FILM: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice [Ultimate Edition]


Certificate: 15
Running Time: 180 mins
Director: Zack Snyder
Starring: Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Gal Gadot
Genre: Superhero, Action
Country: USA

 

Eighteen months after the events of Man of Steel, a jaded and more brutal Dark Knight (Affleck) declares war not just on crime in Gotham but on the Last Son of Krypton leading to the dust up of all dust ups with Lex Luthor waiting in the wings to clean up the spoils.

She didn't tell me she had two brothers...
 

When Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was released back in March I loved it.  Most of the people I know loved it.  We’re comic book people, and as such, loved that Zack Snyder was bathing in The Dark Knight Returns, drying down with The Death of Superman and heading out to Injustice: Gods Among Us… or maybe even Flashpoint.  We’ve waited a very long time for DC material to be taken this seriously and we weren't prepared to let critics or tribal fanboyism spoil the moment.  With the release of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice [Ultimate Edition] we’re not only treated to the longest film name a superhero movie has ever had but 30 extra minutes that really hammer home the genius behind Snyder’s vision.

 

I am not a Snyder fanboy.  I loved 300, came to love Watchmen, and enjoyed the Owl movie he made but I found Suckerpunch to have the depth of a porn parody.  However I defy anyone to watch the three-hour BvS and come away from it with anything other than their mind blown.  Yes, there’s a little more to explain the setup of the Knightmare Batman scene (but not much), there’s a little bit of Jena Malone fleshing out Lois’ investigation, but there’s a lot more Clark.  That’s one of the things missing from the theatrical cut.  Clark Kent (Cavill) is meant to be a reporter.  A reporter who Lois Lane not only respects but loves.  He needs to be as tenacious and ballsy as she is and in the theatrical cut we don’t see that.  All we see is him huffing that he can’t write his Batman piece.  We never see the why.  But now we do.  Now we see him knocking on doors, questioning residents in the poorer areas of Gotham.  He’s chasing down leads and giving Superman a real rationale to warn Batman off going to the “light in the sky” again.

We finally got white-eyes Batman!!
 

Similarly, Lex’s plan is fleshed out.  You see the moving parts in action.  You see how he has control over so much that’s going on, and though it’s still unbelievable that the man who gave that incoherent speech is the puppet master of all these lives; you see his genius.  Luthor is a schemer.  Someone that looks into the face of God and wonders “how do I make him bend to my will”.  Though the plan was present in the theatrical cut it was sketchy in parts.  The Ultimate Edition is like a beautifully rendered game of chess.  In fleshing out these two central characters it makes you more understanding of Bruce Wayne’s stance.  He’s a man pushed to the edge.  First he lost his parents.  Then he lost his partner.  Now he’s lost his employees and has to recommit to his “never again” vow for a third time.  It will make you cold to the world, and it will take the uttering of a familiar name to bring you round from that.  Could it have been handled with a little more subtly?  Sure, but that deep in the second act, en route to the rescue mission and the third act four-way with Doomsday you’d be forgiven for not wanting to overthink how a shared name of a matriarch is identified.

 

I loved that Snyder dropped us into a world where Batman already existed.  That he’s had history in Gotham prior to us being invited into this Universe.  I like how Luthor has gathered information on Metahumans as he looks to make God bend to his will.  Superhero movies have been handicapped by origin stories for as long as I can remember.  Yes they can help (and will in the case of a Wonder Woman movie) but Batman has had eight movies prior to BvS.  Superman has had six.  There’s no need to retrace any steps.  Where Marvel are painting and linear cause-and-effect timeline with their stories, DC seem to be loading their offerings up as interconnected moments across different points of a timeline.  It probably shouldn’t be surprising that Geoff Johns’ love of Flash will have influenced how the DC mosaic is coming together but it does.  As future instalments come together, and we see Flash’s encounter with Bruce Wayne but from Barry’s perspective, or Diana Prince’s photograph being taken we’ll see more of the web we’ve been caught in.

Don't touch the suit.  I have to take it to a specialist drycleaner if you touch the suit.
 

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice [Ultimate Edition] silences all those who have joked, and sneered its direction.  It’s not just a bold piece of film making but it’s unapologetically operatic in scale and tone.  Where Captain America: Civil War played it safe and underwhelmed in every respect except for box office, BvS goes all in on a pair of 2s and comes up trumps.  It’s big, bold, and fiercely loyal to the source material (so much so that DC Comics carries reading lists prior to watching the movies).  Can a casual fan enjoy the movie?  Of course; they’ll have questions but it’ll blow their boots off.  It might even encourage them to go away, read some of the material and come back for another more satisfying and in-depth viewing.  That’s where the real fun begins.



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