Or how to make a terrible movie a little bit less rubbish.
I went in bright eyed and optimistic to the midnight showing of Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice upon it’s release earlier this year. My head filled with thoughts of “Oh it can’t be that bad” and “Critics love to blast superhero movies” were quickly diminished after the first 15-20 minutes of stylish titles, beautiful music and our introduction to Ben Affleck’s Bruce Wayne via his POV of the climatic destruction of metropolis in Man Of Steel gave way to some confusing nonsense in the desert with Superman.
Then, the movie just kind of carried on like that, throwing up seemingly unrelated disparate plot points that effectively fell flat creating no sense of connectivity between events. Even when the ‘big’ reveal of how these things are connected came about I just felt underwhelmed and a little bit confused. The film seemingly forgot to include, the hows, whos and whys beyond peripheral mentions imploding under the weight of it’s own over-yet-under stuffed narrative.
As you can imagine, with over an extra 30 minutes of footage I was keen to see if the film could be improved and in fairness in many ways the ultimate edition is a much better movie. That said, this is still a bad movie, but this edition really helps to drag it away from being a convoluted and poorly structured mess into something tangible, logical and with a clearer thread.
Much of the new scenes included contribute a lot to the depth of the story, and especially to the core motivations of it’s central characters Batman & Superman, whose conflict seemed much less warranted in the theatrical release. Furthermore, the motivations and setup of the overall ‘diabolical plot’ by Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor are so much clearer, you can finally see how he’s putting these pieces together and the logic behind them. Of course, we still don’t really get clarity on his true motivations, left with questions around daddy issues, power issues and just being a bit on the crazy side but you can’t have everything.
Whilst that all adds flavour to the film and makes the story much more palatable unfortunately many of it’s core flaws remain unaltered. There are only mild edits to the existing action scenes and no additional ones so if you were hoping for a more action packed movie, you aren’t getting it. In fact if you found the theatrical releases pacing on the slow side you will unequivocally hate the ultimate edition as it spends almost the first hour and a half really fleshing out that plot with very little of our heroes actually doing anything heroic.
Overall, this is a better movie than what cinema-goers were treated to. But, at over 3 hours long it’s a slog. The movie remains overburdened, oddly paced and underwhelming, whilst it’s aesthetically pleasing with some great (but limited) action sequences and an awesome Batman this ultimately still falls short of it’s high potential and we certainly hope going forward DC focuses on crafting more cohesive stories for these excellent characters that truly explore and take advantage of the grittier world in which they exist..
Have you seen both editions of Batman V Superman? Which did you prefer and why? Let us know what you think in the comments!
Ben Corbett-Mills | @benleopards