According to reports, Warner Brothers is preparing an R-rated directors cut(on Blu Ray) for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. The report has sparked a lot of discussion over the last couple days. Some love the idea of an R-rated version, while others hate it. I think all the discussion over a director’s cut really exemplifies today’s hyper-nitpicky movie media. Despite that, I feel that the director’s cut news deserves to be examined, because there are a couple important things I have to say about it.
Do I like that Zack Snyder has an R-rated director’s cut of Batman v Superman? Hell no. Can you take any guesses as to why I feel this way? Well, I feel that if Snyder was able to edit certain R-rated elements out of the theatrical release, then we could end up getting another superhero flick with far too much focus on darkness and grit. Yes it’s just a director’s cut, but the director’s cut of Batman v Superman shouldn’t be R. I feel like it’s a way to push the limits of a superhero film. It might also signal another example of DC going for grit, instead of balance. Ever since Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, film companies and filmmakers have tried to replicate Nolan’s success with mixed results. Nolan’s Batman films had a distinct non-superhero feel, he made Batman human. At the same time however, Nolan took out everything that made superhero films great. As I’ve mentioned, various studios and filmmakers have attempted to replicate Nolan’s unique superhero view. In my opinion, filmmakers keep trying to solve an unsolvable formula, I call it the Nolan equation. The equation = add a dark filter that distorts the natural color of the film + strip the fun out of the film (jokes, happiness, even a smile) + increase the hardship that the characters have to endure. I’m sick of directors that think they can copy and paste the Nolan equation into any superhero film, and expect great results. Nolan’s Batman trilogy was great because it was a new take on the superhero genre, one that stripped us of the man in the cape (mostly), and gave us a unique look at the man behind the mask. Films like The Dark Knight are great, but audiences don’t always want their heroes to embrace the darkness. There are only a few superheroes where an R-rated film would work. Those include; Wolverine(Wolverine 3 might be R-rated), Deadpool, Batman, Blade, Spawn, etc. See, it would actually work for Batman because he is sort of an anti-hero. However Batman v Superman is not the type of film where I want Batman to disfigure limbs and break necks. Batman has a no kill rule, when did we forget along the way that these superheroes were supposed to represent the good in humanity? Yes I know it’s basically Batman AND Superman in the film, but from the looks of the trailers, Snyder appears to have ruined Superman again. You have to be able to contrast the darkness/light between Batman and Superman. Superman’s first attempt at breaking the Nolan equation did not work out so well. Man of Steel sits at 56% on Rotten Tomatoes, and it only grossed $600 million domestically. You know why? Because Superman is incompatible with the Nolan equation, only Batman and a couple other superheroes can fit in the equation. Here, check out this video.
There’s also a couple other possibilities. Maybe Superman accidentally said the f word after a long day at the office. Honestly the R-rating could just be from profanity, nudity, certain types of violence, etc. There could be a lot of harmless reasons as to why the cut is R, or maybe I’m just worrying too much. One possibility could be related to the fact that Bruce Wayne is still tormented by the death of Jason Todd. I feel there might be a torture scene in the director’s cut, that involves Todd and the Joker.
I think that would be an interesting story development, but I really just hate the fact that everything has to be dark, and a torture scene would be an example of the variables that make up the Nolan equation.
For the most part, the reports are not connected to the explosive success of Deadpool. Deadpool opened in theaters nationwide on February 12th, 2016, that’s a year and a couple months after Batman v Superman wrapped production (12/5/14). I am 99% sure that Batman v Superman required a full year to edit and cut. So there was no possible way that Warner Bros told Snyder to spice the film up in response to the success of Deadpool. However there is one plausible connection to Deadpool. I believe that since Deadpool was loved by audiences and critics alike, it was easier for Warner Bros to make a decision on the director’s cut release of Batman v Superman. I guess an R-rating might be sexier.
Overall while I hate this move, there’s always the potential that I’m wrong about the fate of Batman v Superman (in this case, I hope to be). For all we know, Batman v Superman could turn out to be the best superhero film of all time. No one would care about the director’s cut if that were the case, because all we want is the film to be what we’ve waited all this time for.