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Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Ultimate Edition on Blu-ray

Probably not since LORD OF THE RINGS have expectations for an extended edition of a film been so high as it has been with BATMAN V SUPERMAN:DAWN OF JUSTICE Ultimate Edition. With fans in a schism over their reviews on the theatrical release of the film, running the gamut from Batman's body count to Wonder Woman's too-short screen time, people are waiting to see if an extra 30 minutes of footage alters their perception of what they've already seen.

The answer? Probably not. If you liked it, there's more to like. If you hated it, there's more to hate. People are rather intractable about things once they've already made their minds up. (GHOSTBUSTERS, anybody?)

For my own part, I am a huge comics nerd, and I have all my life fallen into the DC camp of fandom. That having been said, I can see the differences between the Marvel films and the DC ones, and have to accede that, to date, Marvel has the upper hand. Oddly enough, DC succeeds in television far better. But as a DC die-hard, there are things that I love about this film, and things that I just don't understand about it. And rather than drag them out, I'll just jump right to the elephant in the room.

Lex Luthor.

Lex is bald in the comics. No, that's not my gripe. My gripe is that this version of Luthor (played by Jesse Eisenberg) is missing all the things that make Luthor the person he is. He is self-aggrandizing, he is socially awkward, he is a nervous public speaker, he is a creepy candy-passing, jar-peeing version of everything that is simply not Lex Luthor. Even in the end, when the grand schemes are all unveiled, we find that Lex is merely in thrall to someone larger who is coming -- as though Lex would ever swear fealty to someone more powerful, let alone acknowledge that power.

So there's that. What else could I pick out that annoyed me?

How about the lack of a screenwriting credit for Frank Miller? Batman (Ben Affleck) quotes several lines from THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS, he just says them to Alfred instead. At times it's almost like screenwriters Chris Terrio and David S. Goyer laid out all the best lines from TDKR and pasted them into the script. Sure, they're great lines, particularly for Batman, but they got to be pretty thick for a while.

Wow, I must have hated this thing.

Actually, no. In fact, I didn't even hate the thing that bugged most people -- Batman's "too quick" change of heart in regards to his feelings for Superman. Without spoiling it for those who haven't seen the film, Bruce Wayne has been having recurring nightmares about his parents, particularly focused on his mother; and for the past two years he's been subtly manipulated by Lex Luthor to develop a seething hatred for Superman (Henry Cavill). Lex has also been manipulating public opinion against the Man of Steel, setting the stage for the slobberknocker of all slobberknockers -- Batman versus Superman (again with plenty of cribbing from Frank Miller; that scene of Superman in space after the knockout with Doomsday? All it was missing was the internal dialogue thanking Mother Earth).

I also appreciated the "Crisis" warning where The Flash (Ezra Miller) shows up to warn Bruce about the impending battle to come. However, I can see where this would be a huge WTF moment for movie-going audiences who had no idea who the character was and why he should be showing up in a Batman / Superman film. It's definitely in keeping with a united DC Universe cinematic franchise, but it was too startling, and it didn't get any following support in the film to make it relevant to the non-fan viewers.

I will say that the Ben Affleck version of Batman is probably the most Batman-like ever portrayed on film, action-wise. Gone is the armor (most of the time, anyway) that gave us the stiff Batman from Michael Keaton through Christian Bale. It's a more fluid, acro-Batman, who can rappel buildings and swing from bat-ropes -- and fight! This is the Batman I've been wanting to see in movies since they started making Batman movies. The costuming is also spot-on for all the superheroes, including Wonder Woman's armor-plated miniskirt. (I now can't wait to see Gal Gadot in the WONDER WOMAN film, whereas before I could not have cared less about it.)

Own Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Ultimate Edition on Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack, Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack, Blu-ray Combo Pack or DVD on July 19 or Own It Now on Digital HD!

The combo pack of this Blu-ray / DVD / Digital release comes with the aforementioned extra minutes -- on the Blu-ray and digital codes. In fact, the digital code gives you BOTH versions, so you get two movies in your Ultraviolet library for the price of one. The DVD however only comes with the theatrical release, and no bonus features.

The Blu-ray also contains a treasure trove of behind-the-scenes features, with looks at the characters, their histories, the technology (it's another new Batmobile, and it's just as cool as any!) and a look at where all of this is going as we hit the road to JUSTICE LEAGUE!

So while I'm still going to groan every time Luthor makes an appearance, and I'm going to turn a blind eye to any mobster who gets in the way of a bullet while fighting Batman (fans may forget that Michael Keaton's Batwing wasn't firing rubber darts at the Joker as he barreled down on him!), BATMAN V SUPERMAN is a thrilling fanboy dream come true, and a pivot point in the DCU from "grim and gritty" to "brighter and optimistic."

4.0 / 5.0