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The Differences of ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Ultimate Edition’

Warning: Spoilers


Mere days before Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice pummeled its way into theaters, director Zack Snyder revealed that there would be a longer (nearly 3 hours!) R-Rated cut of the film for its eventual home video release. This news was met with confusion before folks had a chance to see the theatrical cut, and met with downright disdain after. But perhaps there was still hope — perhaps this longer, darker cut might make sense of the film’s lackluster narrative?

Now Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice: Ultimate Edition is here — releasing on VOD today before a Blu-ray release July 19. Does the Ultimate Edition fix the problems of the theatrical release? We’ll be posting a more detailed Blu-ray review that addresses that question, but the short answer is: no. This is still the same movie, just longer. And while the increased runtime adds a few elements here and there, it does not drastically change the film as a whole. The biggest difference between the Ultimate Edition and the theatrical cut is that the extent to which Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) goes to turn Batman against Superman is more detailed: Kahina Ziri (Wunmi Mosaku) — the African woman who testifies before Senator Finch (Holly Hunter) about how Superman showed up in her village and possibly murdered everyone — is revealed to have been paid by Lex to give false testimony against Superman. Lois Lane (Amy Adams) has a slightly bigger part as she investigates and uncovers more and more of Lex’s nefarious doings, and while more of Amy Adams is never a bad thing, the material she’s working with is so dull and un-engaging that it does the film no favors. Lois’ investigation leads her to cross paths with a character played by Jena Malone, and Malone’s mysterious cut-from-the-theatrical-version character perhaps lead to the most rampant speculation among those tracking the film’s rumors. Most assumed that Malone was playing Barbara Gordon, aka Batgirl aka Oracle, but in actuality her character is scientist Jenet Klyburn. She pops up for two scenes, and while Malone looks great with a platinum blonde bob haircut, and appears to even be flirting with Lois in her brief scenes, why Snyder felt the need to cast an actress of Malone’s caliber in such a thankless, nothing part is just another one of this film’s many mysteries.

Because I’m such a masochist, and because I’m committed to bringing you HOT CONTENT™, I’ve provided a detailed list below of all the new scenes included in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice: Ultimate Edition. You could say I’m the hero you deserve. You’re welcome.

— The credits now include “ULTIMATE EDITION” under the title, and Jena Malone’s name listed under Scoot McNairy.

— During the big opening “Battle of Metropolis” scene, Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) rushes into a cloud of smoke and spots an entire group of kids on a field trip…for some reason. The kids are quickly hurried away by their teacher.

— In Africa, Lois Lane’s photographer who turned out to be a CIA spy has an introductory scene where he reveals he is, in fact, Jimmy Olsen (played by Michael Cassidy). When Lois greets him, Jimmy yells out, “Ms. Lane — Jimmy Olsen, photographer!” The entire set-up to the African sequence in general is longer, and we’re shown that there are more CIA agents nearby. When things start to go south they try to rush in to save the day (riding on horses!), but aren’t fast enough to beat a drone the U.S. government has sent in to just bomb the whole place (and Lois) into smithereens.

— Superman stops the drone (obviously) and saves Lois’ life. In the theatrical cut, Lex Luthor’s henchman Anatoli Knyazev (Callan Mulvey) and his goons open fire and shoot several villagers to death. This still happens here — and since this is the R-Rated cut there’s more CGI blood exploding out of those bullet wounds. But after the shooting, Anatoli has several bodies rounded up and burned with a blowtorch. When the CIA agents on horses finally show up, they find a pile of charred bodies — this gruesome spectacle plants the seed that Superman is the one who killed all these people, and it certainly makes a lot more sense than the theatrical version. After all, a pile of burned bodies could indicate Superman used his heat-vision to torch the joint, whereas in the film released to theaters the only method of execution we see is via those mysterious prototype bullets — and guns aren’t exactly Superman’s style.

— Before the big introduction to Batman in Gotham, we’re treated to a scene of the two cops who eventually cross his path first watching a football game between Gotham and Metropolis’ teams on a TV in their car. Makes for some great cinema! (No it doesn’t)

— After returning home from Africa, Lois Lane checks her mail and unpacks her suitcase. Again, really “compelling” stuff!

— After Perry White (Laurence Fishburne) sends Clark Kent (Henry Cavill) to Gotham to write about the big football game (that already happened in a previous scene?), Clark instead begins to investigate Kahina Ziri (Wunmi Mosaku), the woman who spoke out against him both to Congress and on TV. She’s apparently staying with some relatives in The Narrows in Gotham, but he can’t locate her. Instead he chats with some locals about Batman, and one gentleman from the neighborhood scratches off a lotto-ticket in the shape of the Bat symbol…for some reason. This scene seems to imply that even though Batman has been operating in Gotham for years, Clark/Superman has no idea he even exists until this moment.

