‘Batman V. Superman’ And The Impact Alternate Cuts Have on Superhero Films

Director’s Cuts, Extended Versions, and Alternate Cuts have been  a very popular staple for home video releases for over 25 years.  The Batman V. Superman Ultimate Edition released on Digital HD this week to critical acclaim and this is not the only time that this has happened with a film. Alternate versions generally exist to give the audience a version of the film that is closer to what the Director or creators originally  intended. Sometimes they are not. Superhero films have had their share of alternate versions, but with the amount of them being released I am surprised there aren’t more films that take the step to release extended or alternate versions.With this in mind it is interesting to look at several films that have done this and see the overall impact that it has on the superhero genre.

2003’s Daredevil is considered to be a mess of a film ever since its release, but many people seem to not acknowledge the fact that it had an R Rated director’s cut that was eventually released. This version of the film is 30 minutes longer and while the film still isn’t great it is a considerable improvement over the original with a lot of fixes to the plot, action, and characterizations. It focuses more on the darker undertones and less on the romance that felt cheap and silly in the original cut of the film. It even includes a subplot involving Matt taking on a case for an accused man played by Coolio. It was an interesting addition that gave more depth to the film. This is a perfect example to bring up because it’s a film that mirrors Batman V. Superman in that this version quickly becomes the definitive edition and works as a way of mending the missteps when it came to what was cut out.

The Ultimate Edition isn’t the first time that Zack Snyder was given the opportunity to have his version released. In 2009 Watchmen was brought to theaters in a version that cut out several things, but the eventual Blu-Ray and DVD had a Director’s Cut which added many scenes that were left out of the film when adapting the infamous graphic novel to the screen.  A graphic novel that was said to almost be un-filmable had to deal with making cuts for time. A decision that attracted some criticism but a lot of the additions to the Director’s cut are beneficial. Even more so when the Ultimate Cut was also released. The Ultimate Cut is the Director’s cut combined with the Tales from the Black Freighter animated movie. The animated movie was released separately, but this version throws it back into the places where it originally was in the graphic novel. This version was made for fans of the comic and it shows.

Another interesting Alternate Cut was for X-Men Days of Future Past. Released almost a full year later The Rogue Cut adds about 20 minutes back into the film including an entire subplot following Anna Paquin as Rogue on a separate mission in the future. Having an actress or character removed from a film is a huge change and I’m sure it was a huge disappointment for Rogue fans when it was stated that her part was removed, but at least her part was appropriately added back to where it belonged in the first place.  It was a great addition that really did give more depth to an already great film.

The Ultimate Edition of Batman V. Superman follows suit in what these other superhero alternate cuts provided. When being released in theaters they had to be altered and cut for time or studio preference and sometimes that results in a theatrical cut that isn’t up to par. These alternate versions being released usually restore the vision of the filmmakers and end up being praised for additions and changes made. There are films that aren’t nearly as  lucky. It does bring to the forefront the question of how many films would actually be better if moments that were cut were left in or if they were cut for the right reasons. When Avengers Age of Ultron was rumored to have a lot of material cut fans wanted to know whether or not the film would get an extended cut and Joss Whedon struck that down. Not every film deserves or really needs an alternate cut, but some films really do need it. Whether to add in cool moments or to restore a director’s original intention with it they can be important. The superhero genre doesn’t have as many films with alternate versions, but with the amount of universe building and characters shown in these modern films taking the time to make them available to the public can be a great opportunity for improvement.

So what do you think of Alternate cuts? Is there a film you would like to see have an alternate cut? Let me know in the comments!

Christian Michael Stoic

Christian Michael Stoic

Christian Michael Stoic is a writer, filmmaker, and comic lover from Los Angeles, CA. Heroic Hollywood is his introduction into the world of Journalism which...

  • Ahmed Barakat

    Alternate cuts only exit because executives tamper with the vision of the director. In an ideal situation, there is only one cut: the director’s cut. In most cases the director’s cut is superior than the theatrical, and it is no surprise at all.

    BvS was a much better film at 3 hours because that was the complete movie. What if someone was releasing a book and at the last minute the publisher decided to trim down a 6th of it? that’s exactly what happened and Snyder took the fall for that mess.

    • Carl

      Yeah that Affleck butt shot really completed the film. Oh the prison stabbing explained why the Bat brand was a death sentence but not why Batman was actually doing it or continuing to do it oblivious to the deaths it caused in prison.

      • Joey Wabi-Sabi

        Wow, 30 minutes of extra footage and the only thing you remember is a 1-second shot of Batffleck’s butt. How many times did you watch that scene? Did you rewind it over and over again? Did you pause the screen so you could admire it? Lol jk….but if that’s your biggest takeaway from the UE, then you obviously weren’t paying attention.
        Since you were too distracted by that Bat-butt scene, let me explain the whole branding thing to you. Batman was NOT oblivious to prisoners getting killed. He was well aware, but he didn’t care. And he was probably glad that word was getting out about this. Because now he only has to threaten a criminal with the branding and they’ll talk much easier to avoid the “bat death sentence”. In regards to why he started doing this in the first place, or why he didn’t care about the prisoners getting killed, this is because Batman became a changed man after the events of MoS. He became angrier, deadlier. He was willing to do anything to prevent Superman from causing millions of more innocent deaths. And if that means killing a handful of criminals then so be it. ALL of this was explained very nicely in BOTH versions of the film.
        Let me know if you have any other questions.

