Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Batman v Superman Dawn of Justice Extended Version: Movie Review

Well, I liked it more.

Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice is now available for home viewing. The film directed by Zach Snyder and starring Henry Calvill, Ben Affleck, Amy Adams, Jessie Eisenberg, and Gal Gadot received an additional thirty minutes of footage from the theatrical cut. Does this extra thirty minutes fix all of the problems I saw in this film? No it doesn’t, but it does improve upon the movie. I think it would have been marginally better received by critics if this was the version released theatrically. Many would have still hated the film, but I think some who were on the fence would have spoken more positively about the film if they were able to see more of the story that got cut out. I would have probably went back to the theatre and saw Batman v Superman again if this was the cut in theaters.

Here in lies part of the issue with this movie. I knew from the before the film was even released that there was going to be an extended directors cut. When I went and saw the film the first time it felt incomplete with many of the stories underdeveloped. The movie didn’t flow well, and you could feel things were left out. I knew there was going to be another version released. Instead of going back and watching the movie again, which I did enjoy but didn’t love, I waited until this was released. This is a more complete version of the film. Batman v Superman still has story issues, but this extended version feels more like a finished product.

The major change from adding in more story is the development of Jessie Eisenber’s Lex Luthor as an evil genius. Almost every scene added to the film gives more weight to his character. If you didn’t like his portal as Lex Luthor the extended cut probably isn’t going to change your mind. What it did was expand on how he manipulated Batman and Superman to fight each other. It showed how he played each of them into a confrontation. This was all done in the scenes added to the film, and they are predominantly focused on Batman and Superman. We as the audience see how Luthor is the one pulling the strings. I liked Eisenberg’s portrayal, so this added greatly to my enjoyment of the movie. We got to see more of why Superman wanted to take down Batman, and how Batman was duped into fighting Superman.

Batman wanting to fight Superman is still a little weak for me though. Yes the destruction of Metropolis and his tower caused him to hate Superman. However I can understand the people who are upset that the world’s greatest detective didn’t figure out how Lex was playing him, especially after the explosion at the capitol. I know what Snyder was going for here, or at least I think I do. He wants us to think Bruce is so enraged that he isn’t thinking clearly. He sees the destruction of the capitol, and the notes his employee sent to him push him over the edge. I don’t know if I buy this, and if this was the case I don’t think the Martha event would be enough to snap him out of his blind rage. 

I’m not sure what would, but it should have been explored.  
Instead of Bruce figuring out Lex’s plot, that is left up to Lois. Lois Lane character’s story seemed all over the place in the theatrical cut of the movie. She was either having to be saved, or working to figure out the bullet fragment from Africa. The extended cut greatly expands her impact on the story. She figured out Luthor was the one behind everything in the theatrical cut, but it didn’t feel earned. It does in the extended edition. We see her track down more angles, and find more missing links to determine Luthor is behind everything.  

The problem is the film still has Lois having to be saved by Superman one too many times, none bigger than when she goes to retrieve the spear of kryptonite. There was no reason for her to get trapped and need to be saved again in this scenario. Let her dive to the bottom and get the spear, come back up and give it to Clark. They still would have had a strong moment with him telling her she is his world. Why not just have her be able to get the spear and run it to him? I don’t understand that decision in the framework of the film, especially since Superman has to stop fighting Doomsday to go and save her again. Yes it reinforces how much Clark loves Lois, but at this point in the film this added reminder isn’t necessary

Lois is what drives Superman in the movie, and I like that this aspect was explored more in the extended cut. Superman struggling with not being able to save the people in the Senate, and not knowing if he should be Superman feels more complete in the extended version. The scene on the top of the mountain with Jonathan Kent has more weight. Pa Kent tells Clark that Martha is his rock, and was always there to remind him of the good in people. Clark needs Lois for the exact same reason, she helps ground him in our world and reminds him people can be good.

The big problem which wasn’t improved upon was what finally causes Superman and Batman to stop fighting. Their mother’s name. Yes it would be a strong connection for Bruce, but I just don’t buy him not killing Superman at this point in the film just because he utters a name. Why does Clark even say her name right then? Why doesn’t he just say Luthor is going to kill my Mom? Something has to cause them to stop fighting, but this still isn’t believable to me from the story the film has told to this point. I was hoping the extended cut would give more justification to this story choice, but it didn’t

I liked the extended cut more than the theatrical, but I can see some saying the added material makes the movie drag too much in the first two hours. The pacing is affected with the added scenes, but I think the story elements they add outweigh the pacing issues. This makes the film a better one. I can see myself watching this film again as the extended version. It isn’t a perfect film, and those who have issues with how Snyder portrayed the characters aren’t going to be happy, but I more satisfied with this more than the original. If you watched Batman v Superman in the theaters definitely give the extended cut a chance on rental.

Let me know if you are going to rent the extended cut once it is available. Let me know if you bought it and what you thought. What was your favorite addition? 

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