Got the Extended Edition today and saw it, and I figure that I might as well do a review for it, to see if it really did improve upon the much maligned original (as many have claimed).
Firstly, if you're one of the (many) people who groaned at the "Martha" bit, or couldn't stand Eisenberg's Luthor, then you are likely not the sort of person who will like the Extended Edition any better. Me personally though, I'm in the minority of not hating the Martha bit or Eisenberg's Luthor, and ultimately my biggest gripes with the film were lack of humor, poor editing/continuity where the progression of the story was concerned, and Superman and Lois Lane feeling like they didn't have enough to say. So how does the Extended Cut improve upon these flaws?
Concerning Superman and Lois, while neither one feels like they got too many more interesting things to say, they did at least feel like they were given more to do. I especially love the scene where Lois sees that Luthor's pawn had a fully stocked fridge and realizes from that that he didn't know he was going to die. Seeing Lois play detective is nice, as it makes the character feel more competent, gives her greater agency, and also feels true to the hard-nosed reporter that we love from the comics. So, she doesn't have a lot more interesting stuff to say, but at least she feels like she contributes more. Similarly, it's nice to get to see Clark Kent do some more legwork of his own, and while Superman still feels like he lacks much of a voice, Clark Kent has one of his own. So in all, not a perfect or total improvement, but definitely noteworthy and good. After all, someone had to connect the dots where Luthor's scheme was concerned, not just for the heroes but also for the audience, and it makes sense that Lois the reporter would be the one to do it.
Concerning the lack of humor, that remains a problem, though I must say that Laurence Fishburne's Perry White is funny, and as much as everyone hates Eisenberg's "in-name only" portrayal of Luthor, I personally give him credit for bringing some amount of levity to the proceedings. I enjoy manic, over-the-top villains when done right, and so my opinion on Eisenberg's Luthor is this: as a version of Luthor, he's not good. But on his own merits, he's an acceptable villain that (again) is good for a chuckle or two.
While I'm on the subject of Luthor, I'm going to mention the plot, which is one of the most criticized things about the movie. Again, the "Martha" scene and Lois stupidly disposing a Kryptonite Spear are still there, but the good news is, thanks to additional footage, the plot flows much better and the story feels overall much smoother, more fluid, and with all of the many plotholes regarding Luthor's convoluted scheme being neatly plugged up. It is clear that the scenes that were cut needed to be kept, especially the one of Anatoli burning bodies to make it look like Superman fried them. This is such an essential moment to the greater plot of Luthor framing Superman, that I am baffled as to why it was removed from the theatrical cut. The revelation that the woman who testifies against Superman lied after being blackmailed by Luthor's goons, is yet another major plot point that should never have been cut. So, no, some of the most groan-inducing plot points are not removed, but on the flip-side, the overall story still feels better, and Luthor's convoluted scheme no longer has us scratching our heads wondering just how in the heck he was able to pull it off. This in turn makes him seem like a more capable and convincing villain.
The one downside to the Extended Cut is that it definitely feels it's length. At a little less than three hours and with many, many, story threads running throughout and also surprisingly little action all things considered, this is not a movie for the impatient or the inattentive. But, I'd rather the movie feel long than too short, as when the climax came I did not have the reaction I did when I saw the theatrical cut, which was along the lines of: "We're there already?"
Also, what was good about the theatrical cut is retained (and yes, there were good things about it despite the overzealous basher's claims to the contrary). Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Jeremy Irons, Laurence Fishburne, and Kevin Costner are all just as good in their roles as they were in the theatrical cut, the action scenes are still top notch, and Superman's death and funeral scenes have the emotional impact they're going for. I wasn't weeping granted, but looking at those scenes I fail to see how the movie's haters would have done them any differently. In fact, the Extended Cut improves on the latter by noting that Clark Kent's funeral was funded anonymously by Bruce Wayne. Nice touch.
Having gone through all of the above, it should be clear that I do indeed consider the Extended Cut to be better than the theatrical, and what's more, this is definitely the version we should have gotten in theaters. Had we gotten it, it's doubtful that Tomatometer score would have been significantly higher, but at the same time it likely still would have been better than the less than 30% that it currently has. Not to mention that Zack Snyder's reputation wouldn't have taken an unjustified hit. It's perhaps not the wholesale improvement that some of us would have wanted, but to be fair the movie has inspired hatred sufficiently intense that it's doubtful any amount of editing would have satisfied. But for me personally, the Extended Cut is an unambiguous improvement over the original, and that's worth something at least.
Final Grade: B