Nathan is a film critic and aspiring author with a true passion for the film industry who hopes his writings will help launch his career.
Before I begin, let me just say that it is definitely worth it to see the extended version of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. The theatrical cut of the film was sloppy and heavily cut, obviously focusing more on the darker aspects rather than giving us the full story. The theatrical version doesn't give us all the facts and also leaves questions unanswered. The extended cut, however, is what Zack Snyder originally wanted to release. His complete film is leagues better than what was initially given to the public, and it really should have been left untainted to begin with.
Theatrical v Extended: The Beginning
The story opens with a brief glimpse of Bruce Wayne's parents' murder and Bruce's fall into the bat cave. The imagery and music in this scene are emotionally riveting. Seeing the flashback unfold, knowing there's nothing you can do to stop it, makes one feel as vulnerable as little Bruce. Even though Thomas and Martha Wayne are only seen here and in a brief flashback later on in the film, it's still hard to not care about what's unfolding before your eyes.
Fast forward 35 or so years and we are in Metropolis during the colossal battle between Superman and Zod as seen at the end of Man of Steel. This time, though, it's seen through Bruce Wayne's eyes as he rushes through the wreckage and falling pieces of building to save his employees. By the time he reaches them, though, it's beyond too late. This is the moment Bruce Wayne decides Superman has to be taken down.
Now, we get into the real nitty gritty. Throughout the first half, Lex Luthor comes off as rather maniacal compared to his father. the Lex Luthor we know. Yes, that's right. Jesse Eisenberg's Lex is actually Alexander Luthor Jr, son of businessman and mastermind Lex Luthor. That's not exactly stated clearly. You have to really listen to catch it when Lex states his father was the "Lex in front of the Corp". Now, a lot of people had an issue with this version of Lex, and I think that's why the film received mostly bad reviews. Eisenberg's portrayal made Lex look crazy instead of brilliant. This is a fact that is stomped in the extended version. In the extended version, we learn that Lex is behind everything and has been manipulating Batman and Superman against each other from the start.
Theatrical v Extended: The Battles
The fight scenes are spectacular and well-choreographed, enthralling its viewers from start to finish. Now, many people had a problem with the car chase because Batman willfully killed several of the people he was chasing down. There is a deeper meaning to this, which I will explain later in this article. Right now, I just want to say this - yes, he did willingly kill. But remember what he told Alfred, "Twenty years in Gotham, Alfred; we've seen what promises are worth. How many good guys are left? How many stayed that way?" This indicates that Batman has become discouraged and feels that there's no longer hope for Gotham or even humanity for that matter. He's seen good guys killed and he's seen god guys seduced to evil. He's gotten to the point that he feels once a person goes dark, they never return.
Doomsday was another factor that was heavily attacked. People said that he looked more like the cave troll from The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring or that he was pitiful looking compared to his comic roots. If you notice during the fight, though, that any place where he is injured, spikes grow out of him. So, perhaps Snyder was showing us "Baby Doomsday" so to speak. Maybe he needed to battle a few times before he finally became the Doomsday all comic-savvy people recognize. Remember, Doomsday is extremely difficult to beat. His body remembers how he was "killed" and regenerates so he can't be killed that way again. We may yet so more of Doomsday in the future.
The most impressive part of the film is Wonder Woman's introduction. Throughout, she is teased as Bruce exchange words every now and then. But when Bruce discovers her secret, that's when the gloves come off. She wants to run, but she knows she can't while Doomsday was loose. So, she dons the uniform once more and saves Batman's life then engages in all out war. One of the notable things that was in the extended edition was that one particular time Doomsday threw Wonder Woman across the port; she smashed into building rubble and screeched to a halt only to smile and take it as a challenge. I loved that about her. She wasn't afraid or screaming that all was lost. She was shrugging off the blows like they were nothing and attacking once more.
