2016 Movie Reviews: Batman v Superman: Ultimate Edition

19. Batman v Superman (Ultimate Edition)

Watched August 10, 2016

Buy it in HD on iTunes with Special Features 

I remember going to see the 1989 Batman film like it was yesterday. Michael Keaton and Tim Burton changed my life that day. I had always (and still do) lean toward the Marvel side of the comics aisle, but this film opened my eyes to the amazing potential of Bruce Wayne and the world he inhabits.

I've basically dreamed of a Batman and Superman movie since then. It never made sense to me why they couldn't make it work since for all of modern history, the rights to both characters have been firmly under the Warner Brothers banner. The Avengers wasn't something I actually had daydreams about seeing on screen because I didn't think it would ever happen. This team up though was genuinely possible.

When I saw the first trailer for Snyder's film, I was anticipating disappointment. I had hated Man of Steel (or at least that's what it had settled into in my memory), and basically everything that had leaked as rumor from the set or script made me think they were even further off the rails than I thought MOS was. But then I saw Batman in that metal suit.

Zach Snyder has always been able to craft an amazing image, it is his calling card as a director, but his propensity for shortchanging character development in favor of those "hero shots" leaves this historical film cold and sad. No movie that features Batman, Superman AND THE FIRST MODERN CINEMATIC TAKE ON WONDER WOMAN should leave you cold and sad. But boy howdy this one does.

Luthor is an insane person, not the megalomaniacal super-genius he would need to be to have out planned Bruce Wayne and outgunned Superman. Doomsday was completely unnecessary, unless you're a lazy writer who can't think of anyway to unite your heroes other than immediately making them face a mindless rage monster.

Even then, the few moments of direct page-to-screen adaptation might make this a film I at least am glad to have seen, but those were even ruined by the conclusion of the titular fight being based on a coincidence which apparently caught Snyder's attention in his cursory glance at the source material. Ugh.

I'd waited to see this one on video once I could get the "ultimate edition" knowing that Snyder had gotten to put back in some extra character moments and the plot was supposedly much more coherent in the longer take. If so, then the theatrical must have seemed like some sort of Absurdist art film, this movie takes three hours to go nowhere with people you don't like and do things that are only barely worth watching, let alone discussing afterward. Please, please be better, Justice League.