Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Batman v Superman Ultimate Edition is Not So Ultimate

I got my copy of the Batman v Superman Ultimate Edition in the mail yesterday so I finally got to watch the 30 bonus minutes of footage I couldn't see in theaters.  (And also it was upgraded from PG-13 to R rated for no real reason.)  Was there anything earth-shattering in those 30 minutes?  No.  Really there's nothing essential in those 30 minutes, which is why they got cut in the first place.

As I said on Facebook, the footage most seems to be in dribs and drabs.  A little bit here and a little bit there, not huge chunks of it.  Having only watched the regular version once, it was kind of hard to identify what was added most of the time.

Because people talked about what Jenna Malone's role would be I knew those parts were added.  She's just some forensics nerd whose big contribution is to say that the wheelchair bomb in the Senate is lined with lead, which is why Superman couldn't see it with X-Ray vision--though I don't think in Man of Steel they really established the lead blocking X-Ray vision thing.  But I remember Nigel Mitchell wondering after the premiere why Superman wouldn't use his X-Ray vision there and I wondered it too when I watched the movie, so wonder no more.

There's a brief glimpse of Steppenwolf, the supposed baddie of the Justice League movie--or at least the first part.  I mean you know Darkseid has to show up just like Thanos eventually has to show up in the Avengers.  It's the sort of Easter egg that really just seems to be for obsessive fans to obsess about for the next 3 years.  I mean otherwise raise your hand if you even heard of Steppenwolf except as a band and a book by Herman Hesse? 

I think a lot of it involves this African woman who testifies at the Senate hearings that Superman indirectly killed a bunch of people while rescuing Lois Lane in Africa.  Clark Kent tries to track her down and talks to some of her neighbors in Gotham who talk to him about the Batman instead.  Then later she goes to meet the female senator and tell her that she made it all up at Luthor's behest before she gets pushed in front of a train like Kate Mara in House of Cards.  Was it really necessary to know all that?  Not really, but I suppose it helps to deepen Luthor's scheming. 

Speaking of dying in Africa, I think "Jimmy Olsen" gets slightly more screen time before he's unceremoniously killed.  Still seems like a dick move to me.  I know some people don't like Jimmy Olsen any more than they like Robin (who is even more unceremoniously killed off-screen) but he used to have his own comics for crying out loud.  You can't say how much respect you have for the comics and the history and so forth and then do something like that.

As interesting as any bonus footage was just having the captions on while I was watching, especially in two parts.  At the beginning when Bruce Wayne is in Metropolis during the attack he keeps yelling some guy's name into his phone.  I think it was Comic Book Resources who suggested that he was saying "Dad" but his dad was of course dead, right?  Well with the captioning you see he's saying Jack! (Jack O'Dwyer in the credits.)  I haven't the slightest idea who Jack is in the comics universe, but I guess he was a big wheel in the Wayne company.  The other part where it's good to have the captioning on is at the end of the "Knightmare" sequence when the Flash shows up because it was kind of hard to understand what he was saying.  It's clear when you watch it with captioning that he's gone back in time because he says, "Am I too soon?  I'm too soon!"  And then later he says, "You were right.  Fear him!  Fear him!"  From the context it would seem he's talking about Superman, but I suppose he could mean someone else depending on what happens later.  Though if it's not Superman I don't know why Lois Lane would be the key to it all.

Watching the movie a second time there were a few Easter eggs I hadn't really noticed before.  One of the cops who goes into a building after Batman early in the movie is named Officer Rucka, as in Greg Rucka, who was a Batman comic book writer for a while.  In one of the bonus scenes with the African girl, she's on a bus that stops on "Kane Street" as in Bob Kane, the creator of Batman.  When he's sent to prison, Lex Luthor's number is something like AC301940, which you could decode as Action Comics 30, 1940, which was probably Luthor's first appearance. (There may have been more numbers in there.  I don't write it down or anything.)

Tony Laplume was talking about the movie's connection to Excalibur recently and I noticed something at the end of the fight with Doomsday.  After he stabs Doomsday and Doomsday stabs him, Superman pushes Doomsday's spear hand deeper into himself so he can get close enough to plunge the Kryptonite spear into Doomsday's chest.  This is pretty similar to what happens at the end of Excalibur when King Arthur is stabbed by Mordred and pushes the weapon deeper into himself so he can deliver the fatal blow with Excalibur.  Which reinforces the symbolism of Superman as Arthur that Tony Laplume mentioned.

Anyway, this didn't really change my opinion of the movie.  It's still deeply flawed.  Wonder Woman is still the most awesome of the "Big Three" maybe because she has a lot less screen time.  I still find Superman a lot more sympathetic than Batman.  Really as far as a subtitle they should have called it "Everybody Hates Superman" because that's pretty much what was going on.  I mean Luthor, Batman, Congress, and lots of random people are all getting pissed off at poor Superman for doing too much and not enough at the same time.  Dude just couldn't win with those a-holes.

I wouldn't say you have to buy it though the version I got from Amazon has both the theatrical and Ultimate Editions and the theatrical is on Blu-Ray, DVD, and digital download, so for $25 that's a pretty good value for a brand new movie.  Though the digital sucked because I logged in with my Facebook account and it redeemed it to something called Flixster; maybe if you use your Google account you can redeem it to Google Play, which would be more useful, though I'd prefer Amazon Video.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent review. I bought this on digital and enjoyed it. I agree with pretty much everything you've said here.

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