NO.
Nope, “Martha” is still a stupid turn. Nothing fixes that here, but I thought I would just say: yep, still a hilariously bad character turn.
NOW he’s Jimmy Olsen! Remember that, and I’m quoting Zack Snyder here, “fun Easter egg” where a photographer/CIA operative named “Jimmy Olsen” gets shot in the face? Well now he’s called Jimmy Olsen in the actual UE, so now you have a reason to be more irritated by this dumbass “Easter egg”. Also, the lady version of Olsen from Man of Steel is in this movie, so that only adds more confusion to this.
Journalism. Pretty sure Perry White has a Sports reporter on staff (you know, that guy from Man of Steel played by President Underwood’s creepy right hand man from House of Cards?), so why send Clark Kent to cover Sports? Pretty sure I don’t know what Kent covers at the Daily Planet even in this version of the film.
So can I recommend this version of BvS? To people who liked it, sure. If you didn’t like it before, you’ll probably won’t hate it as much, if that’s a positive in your mind. But the one thing is this is not a movie that needed to be near three hours anyway, and there’s plenty of blame to throw around on that error. As a movie that was meant to bring two iconic heroes together, its not a total disaster, and it has some actually good moments, but one that is too overstuffed with setting up too much for future movies to be as great as it could have been. But, based on the early footage from Martha League, or Justice League, it looks like the next try at starting a DC cinematic universe won’t be the grim, dour experience this was.
But hey, if you’ve seen the movie (either version), lets chat about it below…