Spoilers warning for anyone who hasn’t seen either version of Batman v Superman.
Love it or hate it, Warner Bros. promised that over thirty minutes of footage would be added to the extended cut of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and they made good on their promise. Fleshing out subplots and adding some much needed character beats, the additional scenes made the blockbuster meeting of DC’s juggernauts flow better throughout its three-hour runtime. Not only did the new cut feature additional footage, it also changed the rating of the movie to an “R” from “PG-13” as several more brutal story beats were brought to light.
As Zack Snyder and company prepare for the arrival of the Justice League in theaters in 2017, the extended cut of Batman v Superman gives audiences an in-depth look at our trinity of heroes. The extended cut also hopes to address the complaints from viewers of the theatrical cut along the way, but does it succeed? Check out our list of scene details in the Ultimate Edition to see how it compares to the original edition, and judge for yourself!
Putting the ‘R’ in Africa
One of the biggest additions to the extended cut is the additional minutes added to the “Africa” subplot. The main change here is the fact that we’re given knowledge that the cameraman hanging out with Lois Lane is in fact Jimmy Olsen, who quickly meets a gruesome end after his character’s reveal. The opening scene is also expanded upon, giving more credence to the idea that Superman is being framed for the murder of several inhabitants of the war-torn landscape of Nairomi, Africa [sic]. In the theatrical cut, this scene was something of a mess, moving forward into the movie’s main runtime but not giving enough information into why Lois was investigating the deaths or how, in fact, they implicated Superman in the transgressions. Here, we’re given a good look into not only how the people were killed at the hand of Luthor’s hitman, KGBeast, but also how Superman was seen as someone to be blamed: the bodies were horrifically burned with the use of a flamethrower, as if by Clark’s heat vision rather than the experimental bullets that were actually used.
Alongside this subplot, an entirely new character was introduced into the extended edition with “Kahina Ziri” (Wunmi Mosaku). Kahina is understandably heartbroken at the loss of her family in the attack and believes that Superman is to blame, testifying to the United States’ Senate about her ordeal. This helps build the case against Superman and eventually leads to his testimony in front of the committee, which was unfortunately cut short by Luthor’s bomb hidden in Wally’s wheelchair. As Kahina feels guilt over her part in the framing of Superman, Luthor’s goon manages to push her in front of an oncoming train, silencing her permanently before she can testify to Superman’s innocence. In the theatrical cut, this buildup and subplot for Lois Lane was, quite frankly, confusing, so the extended cut does give us a more intricate look into how Lex’s plan worked exactly and what it meant for Superman in the eyes of the public, through the character of Ziri. Also, we got a cool scene at the beginning of the extended edition involving Superman flying through some drones, destroying them in a flashy display of his powers.
Superman Being Super
The numerous added scenes thrown in for Clark Kent helped to paint the picture of his life in the film better, giving viewers more insight into his state of mind throughout. Aside from witnessing the testimony of Ziri, as we mentioned earlier, Superman is shown traveling to Gotham City directly to get a better understanding of what the people there think of Batman. While talking with citizens of an apartment complex that once was the residence of Kahina, Clark learns of the average person’s fear of Batman and how they view this “Darker Knight” through ordinary glasses. Seen as something of a grizzled monster, an old man tells Kent to not be out after dark should he encounter the Batman and face his wrath, even though another tenant informs him that the Bat only punishes those worthy of his judgement. This is done in a particularly clever scene where the older tenant scratches out the bat symbol on a lottery card, which was a neat reveal.
While in Gotham, Clark also encounters the wife and young son of a criminal whom Batman had branded with the Bat symbol earlier. This sequence not only played into further exploring Luthor’s plans for pitting the two titans against one another by orchestrating the deaths of those branded by the Batman in prison, it showed Clark’s humanity in connecting with the widow and fatherless son. A HUGE addition showcasing the “lighter” side of Superman was that, following the detonation of the bomb that destroyed the Senate, he is shown rescuing several civilians and bringing them to rescue workers for aid. It’s a much needed scene to get the point across that Superman is a man for others, and it’s kind of shocking that it was removed in the first place. Kent is also shown calling Ma Kent at one point; unsure of his path, he gets words of encouragement that go beyond “You don’t owe anyone anything.” These scenes may be a small part of the overall runtime but they do add a lot to the character of Superman and Clark Kent along the way.
