As someone who wasn’t a fan of the theatrical cut of the film, I was really looking forward into diving head first into the Ultimate Edition of BvS. I gave the theatrical cut of this film a 6/10 based off it’s plot points, story telling and lack of character motivations.
I have to say, for the most part, the Ultimate Edition is a much improved film. One of the biggest problems that me like most people had after seeing the theatrical version was the mystery behind Superman’s motivation of stopping Batman. While it touched on Clark wanting to investigate everything happening in Gotham, it wasn’t until this Ultimate Edition that we actually saw investigation. We saw him look into the importance of the Batman branding mark and how people see Batman as a power above the law and he decides who is worthy. This really improved the scene where Superman finally fronts Batman and in that moment you can see what Superman stands for again Batman’s briefs about taking matters into their own hands.
The other major improvement was the Government’s motivations behind wanting to bring in Superman. Throughout the theatrical cut we heard so much about Superman killing people in Africa but we never got it. In this version we see the damage and destruction that is spoken about. While we know it wasn’t Superman who actually was responsible, we finally got to see the situations in which Superman was being held responsible for. Through all this we also got to see a more direct involvement of Lex in taking down Superman. While it wasn’t him physically framing him, through the extended versions of Lane’s investigation into the bullet and the wheel chair, it is made quite clear that Lex had an agenda from the start to bring down Superman.
However, the Ultimate Edition didn’t close to fix everything. I found the biggest problem the film has on a whole is Lex Luthor. I’m not talking about Eisenburg’s portrayal of him but the massive question marks surrounding him. I had a few questions around Lex after the theatrical cut which I still have after seeing the Ultimate Edition. They are:
- What are Lex’s motives behind wanting to bring down Superman?
- How did Lex know that Clark and Bruce were Superman and Batman respectively?
- Why does Lex have custom made logos for the Meta Human?
- What made Lex want to create Doomsday?
For me, Lex is the problem with this film. While I have a few other nit picky questions around the origins of Batman, I feel like we are going to get answers to these where we will never know what is the driving force behind Lex. They show that he believes that Superman is a False God but there was never explanation into why he believes this.
For the most part, this is an improved film. I thought it really gave motivation to Superman and the Government in their agendas through the film. However, only three of the four parties majorly involved in this plot had clear motives that made logical sense and for that it makes the final act a complete mess, which is something the Ultimate Edition could not fix. And of course the Martha scene is still present as we thought it would. It a strange way, it comes off worse in the Ultimate Edition because we finally got to see the motivation of the two heroes face up against each other but than you remember that the reason they are facing off against each other is because of Lex’s agenda which was never completely explained.
In the end, I thought this cut was much better in the flow and story telling however the ending just falls so much shorter. In the theatrical cut, by the time the final act came I was already a bit lost on how we got to that point. In the Ultimate Edition, we had a clear path and up until the final act I was pretty onboard with what was happen, at which point Lex takes a more prominent role in the plot and it gets thrown back into the mess the theatrical version was.