Blu-ray Review: ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’ Ultimate Edition Dazzles!

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“BATMAN v SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE” ULTIMATE EDITION PROVES ONCE AND FOR ALL WE CAN’T ALL BE ZACK SNYDER”

The most talked about film of 2016, “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” hits store shelves July 19 (the film has been on digital platforms since June 28), and our resident Zack Snyder fanboy Jeremy L. Morrison is here to tell you about all the goodies packed on the disc. But first, the plot…

Fearing the actions of a god-like superhero left unchecked, Gotham City’s own formidable, forceful vigilante takes on Metropolis’s most revered, modern-day savior, while the world wrestles with what sort of hero it really needs. And with Batman and Superman at war with one another, a new threat quickly arises, putting mankind in greater danger than it has ever known.

Directed by Zack Snyder, “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” stars Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Gal Gadot, Jesse Eisenberg, Amy Adams, Jeremy Irons, Holly Hunter, Laurence Fishburne, Harry Lennix, Scoot McNairy, Callan Mulvey, Tao Okamoto, Lauren Cohen, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Carla Gugino, Joe Morton, Ray Fisher, Ezra Miller, Jason Momoa, Patrick Wilson, Kevin Costner and Diane Lane. The Extended Cut also features Jena Malone, forever our #WCW.

“Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” is finally coming out on home video this week and I’d be lying if I said this was an easy wait since the films March 25 theatrical release date. Upon the film’s release, the internet lost its collective mind, quickly becoming the most heated online debate since the advent of the interwebs: “Does BvS suck as bad as angry commenters and quippy journalist say?!”

It is no secret to anyone who follows my exploits on social media, or subscribes to Acid Pop Cult, Icon Vs. Icon’s weekly podcast, that I loved the theatrical cut of the movie. I’m putting that on front street. But if you felt the film had copious problems that ruined your childhood, fear not gentle reader. I, Zack Snyder apologist, I mean, Jeremy Morrison, am here to ease your pain and suffering.

The “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Ultimate Edition” features a 182-minute cut of the film that has a large portion of the film’s critics and fans apologizing to Mr. Snyder. The restored 30 minutes of footage, lost upon theatrical release to tighten the film, are being hailed as the most crucial 30 minutes to ever grace the big screen in the history of cinema. Though I don’t agree, I do agree the Ultimate Cut is the superior film because who doesn’t want more Batman and Superman in their life.

The Ultimate Cut features a plethora of added moments and scene extensions that will leave you asking yourself why couldn’t a three hour cut exist from the start. I understand it all comes down to dollars and cents, and perhaps the added 30 minutes would leave a lot of casual cinema-goers skeptical on making the trek to check out the film, but the Ultimate Cut has a fast pace to go along with a jaw-dropping spectacle. If you had a dirty taste in your mouth after leaving the cinema, grab some Scope and wash out your kisser.

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Everything the average hater felt was wrong with the film is properly spoon fed in this cut. Did you feel like Superman/Clark Kent and Lois Lane didn’t have enough going on? Fixed. Featured in the 30 minutes are a well fleshed-out plot showcasing Kent and Lane walking the beat, reporting on social injustices, and figuring out what Luthor is up to. Were you spellbound by Batman’s ability to punch crime in the face like a comic book or video game come to life? Me too! In the extended cut you get added moments of Batman taking out villains like a 20-year veteran. And to add a little something, Snyder and his post department went in and gave us added blood effects, which is pretty sweet. When I envision Batman firing his grappling gun into a shipping crate and launching it into some dummy thug, you’re damn right I want a bloody smear across the wall as said thug falls limp to the ground.

Another fix to the film is Lex Luthor’s already crystal clear plot to take down Superman and Batman by pitting them against each other in battle while he attempts to secure his place as the world’s leader in security. Found within these minutes you’ll see a few more ways he has set out to accomplish this, which is cool because it really beefs up Callan Mulvey’s screen time. In case it wasn’t clear from the theatrical cut, Mulvey plays Anatoli Knyazev, Luthor’s top enforcer and flamethrower aficionado. Knyazev has extended scenes here, most notably in the opening of the film as he and his dummy thugs stage the desert to look like Superman went all Heat Vision happy on innocent terrorists. You’ll also see some CGI bloodflowers. A bloodflower, for the uninitiated, is that crimson spray you see after someone gets hit with a bullet.

And then we come to Jena Malone. Nothing had me happier than seeing Ms. Malone grace the screen for a few short scenes and she was not only NOT Barbara Gordon, she wasn’t Carrie Kelley Robin either. I may sound like a dick here, but for over a year every gossip rag and mouthbreather has weighed in on Malone’s role because they want clicks and shares as they are the first to spoil plot points. You were all wrong and I loved it. Jena actually plays Jenet Klyburn and is more of a DC Comics Easter Egg you won’t get until you see her name in the credits. Jenet comes along at the right time to help Lois figure out what Lex has up his sleeve as she explains some exposition to the audience.

I don’t want to continue to drone on (too late!) about the differences between the two cuts. That has been done a bunch by every other geek site once the film hit digital platforms. Let’s get into the meat and potatoes here, folks. Why you should pick up the three disc set is pretty simple: Bonus content, baby! Here is what you can find on the Ultimate Edition, along with some thoughts to go along with them.

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THE BONUS FEATURE BREAKDOWN:

UNITING THE WORLD’S FINEST – Glimpse the future of DC’s bold new cinematic superheroes. — Hands down the coolest feature on the disc, Uniting the World’s Finest is packed with BTS footage from not only BvS, but new BTS and footage from “Suicide Squad” (Aug. 5) and “Wonder Woman” (2017).