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— Clark is bothered when he learns that Lois is secretly investigating one of those strange bullets she picked up in Africa.

— Bruce Wayne takes a shower at one point, and you get to see his bare ass! Pretty sure this is the first naked Batman in film history, so that’s something.

— Clark calls his mother Martha (Diane Lane) and the two talk about Kevin Costner’s character, the deceased Pa Kent.

— Lois, investigating the magic bullet, pays a visit to Jena Malone’s character, who seems pretty flirty, and makes one wish these two excellent actresses were in a better movie together instead of …whatever this is.

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— Scoot McNairy gets to drop an F-bomb when he returns home to find Luthor chilling in his apartment: “What the fuck do you want?!” he barks.

— The theatrical cut made a big deal about Batman branding criminals with a red-hot bat-symbol branding iron, and briefly mentioned that inmates in prisons with this brand are quick to be killed by fellow prisoners…for some reason? It was all kind of vague. In the Ultimate Edition we see that Lex and company pay one of the inmates to “shiv” the latest bat-brandee in the prison yard. This is all part of Lex’s plan to stoke the fires of Superman’s outrage at Batman’s methods.

— Jon Stewart has a cameo on TV as himself hosting The Daily Show, even though this film was released long after he had left this position. He’s seen delivering some angry diatribe about how Superman doesn’t want to be seen as American. It’s a weird, nonsensical scene that feels unfinished.

— Clark digs into the death of the bat-branded inmate (who was transferred to a Metropolis prison). He also talks with the dead man’s ex-girlfriend, who utters this humdinger of a line about Batman: “Know what stops him? A fist!”

— The big Batmobile chase scene — where Batman chases down Luthor’s men and Superman stops him — feels extended, but that might be a case of poor pacing rather than additional scenes.

— Kahina Ziri begins to fear for her life. She goes to Senator Finch and spills the beans about Luthor paying her to smear Superman’s name. Later, Luthor’s henchman Anatoli pushes her in front of a speeding train. Have I mentioned how unpleasant this movie is?

— After the bombing of the Capitol via Scoot McNairy’s fancy new wheelchair, there’s a brief scene where Superman is carrying survivors to safety. In the theatrical cut, he more or less flees the scene right after the bombing, in a very un-Superman like way. He still cuts out early here, but we at least get to see him saving a few lives first.

— Alfred (Jeremy Irons) chops some wood! Thrilling!

— The media is quick to assume Superman was in on the bombing at the Capitol, even though that makes no sense at all. There’s a moment where protesters burn Superman in effigy on TV to hammer home how angry everyone is at him.

— Lois pays a visit to Scoot McNairy’s apartment, and concludes that since it’s stocked with fresh groceries, he didn’t realize he was going to die. Later, she calls up Jena Malone who reveals that the bomb in the wheelchair was shielded in lead — which is why Superman didn’t detect it. This is a detail that’s established in other forms of Superman media — he can’t see through lead! — but neither this film nor Man of Steel ever mentioned that, so it’s placement here is odd.

— Lois’ abduction by Lex’s goons is a bit longer and more detailed — ya know, for all you abduction fans out there.

— After the big, long battle between Doomsday, Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman, the authorities capture Lex as he’s summoning some weird…monster…thing. The character is supposedly “Steppenwolf”, one of the generals of DC “big bad” Darkseid. Warner Brothers released this scene online days after the film hit theaters.

— While the joint funerals of Superman and Clark Kent are happening we’re treated to some artful shots of a mostly empty Metropolis — businesses are closed, the streets are abandoned, everyone is at Superman’s funeral.

— In Smallville, Martha suddenly stops out of nowhere post-funeral and declares, “I left my checkbook back at the house! I need it to pay for the funeral!” Someone politely informs her that the funeral has already been paid for by an anonymous donor — Bruce Wayne.

— When Batman visits (and threatens) Lex Luthor in jail he also comments that he’s arranged it so that Lex will be sent to Arkham Asylum.

And that’s it! Nothing too drastic or game-changing. Those hoping for one of those Ridley Scott-style director’s cuts that presents an entirely different, better film (a la Kingdom of Heaven) should temper their expectations. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice: Ultimate Edition is now available on Digital HD. It arrives on Blu-ray July 19.

