HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice - Ultimate Edition
HTS Overall Score:87
DC comics and Warner Brothers have been working overtime to catch up to the world building level that Marvel has been involved with for the better part of a decade. “Man of Steel” was the first entry into their new live action world, and it was met with rather tepid reactions from fans. It made a decent amount of money, but what saved the film was all of the hundreds of millions of dollars made from toy and marketing sales (they actually made back their budget even before the movie hit theaters because of that). However, due to the weak reaction that “Man of Steel” Warner seemed to rethink their plans to make “Man of Steel 2”, and instead banked on the intense popularity of Batman to draw in audiences and redubbed it “Batman vs. Superman”. An interesting ploy, and one that seemed to work as the film opened up with incredible numbers in theaters. Unfortunately after seeing the final product, audience word of mouth ended causing an unheard of drop off in theatrical visits despite the amazing opening numbers. After seeing the film in theaters I can certainly understand why. “Batman vs. Superman” is a bit bloated, unwieldly in its structure and felt like it was heavily edited. That last statement certainly appears to be true, as Director Zack Snyder promised us an uncut version with the home video release that was not only 30 minutes longer, but also rated R. This uncut version is certainly better than the theatrical release by a decent margin, but still doesn’t make the movie truly good.
After the events of “Man of Steel”, Metropolis (and the whole world really) has been opened up to another realm. Their world is turned upside down as Superman (Henry Cavill) is now the savior of the world, having stopped General Zod from destroying it. As with all gods, there is always dissention among certain groups. While some see him as the benevolent savior, a symbol of home. Others view him as a potential devil whose incredible power leaves behind ripples in the pond that affect the lowly humans in ways that he cannot predict. The U.S. government wants his power reigned in, as anything that can’t be controlled is a threat, and the populace is split down the middle. Two such people see this power and decide to take action.
On one hand we have Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck). He watched as the battle between Zod and Superman tore Metropolis apart and saw friends and employees die as a result. Embittered and threatened by Superman, Wayne allows his anger to control and his vigilante justice as Batman becomes brutal and vicious, turning him almost into the very monster that he strives to eliminate. Cautioned by his friend and confidant, Alfred (Jeremy Irons), Bruce begins a one man war against the very man who is protecting Metropolis, terrified that someone with that much power cannot be trusted to control it well, even if it means he loses his life in the process.
On the other hand we have Lex Luthor (a horribly miscast Jessie Eisenberg), brilliant philanthropist who has an unhealthy fixation with our local hero. Like Wayne, Luthor sees Superman as a threat to mankind. A super powered weapon that cannot be controlled and, like the government, what cannot be controlled must be destroyed. Manipulating both sides against the other the maniacal businessman crafts the perfect situation. Either the Dark Knight will destroy the alien “invader”, or else his own technology and willpower will.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=73921[/img]“Batman vs. Superman” in its theatrical form is a very weak movie. I was not wildly impressed with “Man of Steel”, but “BvS” (as I’ll refer to it from now on) is a bloated mess with poorly thought out plot points and a penchant for trying to setup the “Justice League” movie by shoehorning in side characters and references to other superheroes. I’d have to rate it a 2.5/5 if I’m being 100% honest. The extended cut actually fixes a lot of the problems, but also includes its own flaws as well. The story flows better with small individual edits that don’t feel as choppy, and even includes a few brand new scenes that really explain things better. At the same time the 2.5 hour movie that already felt a bit too long is extended to a full THREE hours in length, making you check your watch more than a few times during the experience.
The film has a bit of “the good, the bad, and the ugly” encompassing the three hours. The good is actually REALLY good, but the bad and the ugly can get really painful, really quickly. Lex Luthor is easily the worst part of the entire film, surpassing even Kevin Spacey’s performance in “Superman Returns” for worst version of the iconic villain to date. Gone is the extremely intelligent businessman, or even the overly patriotic man who just wants to protect his planet from what he perceives is an unforgivable threat to humanity. Instead we have a looney bin reject who feels more like the Joker than Lex Luthor. Eisenberg hams it up with gusto, cackling with maniacal laughter and stumbling over his own words as you visually see the synapses in his brain overloading in a sort of hybrid “The Joker” and “The Riddler” turned into one big mess. Even his reasons for wanting Superman dead seem contrived and illogical, despite the knowledge that he HAS to hate Superman due to being an arch nemesis from the comics. Then of course there’s the horrific and infamous “Martha!!!!!!” scene that REALLY should have been taken out of the extended cut. It hurt painfully bad when I saw it in the theater and sadly Snyder didn’t take it out of the extended cut, despite the huge fan backlash.
The bad comes in the form of too much effort spent on setting up the next movie. Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) was surprisingly effective AS Diana Prince, but her inclusion into the film just felt like a blatant ad for the next movie. She really didn’t DO anything until the final act and even then, there was no real need to include her into the story except to get some face time. Then there’s the very obvious setup for Darkseid to act as the main antagonist in “The Justice League” film. If you’re into comic book lore it’s very easy to see, but if you’re not then those hints are easier to miss. For example. The pre-cog dream that Bruce Wayne has (yes it’s a Pre-cog dream of the future not a nightmare) about Superman becoming an evil godlike being showcases the Omega symbol burned into the ground, as well as the Superman shock troopers being assisted by the flying daemons that Darkseid uses as foot soldiers. Then there’s The Flash showing up right after the dream in some sort of time travel gear warning him that Lois Lane is the key. Then to top it off we have Batman and Luthor’s prison conversation where Lex is babbling on about HE is coming. Not too subtle hinting there.