Batman v Superman
I found the fight between Batman and Superman to be excellent, considering all the skepticism about how it would or could be done properly. Batman fashioned a suit specifically to fight the Man of Steel. There were plenty of gadgets tucked away inside for if they were needed, and they certainly were. Batman purposefully led Superman to an abandoned part of town so that there would be no casualties. This was a fight that they had to keep between themselves. Superman pleaded to Batman, asking for his help. See, Lex had kidnapped Martha Kent and threatened to kill her unless Superman lost his "god" status and killed Batman. Lex wanted to prove that "if God is all good, he cannot be all-powerful and if He is all-powerful then He cannot be all good". Superman didn't want to kill Batman but there was no use in his pleas. Batman had already made up his mind about him. He tried ultrasound generators and machine gun turrets but that was merely child's play for the Man of Steel. Superman shoved Batman, and by shoved I mean Batman went flying 200 feet backwards. Superman grabbed him, flying threw a building and threw him onto the roof of said building. batman had one more chance. He threw a smoke bomb and slid to the side while Superman was distracted. Batman loaded a capsule of gaseous Kryptonite into a grenade launcher and shot it. Superman caught it, but little did he know, it was time-release. Batman now had the advantage. Little did he know, gas Kryptonite will wear off after a while. The battle ensued, and it was glorious.
There is a bit of a controversy about how the battle was stopped. Superman pleaded for Batman to save Martha, his mom. Batman froze, having flashbacks of his own mom (also named Martha) being shot dead in the street. What I believe director Zack Snyder wanted us to see is that Batman finally understood that people can be good. Superman never intended to kill Batman, but wanted his help. Batman realized that even the most powerful being in the world had a mother that he loved and who loved him. So, I don't have a single problem with that scene. It was a powerful message that sadly went unnoticed by many.
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Easter Egg: Robin
There were many references that probably went unnoticed by the majority of viewers because they don't have knowledge of the comics or the DC Animations. The first I will bring up is the Robin suit with the message on it: "HAHAHA Joke's on you, Batman". This is a reference to one of Batman's major failures in his career. This particular failure is what finally broke him. The suit belonged to Jason Todd, Batman's second pupil who went on to don the Robin uniform. Joker kidnapped Robin, beat him, and left him for dead, only to blow up the warehouse where Robin was being kept. Batman was just mere seconds too late. So he keeps the uniform in a glass case as a reminder of his failure.
Easter Egg: Darkseid
Now, we come to the most confusing and insane part of the film: the Knightmare sequence. In this scene, we find Batman, exiting the Batcave into a future dystopian Metropolis. As he uses is binoculars (Batnoculars?) to look around, we see an Omega symbol on the ground. That is a reference to the villain Darkseid, If you aren't aware, Darkseid is the King of his home planet Apokolips. For Bruce to be having this vision, it's safe to assume that we can expect Darkseid to rain terror upon the Earth in a future film.
Easter Egg: Parademons
Did you wonder what those flying things were in the Knightmare sequence? Well, wonder no more! Those are Parademons. Basically, they make up Darkseid's army. Apparently, the vision is suggesting that Darkseid will come to Earth along with his army and they will be unstoppable. Unless....
Remember what Batman was doing in the vision? He was making a deal to obtain Kryptonite, but the dealers betrayed him, the Parademons captured him, and Superman arrived. This refers to the storyline in which Darkseid screws with Superman's mind and turns him evil. This just makes Bruce even more paranoid and feels that he definitely has to stop him now before it's too late.
Easter Egg: Future Flash
At the end of the vision, Flash comes from the future to warn Bruce about something. People had no idea what he was talking about, as it just sounded like a bunch of confusing nonsense. But Snyder doesn't put anything in his films without there being a reason. So, what did Flash mean by what he said?
"Bruce! Listen to me now! It's Lois! Lois Lane! She's the key! Am I too soon? I'm too soon! You were right about him! You've always been right about him! Fear him! Find us, Bruce! You have to find us!"
First, why is Lois the key and the key to what? My assumption is that Future Flash has come from the time when Darkseid has taken over the planet and has poisoned Superman's mind. "Lois is the key" could refer to the fact that she's the only one who could even come close to Superman in order to take him down with Kryptonite long enough for him to be captured and rehabilitated.
Second, who was Bruce right about? I postulate that Bruce knew that since Superman existed that others existed just like him and they would come to Earth one day to cause trouble. Maybe he even felt that Superman would turn evil. Either way, Flash wants Bruce to be cautious rather than 100% trust him.
Lastly, who is us? Well, that's the easy one. the 'Us' that Flash is referring to is the Justice League. The League is comprised of Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, The Flash, Cyborg, and Green Lantern. Now, Green Lantern won't come into play for several years as far as I know. Maybe he'll be introduced in Justice League Part 2. Who knows? We'll just have to wait and see.
© 2016 Nathan Jasper
Ashleigh on July 27, 2016:
Excellent and thorough review! :D Great stuff!