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Chris Evangelista is the Executive Editor of Cut Print Film & co-host of the Cut Print Film Podcast. He also contributes to /Film, The Film Stage, Birth.Movies.Death, The Playlist, Paste Magazine, Little White Lies and O-Scope Musings. 'The House on Creep Street' and 'Beware the Monstrous Manther!', two horror books for young readers Chris co-authored with J. Tonzelli, are available wherever books are sold. You can follow him on Twitter @cevangelista413 and view his portfolio at chrisevangelista.net

  • last pants you will ever wear

    Thank you for this, an honest review, sans DC/WB payola! For probably $20 increments the big nerd sites fall over themselves praising this turkey. Yeah, I said it: turkey. Sorry for the blue language! And also, thanks specifically for the heads up on Lois’ abduction; I am totally a huge fan of those! Ok I’m not, but it was funny of you to include abduction aficionados. Creepy kidnapping fetishists R people 2.

    • Vivian Circle

      Yeah, your a voice of reason!

  • drey_bacccx

    Wow!! It truly baffles me how you could waste ur precious time and write all this for a movie you obviously hate. Please don’t watch any of the next dc films. I know I enjoy everything I’ve watched so far..SS next. No hard feelings, just feel u don’t deserve to watch justice league or any other dc film for that matter.

    • Victor Lovecraft Anderson

      Because he’s doing the rest of us a favor and also because it’s partially a review, and negative reviews can be entertaining? Pick one, I got more.

      • Vivian Circle

        Because You have nothing else to shit on?

      • Vivian Circle

        Re: snooty = arrogant
        opinion does not equal fact.
        Aesthetics are individualized, not just you and not only by your standards. Sorry you didnt like the film, perhaps a Michael Bay film is more to your taste? Or perhaps the Star Wars prequels, im sure you can find tons of things to judge and hate, enjoy your spiteful life, ill enjoy what movies I like without your needless and banal input.

      • Victor Lovecraft Anderson

        I’ve already responded to your bullshit Michael Bay comments in an attempt to elucidate how dumb it sounds so I guess I’ll let it slide this time.

        Except, wait a minute, there’s no such thing as objecively good or bad filmmaking and yet you use Michael Bay movies and the Star Wars prequels as punchlines as though it is obvious that they are objectively bad and can’t be legitimately enjoyed. It’s like you tacitly get the point of film criticism but choose to act as if you’re completely clueless.

    • Theodore Dubsky

      That’s ludicrous. You clearly don’t understand the purpose of professional criticism, and seem to be taking it personally. Especially with that hilarious anti-Civil War rant above. This author isn’t saying ‘DC IS DUM MARVEL IS AMAZING’ He’s just critiquing this film. It doesn’t matter if you enjoyed it, you’re welcome to continue to enjoy it! Saying someone doesn’t deserve to watch a film is pretty absurd. Maybe ease up off your DC superfan ego a bit.

      • Vivian Circle

        Maybe hes trying to tell critics to fuck off because they obviously dont know anything anout these characters. And he doesnt deserve to critique any more DC pictures because he has a bias towards them. Maybe ease up off your critic-fan ego a bit?

      • Victor Lovecraft Anderson

        The irony of this “ur just bias waaah” comeback coming from a defensive DC fanboy. You do realize it’s not our fault that one company is producing decent films and the other isn’t, correct?

    • Tre Giles

      Haters will hate, it’s nothing particularly new or interesting. Just look at some of these replies. Don’t let their puckered lips, lack of understanding of the canon, and generally illogical sentiments stifle your enjoyment of a movie that, while it had problems, was by and large pretty good and, at the very least, as well put together as Civil War.

  • drey_bacccx

    I could understand Lex playing people that haven’t meet each other…but how the hell did baron zemo have personal knowledge that friends that av been together through wars and all will decide to fight it out instead of going another route. I mean dese guys are friends, all of a sudden dis master villian know about a video and says “hmm dis should break up the avengers”. Also, I keep hearing the airport fight, the airport fight.. wat about it?? The fact that just felt bored so decided to come play 9 holes, or antman or spiderman dat were there to add numbers? Forgive me, I forgot they needed their help. I honestly can’t get into all wrong wit different movies but I know for certain that there are few comic book films better dan bvs..and that’s a fact.

    • Victor Lovecraft Anderson

      That final statement rings true only if you happen to be a fan of stupid, incoherent, bloated and fundamentally incompetent movies – knowingly or not.

      • Vivian Circle

        Perhaps Princess Diaries is more your speed? Movie made perfect semse for those who care about the characters and know the comic book history.great movie, even better in ultimate edition. Screw the haters, they live a joyless existemce panning everything that does not meet their irrelevant and banal expectations.