The good, on the other hand, is actually really good. The action scenes are fantastic and Zack Snyder’s sense of visual style makes for some amazing looking shots. That opening scene where Bruce’s parents are killed is one of the most unique and artistically done representations of the titular death sequence I have ever seen. It’s simply captivating and eye catching in a way that actually had me looking forward to the rest of the movie. Affleck was the standout in the movie though. I was extremely reticent when I heard that Ben Affleck was being cast as Bruce Wayne/Batman, but was willing to give him a chance. I’m really glad I did as he was easily THE best part of the entire film. His role of an established and slightly bitter Bruce Wayne was simply fabulous, and this is not Adam West’s version of Bats. He’s brutal, vicious and takes down bad guys even harder than Christian Bale did. The suit is more like the old 90’s version of the suit, and I was almost giddy with excitement as the inclusion of the Bat Armor and voice modulator (instead of sounding like he had throat cancer *cough*Nolan’s Batman*cough*). I’m super excited to see Affleck’s take on Batman in the solo film that he’s not only starring in, but directing as well.
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action throughout, and some sensuality / Rated R for intense sequences of violence and action throughout, and some sensuality
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=73929[/img]The 4K UltraHD ultimate cut for “Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice” is split into two discs, unlike the 3 disc set of the normal Blu-ray. The 4K disc houses the Extended 3 hour cut only, and the secondary Blu-ray has the theatrical cut (which is slightly disappointing as I would have liked to have seen them add the Extended cut disc Blu-ray in there as well to round it out, but that’s just nitpicking). So for this release the extended cut is getting the bulk of the focus. The 4K HEVC encoded Blu-ray looks simply phenomenal! Zack Snyder has given this a dark and grungy look, with Gotham getting a very dirty and dingy tone while Metropolis seems to be dark, but more shiny steel and stone to counteract the two superheroes and their homes. The film tends to show some digital noise or faux grain (I can’t tell if it was intentional or not) considering they were using a mix of IMAX and Arri Alexa cameras, and even though it tends to get a soft at times the clarity is razor sharp 99% of the movie. Batman’s grey and steel looking costume is magnificently detailed and even Clark’s oh so CGI’d costume looks impressive against the backdrop of Metropolis. Blacks are deep and silky, with tons of shadow detail to spare and compared to the Blu-ray shows a distinct lack of banding and a nice uptick to the detail level. Even considering there is over 30 minutes of extra footage on the disc.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=73937[/img]The Dolby Atmos track is the same track that is spread across all the discs (well, except for the DVD of course), and is a nicely remixed track that was given a goodly amount of special love for the home theater mix. The low end is powerful and growling, with tons of activity among the action speckled film. Surrounds and heights are filled with a cornucopia of activity that swells and falls with the action sequences. Just listen to the hum and roar of the batwing as Bruce uses it to save Martha Kent (which that whole fight scene just ends up being an auditory delight), and the dialog is never under any kind of fault that I could here. My only COMPLAINT is not really a complain. It's a statement of notice. The surrounds are FULL of activity and while that's cool it sounds like they're a little hot, which is something that Snyder did for "Man of Steel" as well. Dynamic range is wide and fairly intense, as the whispering of Bruce can shift to an explosion in the next second as the two behemoths of cinema battle it out on screen. LFE is nothing short of punishing, running hot like the surrounds, and that bass just does NOT let up until the credits roll.
• Uniting the World’s Finest
• Gods and Men: A Meeting of Giants
• The Warrior, The Myth, The Wonder
• Accelerating Design: The New Batmobile
• Superman: Complexity & Truth
• Batman: Austerity & Rage
• Wonder Woman: Grace & Power
• Batcave: Legacy of the Lair
• The Might and the Power of a Punch
• The Empire of Luthor
• Save the Bats
“BvS” was a sad step back after the already decent “Man of Steel”. There were things that I really liked and really enjoyed about the film, but overall it is a bit bloated and unwieldy. Even the final extended cut can’t seem to actually make a polished movie out of Snyder’s Michael Bay like penchant for explosions and destruction. Maybe “The Justice League” will be able to turn things around, but it’s not looking that good. Despite being one of the weakest superhero movies of the year, Warner managed to pull out a GREAT package for home video. The audio and video are nothing short of stunning, and the extras package is quite pleasing too. Not to mention that fans don’t have to double dip for the extended release like other popular titles tend to do. It’s all here in one big jumbo set and if you enjoyed the movie theatrically, you should be well pleased with the extended cut. Recommended for a decent watch.
Starring: Ben Affleck, Jeremy Irons, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams
Directed by: Zack Snyder
Written by: Chris Terrio, David S. Goyer
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 HEVC
Audio: English: Dolby Atmos (TrueHD 7.1 Core), French, Spanish DD 5.1
Studio: Warner Brothers
Rated: PG-13 / R
Runtime: 151 Minutes (Theatrical Blu-ray Only) / 182 Minutes (Extended 4K Disc)
Own Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Ultimate Edition on Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack, Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack, Blu-ray Combo Pack or DVD on July 19 or Own It Early on Digital HD on June 28!
Buy Batman Vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice - Ultimate Edition 4K UltraHD Blu-ray on Amazon
Buy Batman Vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice - Ultimate Edition 3D Blu-ray on Amazon
Buy Batman Vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice - Ultimate Edition Blu-ray on Amazon
Recommendation: Decent Watch
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