Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice: The Blu-ray Ultimate Version and the Theatrical 3D Version: A Review by Barry Pearl

James Cameron explained on the extended release of Aliens why good scenes are often cut out of movies. He had to cut out about 10 minutes of the movie. Aliens was contracted to be no longer than 120 so that the theatre owners could show it five times a day. Not the worst parts, but the parts that can be taken out without hurting the plot. The “restored” movie has better because it explained more about the motivations of its main character. Several movies are better because of the added scenes on their disc releases including Blade Runner, Dark City, Star Trek: The Motion Picture , and Apocalypse Now Redux. Many movies are just longer, and not better, with the “added scenes” It is just lure to get you to buy the disc again.

I had waited decades for a film featuring “my two favorite heroes in one adventure together” but Batman v. Superman was, for me, a failure. For Warner Brothers it was a “disappointment.” The movie did not lose money, but it did not make a fortune. It was a bleak, dark, humorless movie that often made no sense. This did not succeed as the gateway to bring many DC characters to the movie screens, something their competitor, Marvel has done so well.

This is not my Superman. My Superman, best represented on screen by Chris Reeve, was a colorful, compassionate, unselfish hero who cared greatly about human life. And he’d sacrifice anything for it. His stories took place in a friendly world, where a bad guy would always try to mess things up. He had great humor. He was fun, bright and not dark. Here, Henry Cavill continued his empty, sour portrayal of the Man of Steel. If you liked him in his first movie, you will probably like him here. I didn’t.

This is important because Superman is not real; he is a fantasy, and should exist in a fantasy world. Placing him in the “real” world is silly because he cannot solve real problems or even deal with them. My Batman, created in the 1940s, was dark, but also had compassion and a reverence for human life. Neither of these characters are anywhere to be seen in this depressing movie that has little humanity. It is also missing the stirring soundtrack of John Williams.

Lex Luthor is less of a mad scientist and more of a crazy, filthy rich, entrepreneur, as if great evil intellect today would be used to create a business empire rather to create an evil empire. Luthor sets up a (ridiculous) plan to have Batman and Superman battle each other (don’t worry: no one gets hurt!). Then the pair team to fight to fight Doomsday, another creation of Luthor. This is where Wonder Woman enters the fray. There is a needless cliffhanger ending because we all know what is to happen next!

The movie is also partly an origin movie for the “newer” Batman, with Ben Affleck as a slightly older, but still invulnerable, Caped Crusader. He is beaten by Superman and even thrown through walls with no lasting effects. He is certainly okay, but the script does not let him do much.

I love Amy Adams and they gave her meaningless dialogue and little to do. My Lois lane is a bit flighty, something Ms. Adams has done well, but there is nothing like that here.

The best part is Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman. She’ll need a bit more time to fully grasp the role.

Jesse Eisenberg is a terrible choice for Lex Luthor. He is so over the top he’s a joke and not threatening. He just does not fit into this movie at all. In fact, it is as if they wanted another Joker.

So would the new Ultimate three hour version fix all this? This added a half an hour to the already too long two-and-a-half-hour movie. It is only available on Blu-ray.

No, it really doesn’t. It is a better, seamless movie. More is explained and the cuts from scene to scene are not as jarring. They are still trying to stuff so much plot in here, yet the characters are still not developed well. This movie was given an “R” rating for the violence. The fight scenes are longer than before and ae more violent, but enough is enough, some seem to go on forever. In fact, I got bored. While giving greater clarity, the pacing is further destroyed. The plot of the movie is not contained within itself. It attempts to be more of a prologue setting up a DC Universe yet to come. This copies Marvel’s idea.

The Blu-Ray images are very good. The soundtrack is exceptional. My friend David Vaughn, who is the technical writer and Blu-ray reviewer for Sound and Vision Magazine, gave the 4k version a 9 out of 10 for the image and 10 out of 10 for the Dolby Atmos. I felt that the 3D theatrical disc is great visually and adds to the movie. The longer edition is only in 2D.


The bonus features on current discs offer less and less real information. Instead they are used to promote the movie you are watching and promote future ones. The cast members will tell you how much they love each other . And how every cast member was perfect in their role. Sadly, the is mostly the case here.

Uniting the World’s Finest
This tells us little. It is a promotion for what they hope the DC Universe will be…a copy of the Marvel Universe. The lead actors for the “upcoming?” Aquaman, Flash, Cyborg and Wonder Woman movies make their case. Scenes from the currently filming Wonder Woman are shown.

Gods and Men: A Meeting of Giants
Quickly glosses over the comic book history of the Superman and Batman team and promotes the current movie, with behind-the-scenes footage of the pair on stage together for the first time.

The Warrior, The Myth, The Wonder
The promotion of the Wonder Woman movie in the bonus section is huge and it is in many sections. In this 21-minute section, we are given misinformation of Wonder Woman’s original origin and her creator. Here, William Marston is portrayed as being a fighter for woman’s right’s and a happily married man. In real life Marston lived with TWO women in a very unusual setting. Wonder Woman, we are told, was created to fight for feminism and women’s rights. Not so, she was originally created to fight the Nazis. They do a good job showing many of her different incarnations. And let’s face it they are promoting Gal Gigot whenever they can, something I agree with!

Accelerating Design: The New Batmobile
A short segment about how the team the designed and built the new Batmobile, as if it was a cast member!

Superman: Complexity & Truth
Bypassing his origin, this shows mostly how the costume was made and reminds you what a great person Cavill is!

Batman: Austerity & Rage
Similar to the Superman bonus, we get more of Batman’s backstory and a lot about his costume.

Wonder Woman: Grace & Power
They do not stop promoting Wonder Woman., although she has a small part in this movie. But she will be the star of the next DC super-hero movie.

Batcave: Legacy of the Lair
How the Batcave was created in this movie. A lot of plastic!

The Might and the Power of a Punch
They show behind the scenes footage of how the fight between Batman and Superman took place.

The Empire of Luthor
Quickly getting past his comic book origins, this is a featurette on how they see Luthor and how the actor prepared for the role.

Save the Bats
A total waste of time. We are lectured on how important bats are to our environment and how hard the production is working to preserve them.