Rejoice! For those of us who are stubborn and prefer the languishing art of physical media over the new age of digital download, the home media version of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Ultimate Edition has hit store shelves. Be sure to check Joshua Howell’s review of the Ultimate Edition of the film itself. This review will provide a brief overview of the movie as well as the special features that were included in the home media release. As to the technical aspects, I can’t say. If it helps, the movie looked gorgeous on my 8-year-old 32 inch Vizio HD TV.
Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice Ultimate Edition
Among my circle of friends, I was one of the only people who genuinely enjoyed Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. There were so many wonderful moments in there that actually gave me chills – mostly because I was filled with so much unbridled joy that WB was finally making a movie featuring the big three, the Trinity of DC. Of course, it was not without its problems. The movie was overburdened by universe-making as well as an overzealousness to include so many iconic comic book storylines. It made the movie difficult to watch at some points. I eagerly awaited the Ultimate Edition to see if it could in fact right the wrongs of the theatrical version.
To be frank, like many, including Joshua, said before me, it didn’t fix it. There are still several plotholes and the movie is still bloated beyond repair. Is it a better movie? Yes. The plot is much much more developed, giving a far better understanding to its overall convoluted storyline. Spread throughout the first two-thirds of the movie, there’s a lot of quiet, intimate character moments that help to enhance what we already saw. Themes in the story are executed way better, making the movie feel more complete.
For instance, we get a much better idea of just how absolutely maniacal Lex Luthor was. Here’s a brief spoiler: He was involved in everything. He orchestrated nearly every single major event that developed the plotline, ending in that infamous moment where you see him bowing down to Steppenwolf. However, if you already did not enjoy Luthenberg’s portrayal of the character, this version will not change your mind.
As well, what I enjoyed a lot was that in those aforementioned intimate character moments, you get a greater understanding of Batman and Superman’s impact on their respective worlds. Superman is more relevant to the world at large, so much so that government intervention seemed necessary, whereas Batman’s impact was obviously on a much smaller scale, affecting the more urban parts of Gotham. And in those parts of Gotham, not everyone views him as a hero, just as not everyone views Superman as a hero. There’s also a great scene in which an older gentleman hinted at how Bats has changed recently, his methods becoming more extreme in recent years.
Those intimate characters also helped to develop another insignificant loose end: Superman’s beef with Batman. The theatrical version really focused on Batman’s anger consuming him, but didn’t develop too much on why Superman feels he needs to stop the Bat. There’s a greater sense of what Supes believes is his duty to stop the Bat-vigilante.
Did it leave a greater impact on me? It did, but not by much. I enjoyed that there was more effort put into developing the plot than I initially believed. Everything just seemed to make more sense in general, allowing me to appreciate those greater moments that I enjoyed so much in the theatres. It’s a better movie, but as many people said, it’s not going to change your mind.
There are a lot of special features. The total runtime of all of them almost equaled the length of the theatrical cut of the movie. They are entertaining, but overall can be summed up pretty easily. About a third of the extra features focused more on introducing the characters to a non-comic book reading audience or simply celebrating the fact that any of these live-action movies were happening at all. These did not focus specifically on BvS, but rather the characters themselves and their upcoming live-action debuts.
Of the batch, I was more interested in Uniting the World’s Finest, which focused on their creating the DC cinematic universe and introducing each member of the Justice League, juxtaposed with behind the scenes footage of Aquaman, Flash, and Cyborg’s cameos in the movie. They vaguely explain the type of character we can look forward to when they get proper introductions as well as the actors’ takes on their characters. This one got me most hype for the DC Extended Universe.
The rest of the features focused more so on the actual movie with a ton of behind the scenes stuff meant for cinephiles to indulge. For those of us interested in cars, the Accelerating Design: The New Batmobile feature will likely be a delight as it provided an overview of the construction of the new Batfleck Batmobile from concept to creation. My personal favorites were the two features that focused on Bats, Batman: Austerity and Rage and Batcave: Legacy of The Lair. Not necessarily because they were about Batman, but because of all the behind the scenes bliss. Batman: Austerity and Rage focuses on their version of Batman from the way his character is written, to the creation of his costumes, to all his wonderful toys. There’s also a moment in this feature that addresses the infamous Martha scene with which so many took umbrage. They didn’t address the controversy, but explained why they felt that scene made sense. It’s good reasoning, but still doesn’t work. (For all of you Superman and Wonder Woman fans, there are similar features focusing on them) Batcave: Legacy of the Lair was, as expected, about the creation of the Batcave. I was so invested in this featurette because I just love all the thought put into every minute detail of the Batcave that we didn’t notice when we viewed the movie. It was captivating for a movie buff like me.
The last one I’d like to mention was this neat little feature called The Might and The Power of A Punch. It ran like a TV science special. It broke down key moments in the Bats v Supes fight, explaining in detail of the impact of the moment, helping to understand how each character felt. They helped me imagine how much it’ll hurt to be punched by Bats or pushed by Supes. It was pretty fun and interesting.
Here’s the skinny: The Ultimate Edition does in fact improve upon the theatrical version. It helps to develop plotlines and tie up some loose ends, making for a more complete movie. It is a better movie, but does not fix all the problems the movie has. The movie is still overrun with plot holes and burdened with kickstarting a movie universe. The million dollar question that’s been asked and answered by the hundreds of reviews on the digital version: Will it change your mind about the movie? Reiterating the opinion of the majority, likely not.
Of the special features, a lot of it is very fascinating, giving cinephiles and movie buffs exactly what they like out of their extras, but then a good portion of it is a little repetitive. A third of the features were focused on simply celebrating the characters’ rich history in comic books, which I kind of already knew and understood. The most unfortunate part is that these features had the longest runtimes compared to the features that were focused on the movie.
Is it worth owning? That’s a tough call, because there are so many out there who don’t collect physical media or who simply didn’t like the movie. As a collector and fan of the movie, I knew I wanted to own it for various reasons. The most important of which is that I want WB/DC to continue making these movies, so I showed my support by dropping money for both the theatrical and the home media release. However, for those who simply didn’t like the movie, the Ultimate Edition will not change your mind and although I really enjoyed the extras, I can’t imagine anybody who disliked the movie truly enjoying any behind the scenes features on a movie they didn’t enjoy.
My conclusion here is written with the attempt at including some semblance of objectivity. I could easily gush and tell you to buy it, but I’d rather understand from the perspective of someone who didn’t like it. I’d rather give the best possible advice considering all options, lest you folks come at me with pitchforks and torches. With as much objectivity I can muster, I don’t believe this release is worth owning especially if you already didn’t like the theatrical version. But that’s just one man’s opinion.
Personally, I enjoyed this release, therefore I’ve giving this Blu-ray: