Director's cut

Does the extended cut of ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’ make it a better movie?

With fleshed-out characters and a slightly more coherent narrative, the Blu-ray version of Zack Snyder’s epic fantasy is better, but only just.

Zack Snyder’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was colossal in every sense of the word. The movie pitted two of the biggest superhero icons against each other, and introduced a third character, the ageless Amazonian warrior princess Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot). The comic series also brought to younger audiences a new Lex Luthor in the form of the awkward Woody Allen-esque Jesse Eisenberg. But Snyder’s choppy and plodding storytelling failed to impress critics even though the movie managed a sizable box office draw. An extended Blu-ray cut with 30 minutes of extra footage has been promised as salvation, but is it truly?

The trailer of the extended cut.

In an age that has seen the revitalisation of the superhero genre by such directors as Christopher Nolan’s near-genius Batman trilogy and the Marvel movies, Snyder’s attempts to maintain Nolan’s signature darkness while delivering a larger-than-life narrative fell short. Not only did Dawn of Justice reduce Batman and Superman to whiny man-children out to get each other but it did so in scenes devoid of purpose and emotion. The theatrical cut had little semblance of a narrative, with sub-plots either left half-baked or underdeveloped.

One of the reasons DC Comics fans were left reeling after the movie’s release in April was the poor characterisation of the superheroes. Dawn of Justice went to great lengths to portray Superman (Henry Cavill) as an unflinching and self-righteous demigod, while Batman (Ben Affleck) was reduced to a Superman-hating anti-hero. In the expanded version, both heroes are offered more respect and empathy.

A baffling aspect of the theatrical version was Superman’s apathy during the bombing at his Senate hearing. He’s a morally conscious protector who would never leave after people around him have been shot. In the extended cut, not only does he try to save the injured, but he makes meaningful statements to Lois Lane (Amy Adams) about his failure in spotting the explosive. One can understand why Snyder chose to make the cut – to emphasise Superman’s supposed involvement in the blast as is played out in the media – but the inclusion of the snipped moments give the story the complexity it meant to achieve.

Another welcome fix has been to the incoherent opening sequence. Lois is on a trip to Africa to interview a guerrilla group leader when trouble ensues, only to be resolved by Superman flying in to save his lady love. Superman’s action ignites a conversation about whether the all-powerful American hero is answerable to anyone at all. The woman who initiates this idea is Kahina Ziri, who in the theatrical version is seen in just one scene. Ziri is the reason Batman demands that Superman be held accountable. Restoring her character in full allows us to understand Lex Luthor’s involvement in framing Superman in the incident and bring the scrambled plot pieces together. It is his search for Ziri that takes Superman to Gotham City, and it is in Gotham that Superman’s Clark Kent avatar learns that Batman is branding his criminals. This knowledge increases the tension between the two and justifies their final battle to some extent.

Superman takes on Batman.
Superman takes on Batman.

The expanded version does its biggest service to the non-superhero on board, Lois Lane. The released movie did everything to reduce Lois to a damsel waiting to be rescued. If there’s one thing that the additional footage hasn’t forgotten, it’s that Lane’s a journalist. The only witness to Superman’s antics in Africa, she investigates the bullet from her journal that had a fleeting mention in the original cut, and she uncovers Lex Luthor’s involvement. Her research also introduces the scientist Jenet Klyburn, who fans know will play a part in future movies featuring the Justice League member Flash.

The additional 30 minutes would have given the movie an adults only rating in the US. Apart from a shot of Affleck’s bare bottom in the shower, we see him guzzling pills to deal with superhero-related stress. This is a more complex Batman, if it were possible. There is also a memorable shot of Lex Luthor caught by the police in a pool trying to make contact with an alien body. In his final confrontation with Batman, he is promised a spot at the Arkham Asylum, which gives hopes of a possible Lex-Joker collaboration. One can hope.

These layers add roundedness to the plot, but they do not add up to a greatly improved movie. At three hours, Dawn of Justice remains a tedious watch. Although the extended cut is more successful in humanising its heroes and villain, to be better than the original in this context is hardly a compliment.

We welcome your comments at
Sponsored Content BY 

Some of the most significant innovations in automotive history made their debut in this iconic automobile

The latest version features India's first BS VI norms-compliant engine and a host of 'intelligent' features.

The S-Class, also known as Sonderklasse or special class, represents Mercedes Benz’ top-of-the-line sedan line up. Over the decades, this line of luxury vehicles has brought significant automotive technologies to the mainstream, with several firsts to its credit and has often been called the best car in the world. It’s in the S-Class that the first electronic ESP and ABS anti-lock braking system made their debut in the 20th century.

Twenty first-century driver assistance technologies which predict driver-behaviour and the vehicle’s course in order to take preventive safety measures are also now a staple of the S-Class. In the latest 2018 S-Class, the S 350 d, a 360-degree network of cameras, radars and other sensors communicate with each other for an ‘intelligent’ driving experience.

The new S-Class systems are built on Mercedes Benz’s cutting-edge radar-based driving assistance features, and also make use of map and navigation data to calculate driving behaviour. In cities and on other crowded roads, the Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC helps maintain the distance between car and the vehicle in front during speeds of up to 210 kmph. In the same speed range, Active Steering Assist helps the driver stay in the centre of the lane on stretches of straight road and on slight bends. Blind Spot Assist, meanwhile, makes up for human limitations by indicating vehicles present in the blind spot during a lane change. The new S-Class also communicates with other cars equipped with the Car-to-X communication system about dicey road conditions and low visibility due to fog, rain, accidents etc. en route.

The new S-Class can even automatically engage the emergency system when the driver is unable to raise an alarm. Active Emergency Stop Assist brings the car to a stop if it detects sustained periods of inactivity from the driver when Active Steering Assist is switched on. If the driver doesn’t respond to repeated visual and audible prompts, it automatically activates the emergency call system and unlocks the car to provide access to first responders.

The new Mercedes-Benz S 350 d in India features another notable innovation – the country’s first BS VI norms-compliant car engine, in accordance with government regulations to control vehicular pollution. Debuting two years before the BS VI deadline of 2020, the S 350 d engine also remains compatible with the current BS IV fuels.

The S 350 d is an intelligent car made in India, for Indian roads - in the Mercedes Benz S-Class tradition. See the video below to know what drives the S-Class series by Mercedes Benz.

To know more about the 2018 S-Class, click here.


This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Mercedes Benz and not by the Scroll editorial team.