        • Carl

          Having an explanation doesn’t mean that it makes sense. It all amounts to one of the worst adaptations of Batman ever. Makes sense because it goes with the awful Superman adaptation from MoS and BvS.

          Butt… yeah Affleck was a good actor in it and did great with the crap they gave him. I mention the butt shot because it was a useless scene to add just like the cops watching the football game. Proof that this version just throws everything back in, even stuff that any director would leave on the cutting room floor. It’s no Director’s cut nor a fix, if it was the Jolly Rancher scene would have been removed.

    • Monty

      There used to be a time, the 70’s, when movies were a director’s medium. Make no mistake, they are now the studio’s product. It’s a shame.

  • Carl

    The Daredevil director’s cut is a better film because it doesn’t just add more scenes, it adds a character building sub plot and cuts out some of the romance stuff.

    The BvS UE is only better if you liked the original. It doesn’t make the film better just adds a little more depth. They could have cut out a lot of useless or weak scenes.

    The real question that should be asked is what effect does this version have on the canon?

    • Joey Wabi-Sabi

      1.) The Ultimate Edition is critically acclaimed and praised by MANY critics and viewers who disliked the original. That’s a fact. Have you been hiding under a rock or something? You gotta catch up on your internet buzz before you make silly statements like that bro lol. If the UE was only liked by people who liked the original, this article would never have been written.
      2.) I’m not sure I understand what you mean by how this version affects canon? I can’t think of any drastic changes in the UE that would change canon. It’s not like they changed the ending, or the plot, or the villains, or the motives, or the characters names. Can you give an example?
      3.) I’ve never seen the Director’s Cut of Daredevil. I’ll have to check it out.

      • Carl

        No it’s only a few sites and people that bothered to review the UE and most of them were people who already liked the movie or couldn’t admit that they hated it.

        I saw the UE and it’s absolutely delusional to say that it somehow makes it a good movie. It does nothing to fix the major problems with the film.

        • Joey Wabi-Sabi

          It’s delusional to say it’s only a few people that changed their minds about the film. Where have you been?? This is currently a very hot topic right now, the fact that SO MANY people and critics who hated the film are now apologizing to Zack Snyder. It’s the whole reason this article was even written. This is not my opinion, this is a fact. Many many many people who hated the movie now LOVE the UE. Facts. End of story. For most critics, the biggest problem was the editing and incomplete plot points. This was all fixed with the UE.

  • E C F’N W

    X-Men: Days of Future Past (The Rogue Cut) is my favourite superhero movie ever…

    • Maximillian Pegasus

      X-2 is still better IMO.

  • Kingdom of Heaven is the ultimate example of how much a director’s vision can be compromised by studio interference.

    The Director’s Cut of Kingdom of Heaven is one of Ridley’s Scott’s greatest films. One of the best films of the last 20 years.

    The theatrical film is one of the worst films in 20 years.

    That’s how much editing and studio interference can matter.

    • Marybjones1

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  • razorstar90

    Can we stop acting like the BvS Ultimate Cut makes the movie the second coming of The Dark Knight. Lex is still insufferable, Superman’s characterization is still horrible 3. Batman uses guns and kills people 4 The conflict is incredibly contrived 5. The tone is nonsensical and borders on so dark it’s hammy etc etc etc.

    The movies is a debacle. The Ultimate cut makes it a bit better IF you liked the movie in the first place.

    • No, the Ultimate Edition actually makes it a better film overall, from a pacing, plotting, story, and characterization standpoint.

      I think it raises the film from a C-, C (not very good) to a B, B+ (on par with with the middle films that Marvel has made)

      But you’re kinda known for being an anti-DCEU troll around these parts, so I know it doesn’t really matter what I say in disagreement as it’s not likely to penetrate your troll hide. :-)

    • Monty

      Translation: “Can’t everyone just think what I think and do what I do?”

    • SAMURAI36

      Wow, it must be lonely for you right now. You were probably fine, when everyone was hating on BVS and DC, but now that most people have changed their minds, you must feel naked and ashamed, shivering with that paper thin critique about one of the greatest CBM’s of all time.

      Look everybody, let us mock and point at the shameful little boy!!

      LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL

      Now run away small child, before we inflict you with cigarette burns.

      • JMMagwood

        “Inflict you with cigarette burns.” LOL Good stuff.

      • razorstar90

        “Most People have changed their minds” Really? People say the ultimate cut is an improvement but the consensus is still the movie is bad.

  • Chris W

    Legend, Abyss, and Star Trek the Motion Picture are some great director cuts.

  • Maximillian Pegasus

    In my opinion, Days of Future Past theatrical cut is better than DoFP’s Rogue Edition.

  • TomDJ

    The Ultimate Cut definitely brought a lot of much needed sense to the film. I wish this was the film they released in theatres. Even with the R rating, it would have probably done a lot better.

  • Duvall Duvalle

    When discussing re-cuts, how soon we forget, the best ones of all in recent memory were the three Lord of the Rings films. They were vastly improved by the additional and lengthened scenes.