      • Victor Lovecraft Anderson

        Yeah, I should just go watch Princess Diaries – which is a great comparison that isn’t inane in the slightest – and not a competently concocted comic book movie. ‘Cuz you know, those don’t exist and it is thus unreasonable to expect better than the indefensible try-hard mess that is BvS (if this is how much sense comic book stories make, btw, you have inadvertently explained why people aren’t buying that shit as much as they used to).

      • Vivian Circle

        You seem to want to hate. So,Im just gonna leave you there to do just that.

        Btw-Princess Diaries was suggestion becaise it was a popular movie. I thought you might enjoy it. It seems you only want to hate and boo hoo a lot. Theres a lot of that.
        Saw BvS 3 times…dont know what ‘mess’ you speak of. As I said. There is plenty to hate. Why not go a nd look for aomething that you can love instead of trying to rationaloze why some film did not meet your specific requirements. Thats all.
        Plenty of people understood, enjoyed, and even purchased BvS. I am among one of those MANY MANY MANY people. You are not.
        Go hate if that is what you wish. It does not change the picture.

      • Victor Lovecraft Anderson

        I know you don’t know what mess I’m referring to, since the average filmgoer doesn’t generally care about coherent editing and storytelling or whether or not something makes sense (like Batman hating Superman with all his heart until ut turns out their moms have the same first name). If you can enjoy it in spite of even the most glaring things it gets wrong, that’s all fine and good. But don’t get pissy when people point out that they don’t like something and list their reasons as to WHY they don’t like something. If that wasn’t happening all the time due to reasons of pure fanboyism, maybe we could just drop this whole BvS thing. Either way, critics tend to write about every movie they watch and why they like/dislike it. Writing a bad review of ONE movie doesn’t mean they aren’t already talking about other movies, including ones they love. Where are you people getting this shit lately?

        I agree with the “it does not the change the picture” bit, though. Neither do your comments for that matter. You can call it Granny’s peach tea, and so on.

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  • Mikey Wood

    The kids aren’t on a field trip, they’re being evacuated.

    It’s pretty clear that you have a bias for this movie.

    • Tre Giles

      It’s pretty disgusting to read through, but knowing the differences is useful.

  • Duvall Duvalle

    I didnt know there was a re-cut of KoH, must watch it someday. I was thinking of the massive re-edits of the Alien franchise, that completely changed films like Alien 3. Or even the extended Lord of the Rings films, that added dramatically to the films quality.
    I just watched the extended cut of BVS and its a complete con job to generate home video income. Theres absolutely no reason to buy this or re-watch this turd.

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  • Charles Oosterhouse

    Lol what a ridiculous read. Clearly already has a huge bias against the movie, and then continues to miss about half of the additions in the movie.

  • Vivian Circle

    Your opinion does not matter and is irrelevant. People who understood the film loved it. You, apperently missed that…thats too bad. Oh well, maybe Michael Bay will make something you like? Good luck!

    • Victor Lovecraft Anderson

      Why u disliek michel bay, ur just a jelous hater who doesnt get transformers and ur opinins are irrelevant? Go watch casablanca or sumthin lol

      You see how dumb that sounds?

      • Vivian Circle

        ok…

        Your assume that you know what makes a picture good or a bad one.

        You dont.

        You only have your opinion, like that of the critics. Both of you are irrelevant.

        You also cast great assumptions that I must be a ‘general’ moviegoer…and you are what?

        Some form of advanced superior movie goer, who knows what makes a movie good or bad and thus must force everyone to agree to what pedantic pedestrian inferences that you amd only you get to make?

        No. You dont

        You. Are. ANGRY!

        Angry because some people liked a movie that you did not. So to make yourself feel better, you passivly aggressivly attack those that see what you cannot and try and shame them and change thier minds. Telling them they must be less cultured and less intelligent as you.

        To that we sat.

        FUCK OFF!

      • Victor Lovecraft Anderson

        “I was indeed a snob, if you agree with this definition: ‘A person who believes that their tastes in a particular area are superior to those of other people.’ I do believe that. Not superior to all other people, but to some, most probably including those who think Transformers: Revenge of The Fallen is a great film. That is not simply ego on my part. It is a faith that after writing and teaching about films for more than 40 years, my tastes are more evolved than those of a fanboy.”

        – Roger Ebert, film critic

        Oh yeah, I’m definitely the angry one who can’t handle differeing viewpoints in this discussion. LOL.

  • Vivian Circle

    Movie made perfect sense…maybe you should check out Primcess Diaries.