*Warner Bros. Pictures’ ‘Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice’ has made a substantial amount of money at the box office despite a critical drubbing. A much-hyped superhero film criticized for its overstock of convoluted subplots, nonsensical set-ups for spinoffs, and an unbearably slow pace, it has pulled in over $328 million at the domestic box office since its March 25th release, $870 million worldwide.
Now, WB is readying the digital release of an R-rated extended cut on June 28 and the Ultimate Edition Blu-ray with R-rated version on July 19. Originally PG-13 with a run time of 2 hours, 31 minutes, director Zack Snyder is promising a flick more than 3 hours in length, with omitted footage and previously trimmed scenes intact.
A number of critics and fans alike felt ‘Dawn of Justice’ lacked a cohesive plot. What the film has in profusion, however, is congealed symbolism.
With the extended version audiences will not only get a longer and possibly more concise viewing experience, but also another chance to study its underlining meanings.
The premise for ‘Batman v Superman’ is simple. Batman’s brand of vigilante justice is deliberately harmful, Superman’s inadvertent. Each feels the other is a menace that needs to be stopped.
Both DC Comics characters have more than 75 years of individual history, and they have shared frames of print and animation countless times as well. Author Frank Miller famously put them at odds in the best-selling graphic novel, 1986’s The Dark Knight Returns. From a story written by Chris Terrio and Dave S. Goyer, Snyder brought Batman’s and Superman’s live action iterations together on the big screen for the first time. In ‘Dawn of Justice’ these 2 fictional titans symbolize more than heroics, more than good versus evil.
A few of those symbols are racial, social, and evolutionary.
Outside his cowl, Batman is Bruce Wayne, a billionaire socialite who regularly associates with wealthy business persons and various celebrities; he shares his tucked away estate with his lifelong butler. His parents, Thomas and Martha Wayne, were murdered in an alley by an armed robber. Young Bruce watched them die, growing up with a thirst for revenge and hatred for crime. This one life-changing incident continues to be Batman’s motivation.
Wayne, unlike the lowlife street thugs he busts, can afford to do anything he desires, which includes masquerading as an amour-clad bat using custom-made high-tech weaponry. His biggest issue with Superman is he’s an alien.
When not in costume Superman hides in plain site as middle class reporter Clark Kent, a socially awkward Kansas farm boy who grew up treated as an outcast by his peers. They weren’t far off base. Krytonians Jor-El and Lara knew their planet of Krypton was dying. They sent their baby, Kal-El, to Earth in a protective space vessel just before their lives were claimed by their world’s destruction.
Kal’s earthly parents who renamed him Clark taught him to see people as they, not what they are, while also instilling in him their hard-work ethics. As a member of the media Kent believes all stories deserve equal coverage, as the people they write about should be treated equally and fairly regardless of their class or origin. When they’re in peril he sheds Clark’s garb to reveal a Superman underneath. His superior speed, strength and endurance makes him their savior.
The most prominent symbolism in the film is religious. Both characters are often seen hovering above the people who require their help, looking down from the heavens, so to speak, as they respond to their pleas. During a conversation with Rev. Mark A. Smith, Associate Minister at Salem Missionary Baptist Church in Lilburn GA, he told EURweb Superman symbolizes Christ. “He can be seen as a Messiah archetype,” he said, noting from his perspective Batman seems to represents mankind’s need to investigate and explore a higher power.
“The adventure and relationship begins with trepidation, heartbreak, and discombobulation,” Rev. Smith added, “but ultimately after exposure to the deity one realizes that he had our best interest in mind.”
With increased runtime providing an opportunity for better, more concise storytelling, those comic-book-believers initially disappointed by ‘Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice’ may be praying the R-rated extended version makes its original cut forgivable.
It’s worth noting again that the R-rated version releases digitally June 28 and the Ultimate Edition Blu-ray with R-rated version releases July 19.
Known as “The Word Heavyweight Champion,” Mr. Joe Walker is a biographer, journalist, and columnist, currently a senior writer for SoulTrain.com, staff writer for Muskegon Tribune Newspaper, and writer for Concrete Magazine’s Concrete615.com. Also managing editor of Liquid Arts & Entertainment Magazine, Walker’s acclaimed, award-winning work has been published thousands of times regionally, nationally, internationally, and online. Like him on Facebook, follow on Twitter @mrjoewalker, and visit his official blog