Do you ever look at a film and think it could've been shorter? Are there scenes or moments that you think are just totally unnecessary and seem like filler? I have this thought from time to time, and whilst it's not a massive bug, I get the feeling that some films could've been just that bit better, or in some cases not as awful, if their runtime was shortened.
Case in point, last year's divisive superhero blockbuster, #BatmanVSuperman #DawnofJustice I, for one, enjoyed this film a lot, I gave it a solid 8/10. Dazzling visuals, epic action sequences, great performances, particularly from Affleck, Irons and Gadot, and some decent story beats. Where the film stalled was its padded runtime and a handful of sequences that just felt out of place or useless. After rewatching this film for the fifth time, I took a mental note of every moment or scene that wasn't needed. Yes some of these scenes make more sense when watching the extended version of the film, but I'm strictly talking about the theatrical release.
Can we just agree that any scene involving Jeremy Irons' Alfred is wicked?
This is going to be the first of *coining new title* "Trim The Fat" articles, where I look at moments and sequences that could easily have been purged in films, starting with #ZackSnyder's #DawnofJustice.
Coming in at 151 minutes, let's get trimming.
151 minutes - Let's start with that scene of Diana Prince opening the email revealing the future Justice League members. Whilst I didn't dislike this scene, it isn't needed, it doesn't do anything for the plot. What happened to the olden days when films like James Bond, the earlier ones, used to roll credits with "James Bond will return in...". Instead of franchise building and obvious fan service, as seen here, how about a little teaser in the form of text like: "The Batman will return in Justice League", and then have each respective Justice League member have their symbols fade in. This would've shaved off 2 minutes of screen-time.
149 minutes - Kevin Costner is a brilliant actor, and having him play Johnathan Kent, Clark's father, was a great choice for the Man of Steel. Having died in that film, bringing him back in Dawn of Justice did nothing but add more minutes to the runtime, this scene just sees Henry Cavill's Cal El mope about atop a mountain as his father stacks bricks monologuing. Chop chop these two minutes.
147 minutes - We all know how Batman/Bruce Wayne's parents died, and we've seen it many times onscreen to know he has lost everything despite his riches. Dawn of Justice may add a visually unique style to Martha and Thomas Wayne's death but it's all in slow motion, and is repeated when Batman finds out Superman's mother is also named Martha, leading to flashbacks that really rally up the minutes, causing eye-rolling to move like a wave from viewer to viewer. I really think that the "WHY DID YOU SAY THAT NAME?" scene would've been less cringe if the flashbacks weren't thrown in, it's adding insult to injury, we know what happened, we know the names, to me, it's the flashbacks and opening death scene that need to be chopped, saving us from five minutes of repetitive boredom.
142 minutes - Now, that ending. It's a theatrical ending when Superman dies, and to see Wonder Woman, Batman and Lois Lane standing over his body is a wicked and haunting image. It's the scenes after that pile on top of each other, never ending. I like seeing Lex's hair being shaved off as he is imprisoned, but we don't need the scene of him being confronted by Batman. It would've been more personal to just see Lois Lane mourning Superman followed by citizens of Metropolis holding candles to Superman's grave. Shaving off this excess five minutes would've meant a snappier, more smooth ending that held onto the power of Superman's shocking death.
137 minutes - The Flash makes a surprise appearance to warn Bruce Wayne what a world with Superman in power would look like. The actual fight choreography when Batman attacks armed gunman is fantastic, mostly in one take, it would be perfect in a standalone feature, because here in Dawn of Justice it serves nothing to the plot. Superman then kills Batman, and then Bruce Wayne witnesses The Flash's warning, all this crammed into about five minutes of gorgeous visuals but no purpose.
Most exposition filled flashback related piece of dialogue ever?
132 minutes - Why kidnap Lois only to push her off a tower and then get safely caught by Superman? I like Lex's line "That is a three syllable word for any thought too big for little minds", but that's it. Again, this scene doesn't push the movie forwards, the threat is absent cause we know Supes is going to fly in and catch Lois, save us these four minutes and just have Superman confront Lex himself.
128 minutes - And lastly, I like the montage of Superman saving ships and spaceships, but the lengthy news reports, and Clark Kent watching them goes on for too long, we know how the world feels about Superman, as well as how Wayne feels about Superman, do we need the thoughts of every human being forced down our throats every five minutes? We also don't need these collective scenes all in all, shaving off 3 minutes roughly.
Well, I'm sure there are those who'd love to see more of Dawn of Justice cut out, but any more and the story may make no sense at all, even at its most basic narrative arc.
From 151 minutes down to 128 minutes, it makes all the difference. Imagine 2016 when this film came out and this was the length of the film? Would the reviews be different, would it have made more money? It would've cost a few million less by removing these scenes, but the film still made a stellar $870,000,000 plus!
What do you think of my cuts to Dawn of Justice? Share your thoughts below!
Next up - #TransformersAgeofExtinction