Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice Ultimate Edition (2016)

Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice Ultimate Edition (2016)

Overall, Dawn of Justice Ultimate Edition entertains regular moviegoers and comic books fans alike. It improves upon the original theatrical version, but falters when plot threads are unresolved by the third act and when the film showcases its noticeable CGI and choppy editing.

 

Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice Ultimate Edition takes us to the climactic battle of Man of Steel where Superman (Henry Cavill) clashes with General Zod in Metropolis. The fight between the god-like beings leads them flying at supersonic speeds and crashing through buildings. As a result, buildings topple over and debris fall throughout the city, placing the Metropolis’ citizens in fear and peril.

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This time around (in Dawn of Justice), events unfold from Bruce Wayne/Batman’s perspective as he arrives in the city to evacuate his employees from the Bruce Wayne Financial Building. Wayne races to his building, simultaneously dodging exploding buildings and debris. He arrives and sees that half of the building is gone and that the area is immersed with smoke. Some survivors come out of smoke unharmed, while others were either killed or injured—including Wallace Keefe (Scoot McNairy). Because he witnessed the destruction of not only his own business but also of Metropolis, Wayne sees Superman as a dangerous threat who has the power to cause more destruction, if willing.

Not only does Bruce Wayne see Superman as a threat and a liability, but also people around the world—including Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg)—see the hero as someone who causes more destruction rather than preserve the peace. This worldwide controversy leads to Senator June Finch being appointed to facilitate hearings, so witnesses and bureaucratic leaders can express their opinions on whether Superman should continue his heroics or stop his efforts all together.

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Coming across news headlines that depict Batman as judge-jury-executioner, Superman as Clark Kent investigates Batman’s cruel vigilante justice. He discovers that Batman gives criminals his own Bat-brand, which leads to the same criminals either being hurt or killed in prison. Concerned by this, Superman concludes that Batman needs to be stopped. On the other side, Batman sees Superman as an adversary who needs to be taken out before Superman inadvertently causes another massacre. But, does the Caped Crusader have what it takes to fight against the god-like Superman?

Directed by Zack Snyder, Dawn of Justice: Ultimate Edition is the version Snyder wanted to release in theaters, but didn’t. The Ultimate Edition runs at 181 minutes long, whereas the theatrical version runs at 151 minutes long. With thirty more minutes included, The Ultimate Edition successfully ties up dangling threads that were unresolved in the theatrical version. This version also includes more scenes featuring Superman as Clark Kent. For those who complained that Superman wasn’t given enough screen time in the theatrical cut can now enjoy seeing the hero don his alter ego to investigate the conspiracy surrounding himself. Scenes of Clark Kent interviewing people and gathering facts allow viewers to see a humanistic side to the god-like being and, with Henry Cavill in the role, he makes the hero feel relatable.

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Even though Dawn of Justice: Ultimate Edition is the better version, it still features the same mix of good and bad action sequences shown in the theatrical cut. While the Batman vs Superman fight and the Batman warehouse fight display good action choreography, the main fight in the third act reveals noticeable green-screen CGI and choppy editing. Don’t get me wrong, the climactic fight still entertains viewers with its action, but compared to earlier action sequences, this fight has less visual spectacle. Consequently, Dawn of Justice: Ultimate Edition leaves viewers wanting more and concerned that these CGI and editing mistakes will appear in future installments.

As mentioned, Dawn of Justice: Ultimate Edition features exceptionally-crafted sequences. Fans of Snyder’s earlier work (300, Watchmen) can relish in the car chases, Batman’s fight scenes, and an emotionally-powerful opening scene—which was shot mostly in slow motion. Additionally, fans can enjoy Snyder’s take on Batman. Snyder supplies the Caped Crusader with unique gadgets, a different, but magnificent suit, and an agile Batmobile. Putting Ben Affleck’s Batman underneath a microscope, viewers can see that Snyder replicates the comic book Batman from The Dark Knight Returns graphic novel and modifies him to fit into this world. Hence, Snyder’s Batman is the best part about Dawn of Justice, even though some viewers may not agree with Snyder’s choice to change his moral code.

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Initially receiving a backlash from fans at the news of his casting, Ben Affleck silences his doubters by delivering a great performance as Bruce Wayne/Batman. To prepare for his role, Affleck gained 30 pounds of muscle. With his added muscle gain, Affleck looks terrific in his Batsuit. Not only does he look the part, but he also brings acting chops to the table. As Bruce Wayne, Affleck shows true pain behind his eyes whenever he is alone in the cave or with Alfred. As Batman, Affleck peels off his boyish charms to reveal a scary, imposing Batman viewers have never seen onscreen before.

Gal Gadot, as Diana Prince/Wonder Woman, has little screen time, but she makes her impact, especially in the third act. Jesse Eisenberg, who plays Lex Luthor, doesn’t have much to work with here. Luthor comes off as an ADHD person with nervous ticks. Even though Luthor carries out a well-thought out plan, his motivations are left unclear, resulting in Luthor being the weakest part of Dawn of Justice.

Script-wise, writers David S. Goyer and Chris Terrio as well as director Zack Snyder are tasked with the unwieldy job to continue Superman’s storyline; introduce Batman, Luthor, and Wonder Woman; and give brief appearances of the other Justice League members. As a result, the writers successfully introduce Batman and Wonder Woman into the DCEU, but fail in molding a memorable Lex Luthor and also in meshing the brief cameos of JL members (Flash, Cyborg, Aquaman) into the main storyline. Therefore, these cameos interrupt the flow of the film and come off as extraneous.

Overall, Dawn of Justice Ultimate Edition entertains regular moviegoers and comic books fans alike. It improves upon the original theatrical version, but falters when plot threads are unresolved by the third act and when the film showcases its noticeable CGI and choppy editing.

 

Rating: 3 out of 5

Images from:

  1. First Batman and Superman image: https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Cj9ZChTUYAImnkX.jpg
  2. Second Batman and Superman image: moviepilot.com
  3. Third Batman and Superman image: https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Cj9ZChTUYAImnkX.jpg
  4. Fourth Batman and Superman image: http://www.kontrolmag.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/batman-v-superman-6.jpg
  5. Fifth Batman and Superman image: http://im.ziffdavisinternational.com/ign_pk/screenshot/default/new-batman-v-superman-figures-may-contain-spoilers-wtcr640_6e6s.jpg
  6. Sixth Batman and Superman image: http://www.themarysue.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/batman-v-superman-dawn-of-justice-ben-affleck.jpg
  7. Seventh Batman and Superman image: http://s3.amazonaws.com/images.hitfix.com/assets/10244/batcave.jpg
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