GODS AND MEN: A MEETING OF GIANTS – Become a witness to history as you discover how everything in Batman and Superman’s pasts led up to this ultimate, epic showdown. — Here cast members, DC CCO Geoff Johns, Producers Charles Roven and Deborah Snyder, Director Zack Snyder, and a handful of others breakdown more than 75 years of Batman and Superman’s past and what led the creative team to finally bring these titans of comics to the big screen, including some wonderful BTS footage of the two filming their first scene together.

THE WARRIOR, THE MYTH, THE WONDER – Explore the origin, evolution and powerful impact on popular culture by the legendary Amazonian Wonder Woman. — Patty Jenkins (director, “Wonder Woman”) and others talk about Wonder Woman’s social impact over the course of 75 years as well as a fascinating look into the creators of the iconic character.

ACCELERATING DESIGN: THE NEW BATMOBILE – Batman’s newest ride is sleek, tough, loud and fast as hell. Host Sal Masekela goes under the hood of the celebrated vehicle, then puts rubber to the road. — I’m no gearhead, but who doesn’t want a Batmobile?! Sal Masekela joins Production Designer Patrick Tatopoulos, Specialty Vehicles/Batmobile Designer Dennis McCarthy, and their crew as they showcase what went into the creation of one of, if not the greatest, cinematic Batmobile to date. If that’s not cool enough, Stuntman Mike Justus coaches Sal as he takes the iconic vehicle out for a spin.

SUPERMAN: COMPLEXITY & TRUTH – Experience the transformation as Henry Cavill goes from earnest journalist in glasses and tweeds to a powerful godlike being in a streamlined caped costume. — Henry Cavill, Zack Snyder and others talk about the challenges of bringing Clark Kent/Superman to the big screen for the second time, as well as his look for BvS and how, through movie magic, the right stuntman can make you look like a god.

BATMAN: AUSTERITY & RAGE – From cape to cowl and from rugged body armor to carefully-tailored suits, Batman’s outer gear perfectly camouflages and expresses the fury that simmers within. — Zack and Deborah Snyder, Ben Affleck, and Costume Designer Michael Wilkinson break down Bruce Wayne/Batman’s look. Then Property Master Doug Harlocker shows us the new gadgets Batman has to play with and Stuntman Richard Cetrone breaks down his fighting styles. Oh, and abs, ladies. ABS!

WONDER WOMAN: GRACE & POWER – From her gladiator-influenced costume to her shield and sword, she is the mortal incarnation of a warrior goddess. — Gal Gadot, Deborah Snyder and DP Larry Fong bring us up to speed with what it felt like filming this iconic character. Then Cast Trainer Mark Twight and Second Unit Director/Stunt Coordinator Damon Caro talk about getting Gal into peak Amazonian shape and what goes into her fighting style. Also worth a look is how much detail went into her costume and weapons.

BATCAVE: LEGACY OF THE LAIR – Nature and technology exist side by side in Batman’s breathtaking and modernistic subterranean digs. — The ultimate hideout, I’ve always wanted one of my own. Here Patrick Tatopoulos takes us from the sculpture to set, then walks us through showing off gadgets galore.

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THE MIGHT AND THE POWER OF A PUNCH – A dynamic and illustrative look at the power, physics and fascinating details making the battle between Batman and Superman formidable. — An interesting look at the science behind the movie, breaking down just how plausible the third act fight is. Y’know, if they were real people.

THE EMPIRE OF LUTHOR – Dive deeper into the inception of an entirely new interpretation of Lex Luthor, including an examination of his storied history in the comics and what makes him tick. — Here, Jesse Eisenberg, Zack Snyder and others discuss what went into creating a new Lex Luthor for today’s audience. For once it isn’t about real estate. Be happy, trolls.

SAVE THE BATS – Learn how the cast and crew gave back to the environment and brought awareness to a very real ecological problem. — A wonderful organization. For more info go here: savebats.org

SUBTITLES – English (for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing), French, Spanish, Portuguese.

AUDIO – English, English Descriptive Audio, French, Spanish, Portuguese.
An impressive bonus selection for sure. Although, I was a little bummed we didn’t get a feature on Hans Zimmer and Junkie XL’s score. And I would have loved a Maximum Movie Mode, but it’s understandable Zack Snyder and Co. are a little busy filming “Justice League” at the moment.

THE VERDICT: When it’s all said and done, “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” Ultimate Edition is rich with content in a day and age where discs are shipped out bare bones, save for a few companies that pick up a cult flick, interview the cast or director and throw out a new edition of the same tired release packaged with a new poster to make you sink in those preorder dollars as soon as it’s announced.

At the end of the day if you loved the theatrical cut, you’ll adore the ultimate cut. If you hated the theatrical cut, you’ll probably think the new cut is a good flick. I, however, urge you to take the chance. If anything all the “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Ultimate Cut,” like the “Unrated Cut of Dawn of the Dead,” the “Extended Cut of Sucker Punch,” “The Director’s Cut of Watchmen” has proven: Zack Snyder is a helluva filmmaker, and … We Can’t All Be Zack Snyder.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Ultimate Edition hits Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack, Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack, Blu-ray Combo Pack or DVD on July 19 and is available on Digital HD now!

Jeremy Morrison – Staff Writer
Co-creator/host of the Acid Pop Cult Podcast, film reviewer, screenwriter, Jeremy has more than eight years experience in television and film production. His childhood fascination with the naked breasts featured in the “Friday the 13th” franchise prepared him for absolutely nothing in life. J-Mo lives by one motto: #wecantallbezacksnyder
Twitter: @almostgothim
IG: @almostgothim

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