Building a Universe
Aside from the character beats that were added into the movie with the extended edition, perhaps the most shocking moment was near the end with Lex Luthor “communing” with the, now revealed, villain Steppenwolf. Steppenwolf is a horrifying residence of Apokolips and is but one of the hints that harken the arrival of Darkseid and his minions in the upcoming DC Cinematic Universe. Following this scene, when Lex Luthor is brought to prison to await trial after creating the monster of Doomsday, and subsequently killing the Man of Steel, Batman pays Luthor a visit and threatens to brand him with his patented “Bat Iron”. While this scene was in the original cut, we’re given a nice Easter egg of Luthor’s confidence in “beating the rap” by pleading insanity. Wayne is able to turn the tables around by letting Lex know that he plans on dropping him straight into Arkham Asylum where some “friends” will be waiting for him. A hint that a Lex Luthor/Joker team up may happen at some point the future perhaps?
Aside from this, the long-rumored role of Jena Malone is revealed as Jenet Klyburn, a laboratory technician who, in the comics, worked for S.T.A.R. Labs. This could potentially be pointing toward her inclusion in the upcoming films of the DC Universe, specifically Cyborg, considering his ties to the established lab. Jenet helps Lois to discover the origins of the bullet created by Luthor, but ultimately this scene doesn’t add a ton to the overall story. Funny how, for the longest time, folks were thinking that Jena was going to be Barbara Gordon, a.k.a. Batgirl/Oracle, but the extended edition showed us otherwise.
While there are some additional minutes thrown in for good measure that were cut for time, and rightfully so considering the overall runtime of the feature, the extended edition is worthwhile if you loved the original theatrical cut but wanted a bit more meat added to the bones.
– More scenes of both Metropolis and Kansas are added in the wake of Superman’s death.
– A nice line is added by Supes to Luthor before Doomsday’s birth about how Lex will “learn to lose.”
– Lois is able to uncover Luthor’s plan of using Wally to deliver the bomb that blew up the Senate by investigating his abandoned apartment that was filled with freshly purchased groceries, proving he wasn’t planning on dying any time soon.
– Scenes of Batman stealing the Kryptonite from Luthor to use against Superman were also added, explaining how he was able to get the alien rock in the first place.
– Clark is shown walking up the mountain which leads to a meeting with his dead father (which is still not explained, so that’s weird).
– Ben Affleck shows his butt! Also, we see Bruce popping pills to help him sleep at night and ease the pain from years of crime fighting.
– Jon Stewart makes an appearance! The Daily Show host, not the Green Lantern.
– We see Gotham and Metropolis’ two football teams square off while two cops follow the game from their squad car, which helps to show just how bad at their jobs the Gotham PD are.
For more on the Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – Ultimate Edition, click here for our Collider Heroes episode, which also contains Steve’s review of the extended cut. Click here for all of our Batman v Superman coverage.
Be sure to check out some of our other Batman v Superman coverage here:
- Batman’s Kill Count in ‘Batman vs Superman’ Gets Detailed in New Video
- Zack Snyder on ‘Justice League’, the Lighter Tone, the ‘Batman v Superman’ Reaction, and More
- ‘Justice League': Junkie XL Will Return to Score Zack Snyder’s Next Epic
- ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’ Review: No Heroics
Also, in case you missed it, here’s some of our coverage from the Justice League set visit:
- ‘Justice League’: Over 60 Things to Know About the ‘Batman v Superman’ Follow-Up
- ‘Justice League’ Set Visit Video Recap: Here’s What We Learned
- ‘Justice League’: Zack Snyder and Ben Affleck on Lighter Tone, Differences from ‘Batman v Superman’