Why Warner Bros. Should’ve Released The Rated-R version of Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice

Well, Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice is already out and to say that most critics disliked the film would be putting it mildly. That’s not good, especially since this is the film that’s supposed to kick-off the entrance of more superheroes like Aquaman and Cyborg. As of this writing, the film has a aggregated score of 44 out of a possible 100 based on Metacritic and it currently has a Freshness/Rotten rating of 29%.

But a 79% high rating from fans. So, it's good, right?

But a 73% high rating from fans. So, it’s good, right?

Most critics have an issue with all the stuff that they tried to cram into the already lengthy 2-1/2 hour film. But would you be surprised to know that Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice was actually supposed to be 3 hours long? Yes, around 30 minutes were cut from the theatrical release because of violence. This was apparently done to lower the rating from the original R-rating due to excessive violence to the more tame PG-13.

In the back of my mind, I think the movie may have been more widely accepted by critics if the higher ups at Warner Bros. and DC Comics stuck with the original, more violent cut, of the movie. It’s not like audiences weren’t ready for another Rated-R superhero film. I mean, we all know how much people loved Deadpool! And it was Rated-R for all sort of reasons, extreme violence and gore included. And Deadpool was a much better movie for it!


But let’s go back to Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice and Warner Bros. decision to edit out the stuff that would make it a R-Rated film. I think they did it because, well, it’s a superhero film! They want the movie to reach as many audiences as possible and that definitely includes kids and teenagers. I’ve already wrote a piece as to why I think Hollywood now believes R-Rated films are box office poison and I definitely think it holds true for DC Comics latest superhero flick.

Was it a wise move? I’m guessing, from a financial perspective, yes. Getting Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice down to a PG-13 rating pretty much ensured people were going to see it despite the bad reviews. After all, this is a movie featuring Batman and Superman in the same film! And both of them are fighting each other? Well, who wouldn’t want to see DC Comics two biggest superheroes… heck, just the two biggest superheroes from all of comics throw down!

But, from a creative standpoint, maybe not. I think cutting the film up and leaving out 30 minutes may have had the unexpected consequence of making Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice kind of convoluted and difficult to follow. One of the most common reasons why critics hate the film is because it felt like they were trying to cram everything in 2-1/2 hours. They complained that things felt rushed or didn’t really fit into the story all that well. Well, if they didn’t cut out 30 minutes, maybe all those loose threads would make sense!

No matter how clever the editing or if you splice the movie up in a different way, the mere fact that you’re removing stuff from a movie means there’s a chance a very tightly woven story could unravel. Some plot points may have been explained or may have worked better if they left in that quick, possibly violent, scene instead of leaving it on the cutting room floor.

Case-in-point: The Daredevil film starring Ben Affleck!

The theatrical release of Daredevil was a much maligned film and rightly so. The plot was incredibly confusing and didn’t really make much sense. This was one of the reasons why fans were extremely wary of Ben Affleck portraying Batman! But, actually, if you watch the Director’s Cut of the film, it’s seems like Daredevil was a decent film! Sure, it wasn’t going to be memorable or anything but at least it was watchable! Why? Because the Director’s Cut gives a lot of nice little details that fleshes out the story! In fact, the Director’s Cut even explains how the police got enough evidence to arrest Wilson Fisk/Kingpin!

Now, this is just pure conjecture since no one’s really seen the R-Rated version of Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. But I really have the sneaking suspicion Warner Bros. left some things out that were critical to the overall plot of the film. Critics probably felt something was missing (which is true) and railed against how bad the story flowed.

Well, we’ll all find out if this is true when Warner Bros. released the unaltered version of the film in July on Blu-Ray. Maybe critics will pick it up, watch the Director’s Cut and actually see what they felt was missing with the theatrical release.

Would you pick up Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice on Blu-Ray just to see the R-Rated version of the film? Let me know in the comments section below!

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