Comics on Film: The Five Best Changes in the 'Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice - Ultimate Edition'

Comics on Film: The Five Best Changes in the 'Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice - Ultimate Edition'

Jul 15, 2016

 

This coming Tuesday, the so-called "Ultimate Edition" of March's Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice will be released on Blu-ray. We've talked a lot in this column about Zack Snyder's latest effort within the DC Comics Universe, and though the film can still be politely referred to as "polarizing," the Ultimate cut does give a new dimension to explore.

While the new, 3-hour edition of the film isn't likely to fundamentally change someone's perspective on the work as a whole, it does make some notable additions and alterations that should move the needle up a bit. If you already dislike the movie, you probably still will, but the additions range from frivolous to valuable.

So, here are 5 of some of the most notable additions made to the Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Ultimate Edition.

1) The plot to frame Superman makes a lot more sense.

While the theatrical cut moved a little too quickly beyond the opening scene showing Lois Lane interviewing a warlord in the Middle East, this scene gets to breathe a bit more and actually illustrate where the perception of Superman's potential culpability in peoples' deaths can actually come from. In addition to a much better effects shot showing the Man of Steel take out a drone on his way to Lois, we also see a bit more of what the private military contractors were up to immediately before Superman's arrival – including making it look like he may have fried some people alive.

Still, while this scene makes more sense due to its slight expansion, it also loses a point or two by explicitly naming the guy with Lois who was killed as Jimmy Olsen. Come on Zack, what did Jimmy ever to do you?

2) Lex's manipulation of the public and his blatant criminality are much clearer.

In the climax of the film's theatrical cut, Lex Luthor laid bare his plans to Superman before pitting him against Batman. Luthor's dialogue made allusions to a stream of events that didn't feel particularly complete, and left more than a few moviegoers scratching their heads regarding exactly what he was up to. In addition to tying him more closely to the private military men, the Ultimate cut also further fleshes out the fact that Luthor was actually paying people off to claim that Superman was involved in unneeded civilian casualties.

There's an entire segment in the Ultimate cut that further alludes to one such witness being bribed by Luthor to provide false testimony against Superman in Senator Finch's congressional hearings, which helps to further illustrate exactly how Luthor was manipulating the hearings in his effort to turn public opinion against the Man of Steel.

3) Clark Kent puts the "investigate" back into the job title of "investigative reporter."

While the theatrical cut alluded to Clark digging a little deeper in regards to Batman's activities in Gotham, it only scratched the surface concerning his efforts to find substantiated information about what Batman was doing, how he's apparently changed, and how he seems to be stepping over a line that Superman is uncomfortable with. Thankfully, in the Ultimate cut, there is a surprising amount of time actually devoted to Clark's efforts to find out more about Batman, his reputation, and his methods.

This is something that a lot of Superman fans haven't really seen in live-action since the days of Dean Cain's tenure as Superman on television in the 1990's, or George Reeves' turn wearing the iconic cape on TV in the 1950's. By showing us the investigative side to Clark, it becomes easier to see why he's employed at a respected institution like the Daily Planet, and hopefully this is something we'll see more of in future DCEU efforts involving Superman's alter-ego.

4) Batman's problem with Superman is more understandable, and vice versa, making for a more coherent conflict.

You likely didn't find many people that thought Batman didn't get enough screen-time in the theatrical cut of Dawn of Justice, but the Ultimate cut benefits his arc, too. By expanding a little more in several places – including Bruce's perspective on the Superman vs. Zod fight, a few more dialogue exchanges in the climax, as well as the new information gleaned about Lex's efforts to discredit Superman – Batman's "beef" with the Man of Steel is a bit more understandable in this version of the film.

On the other side of the conflict, Clark's greater level of investigation into Batman early on, along with the more humanistic look at his life overall (the added scene of calling his Mom? Awesome) all culminates in a confrontation that feels like it has more of a reason to exist, even before Lex extorts Superman into bringing him "the head of the Bat." Does it completely save some of its narrative shortcomings? No, but it is better, and has more of a reason for being than what we saw before.

5) Superman saves people after the Capitol explosion, and is completely exonerated with new information.

Viewers of the theatrical cut might be forgiven for thinking that Superman was a pretty big jerk after the explosion in the middle of Washington, D.C. The bomb explodes, he lingers for a second, and just flies off? For a lot of Superman fans, this was one of the more blatant examples of the film's "misuse" of the original superhero.

While the Ultimate cut doesn't make any wholesale changes to the way the film uses Superman overall, it definitely deserves credit for using him well. Specifically, after the explosion at the Capital, instead of wallowing in the ruins of the building and then just flying off, you see him actually save someone from the disaster, working with emergency responders before taking in the loss of life.

On top of that, a piece of information later quashes any theories of possible negligence on his part: the bomb that exploded had a layer of lead on top of it, which prevented Superman's x-ray vision from seeing it upon his entrance to the chamber. From my perspective, both of these additions account for the two biggest elements that should've remained in the theatrical edition, and likely could've helped in some fans' perceptions of Superman's place in the film.

If you decide to watch the new cut of the film, I'd recommend not going into it thinking that it's an entirely different movie. Is it better than what we got in March? Yes, but if you find yourself with deep misgivings about the entire affair going into the new cut, don't expect 30 additional minutes to change your mind entirely about 2-and-a-half hours you've already seen. If you find yourself already enjoying the film's theatrical cut, then this will likely have more of what you already loved in the first place.

In any event, the Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Ultimate Edition is available via Digital HD now, and arrives on Blu-ray in standard, 3D, and 4K formats this coming Tuesday, July 19th.


Chris Clow is a gamer, a comic book expert and former retailer, as well as a freelance contributor to The Huffington Post and Batman-On-Film.com, as well as host of the Comics on Consoles podcast. You can find his weekly piece Comics on Film right here at Movies.com. Check out his blog, and follow along on Twitter @ChrisClow.

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