I liked Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. I really, really liked the Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Ultimate Cut, which was director Zach Snyder’s original cut of the film. In order to decrease the three hour run time to a more reasonable two-and-a-half hours for theatrical release, studio executives cut out parts of scenes and sometimes whole subplots. We’ve all heard the divisive reviews given to the theatrical cut, and the extended version avoids almost all the pitfalls.
The first act of the theatrical version felt rushed and somewhat awkward, but when the scenes were restored to their full glory it ran smoothly and cleanly. The theatrical cut had many moving parts, and the clues to Lex Luthor’s overall plan were fuzzy and implied. The extended cut added scenes and pieces here and there which helped spell things out in a way audiences could handle a lot better. The added explanation behind the opening desert sequence made it so much better.
One big critique of the theatrical version was the portrayal of Lex Luthor. The studio executives cut a lot of Jesse Eisenberg’s screen time, which made his arc seem strange and random. One deleted scene in particular, titled Communion, shows Lex conversing with a large demonic looking hologram inside of the Kryptonian genesis chamber. After he is interrupted by Metropolis SWAT units, the hologram disappears, but it is clear that something has changed. The whole “the bell has been rung” sequence in the prison makes total sense now that we know that Luthor’s strings are being pulled by a super villain in another galaxy. This character, although he doesn’t quite look like Darkseid, who has been teased as the villain for the Justice League movies, is definitely either a new version of him or a servant to Lord of Apokolips.
There was a lot of talk in the lead up to Batman v Superman’s release about who was going to be playing whom, and the buzz was especially loud concerning Jena Malone. The Hunger Games actress was thought to be playing Barbara Gordon, aka Batgirl. With Snyder’s Batman having lost a Robin, it was thought that Batgirl might have replaced him. Malone’s role was cut out of the theatrical cut, but in the extended it turned out that she was just playing a lab technician who helps out Lois Lane. Probably a good call, as she doesn’t look a whole lot like J. K. Simmons, who’s been cast as Commissioner James Gordon.
I also want to talk about my favourite sequence from the film, the Batman v Thugs battle. I’m a big fan of the Arkham series of videogames, and Batman in general, so seeing him in full brutal action was amazing. Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy had some truly amazing moments, but honestly the best choreography in those movies is probably the training sequence with Liam Neeson. Zach Snyder has a reputation for having really intense choreography (just check out 300), and Batman v Superman delivers.