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TAS Reviews: Batman v. Superman Ultimate Cut (Spoiler Safe)

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What's up, readers and true believers? It's been ages since I've reviewed a superhero film and believed there was no better place to start then the Ultimate Cut for Batman v. Superman. If you haven't seen it already, there are spoilers in this review, but they are spoiler marked.

This isn't a conventionally formatted review. This is instead bullet pointed, separated into likes and dislikes. Before I begin, I'd like to state my rating for the Theatrical Cut for the film is a 7 out of 10. My review will speak for itself.

What Worked

  • Firstly, I like that the story respects Superman. The Superman symbol is the most recognised symbol on earth, second only the Christian Cross. He is generally regarded as the world's first hero. This movie respects him by positioning him as the world's first metahuman in the eyes of the public. The rest of the metahumans are all in hiding, Batman has become jaded, Wonder Woman has become Agent Diana Prince. This film beautifully sets up the Justice League tapestry by painting Superman is a paragon. Hence his death.
  • Character development. Something often not present in superhero films. Not only did Ben Affleck nail his role, but the character was beautifully written. The beautiful lie is the idealistic belief that he can be a crime fighter. Instead, he becomes a criminal. That is until Superman shows him the way (which is why I'm baffled at the complaint of "Superman not inspiring people."
  • My favourite dream sequence in the film is the man bat dream sequence. It symbolises the memory of Martha he sought to honour being corrupted by his passionate hate for Superman. Hence the red and blue angel he sees. That is why the mention of "Martha" had such a profound affect on him.
  • Superman is a fleshed out character. Regardless of how much he contributes to society, regardless of bearing the weight of the sole metahuman in the eyes of the public on his shoulders, he still is psychologically harmed in the film. He begins to doubt himself. An example of subtle character progression is when he says, "it [the S] meant something on my world" then in the final moments on the film he says "you're my world", sacrificing himself.
  • Snyder is a talented visual storytelling and that's something we shouldn't take for granted. Not only does his visual panache excuse yet another Death of the Wayne's by encompassing wealth, poverty and tragedy in a single shot, but my favourite moment in the film, visually, is probably the saving people montage. Visually, he depicts Superman's seperation from humanity. Ei. Day of The Dead, w/ them reaching out for Superman, or when he's saving the people from the flood.
  • A favourite moment of mine in the film is when Clark stops pursuing Bruce and watches the news broadcast of the burning building in Jaurez. People stand and watch the Television yet Superman flies off to save the day. Powerful moment.
  • Courtesy of the Ultimate Cut, you understand why Superman harbors so much distrain towards Batman in the first encounter between the two. Especially after he visits the police station and sees the bat symbol as a signal of brutality.
  • Not only was Superman running low on time, but the UC further fleshes out why Superman surrenders on his attempts to reason with Batman. I've already said enough. For fear of not spoiling, I'll just leave it at that.
  • Fight scenes are beautifully realised. Nothing tops the Airport Fight, but the Warehouse action scene is still a tight and satisfying set piece. The Fight is unexpectedly tragic, and watching the Trinity assemble against Doomsday in the third act has an intensity that matches Fury Road.
  • This film has a consistent tone and atmosphere. Junkie XL and Hans Zimmer nailed it. Visually, this film is just beautiful as not just eye candy, but as visual storytelling. Like I mentioned, the Montage. And witnessing the Battle of Metropolis from the eyes of bystanders was a way of playing around with the format.
  • In regards to "inconsistent power levels" - for example, Superman unable to see through the smoke that Bats employs in The Fight, during the training montage you see Bruce place three grenades with the chemical element of lead, "Pb" scratched on the side.
  • It felt refreshing and fitting to witness a villain in a superhero film that strategised to significant extents. This is something we don't often see in a superhero film. To realise how Lex's plan all comes together, what he knew and when, is personally rewarding. The Ultimate Cut helps, as Lex comes off as a bit more calculative.
  • I really liked that they, to some extent, explored different perspectives on Batman, in the UC. If you've seen the cut, you'll likely understand where I'm coming from. If you've yet to, you'll see for yourself.
  • Chris Terrio nailed the dialogue. Gigantic improvement from Goyer's generic and mechanised dialogue in Man of Steel. This movie is often quotable. I've always thought The Dark Knight's dialogue had pay-off, but still a contrived screenplay. There is no need to halt your film for an entire minute for Alfred to deliver his speech.
  • I enjoyed Amy Adam's Lois Lane a LOT. The Ultimate Cut provided her much more room to breath and display all her detective work and flesh out the Africa subplot to greater extents. KG Beast was also a complete bad ass and did quite a bit more in the Ultimate Cut.
  • The film flows at a significantly more natural and efficiently edited pace then the TC. If your foremost gripe w/ the Theatrical Cut is the editing, you will noticeably prefer this version. The Africa Scene, Batman's Intro, the first scene between Clark and Lois, and Superman seeing his dad all flow in and out noticeably better.
  • There is, as shown in the trailer, a shower scene. You see Ben Affleck's ass. Glorious.

What Didn't Work

  • I'm not opposed to Lex Luthor pitting Superman and Batman against each other, but it would've been a more involving and interesting plot point of Batman and Superman fought out of sheer ideology as opposed to him fighting for his mother's life. Still, establishing Superman's attitude towards Batman in the earlier parts of the film equates to a more weight-y fight.
  • That Dream Sequence is entertaining, albiet out of place. I don't mind it's existence all that much, as I found it to prevent the film from lagging from an action standpoint. It's really the Inception style dream inside a dream that nagged me.

Verdict

Batman v. Superman: Ultimate Edition, or Cut, is fantastic. I'm not claiming it made a mediocre film fantastic, I loved the film since day one, and this film was an improvement. Don't expect an overhaul, I don't believe any Extended Cut of a film can be as significant as that. But the changes, subtle as they are, improve the film. Separating this film from the rest of the genre is that, after 4 1/2 times watching this film, I find more to appreciate on every viewing - visual storytelling, allegory, character, score, creative intent. Regardless of how entertaining a superhero film could be, and regardless of how many occasions I watch the same film for that reason, my experience remains the same. Batman v. Superman solves that problem.

Score: 9/10

Thank you for reading. Share your opinions below. If you're not fond of the movie, if you're fond of the film, remain civil in the comments section. That's, like, what this site is for.

- TAS

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