Best Superhero Director’s Cuts You Can Stream Now
Superman II – The Richard Donner Cut
After shooting about three-quarters of the script, Superman director Richard Donner was removed from the sequel after he severely clashed with producers over the tone of the film. Donner was advocating for a darker and moodier Superman while the studio wanted to ramp up the camp. Richard Lester (who would immediately go on to direct Superman III) was brought in and promptly reshot almost the entire movie. The Donner footage became the stuff of cult legend for Man of Steel fans, and finally saw the light of day when Warner Bros. released it – edited together with some of the Lester scenes for continuity – as a complete alternate version of the film back in 2006. Despite its unfinished nature, it’s regarded by many as the superior incarnation of the movie.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – Extended Cut or Ultimate Edition
In Batman v Superman’s extended cut, R-rated violence reins supreme while a ton of axed story moments and character beats find their way back into the mega-mix. Lois Lane becomes a more pivotal character when Lex Luthor’s plot to frame Superman in explored more thoroughly. We see Superman asking Gotham citizens about Batman, Lex communicating with Steppenwolf, Jena Malone’s Jenet Klyburn, and learn that Lois’ “camera man,” who met his gruesome end in Africa, was Jimmy Olsen. Despite Batman v Superman’s lengthy theatrical runtime, many fans still felt there were too many plot points missing. This cut fills all that in.
Daredevil – Director’s Cut
While 2003’s Daredevil will always have its flaws, no matter how much footage you add to it, the 2004 release of the Director’s Cut is widely regarded as being better simply because it shows Matt Murdock being a lawyer, engrossed in a trial where he’s defending a wrongly-accused man (played by Coolio) whose case has big Kingpin ramifications. With 30 minutes of new footage, Matt feels like a more well-rounded character, the love story between him and Elektra actually plays better, and the entire film feels like it has a better though line.
Sin City – Recut, Extended, and Unrated Cut
Robert Rodriguez’s “Extended and Uncut” version of Sin City took his dazzling, uber-violent adaptation of Frank Miller’s graphic novel and added a bunch of new scenes to the sordid saga – while also fully separating each of the stories into their own mini-movie (instead of weaving them into each other). There’s a case to be made for either version though fans who’d like to experience the three main tales (plus the Josh Hartnett hitman scene) separately, with extra storyline moments sprinkled in, will definitely love this reshuffling of the deck.
Watchmen – Directors Cut and Ultimate Cut
Watchmen, for the longest time, was widely regarded as unadaptable simply because the graphic novel was so dense with story. With that said, it’s no surprise that Zack Snyder’s ambitious 2009 film had a ton of footage shoved to the sidelines. Hence, the “Director’s Cut” and the “Ultimate Cut” are both available to check out. The Director’s Cut, which Snyder himself prefers to the Ultimate Cut, has 20 minutes of added footage that help flesh out the complex, labyrinthine story with extra plot details and, sometimes, longer scenes. The Ultimate Cut has all that plus the addition of the animated short film “Tales of the Black Freighter” (with Gerard Butler’s voice) mixed into the movie in the way the comics used the Freighter story. Snyder has said though that he never created moments within the film that felt like natural Freighter breaks so the intermittent splicing in of the animation isn’t the most ideal version to watch.
X-Men: Days of Future Past – Rogue Cut
The “Rogue Cut” of Days of Future Past is just what it sounds like. It’s the acclaimed X-Men film with an entire Rogue subplot — featuring the return of Anna Paquin to the franchise — added back in. Instead of Rogue just curiously appearing briefly toward the end of the film, she’s given a whole story as Magneto and Iceman rescue her from being held captive in the in the old X-Mansion. Seventeen minutes of film are added back in as we also see a side story involving Beast and Mystique along with bits and pieces that just help flesh the film out a bit more. It’s a cool instance of an already great movie being made better by having its cruelly shaved parts put back in.
The Wolverine – Unleashed Extended Edition
This R-rated cut (snikt!) of 2013’s The Wolverine, from Logan’s James Mangold, adds more carnage and more F-bombs to what, at the time, stood as the best X-Film since X2. It’s a bloodier, more savage affair complete with additional scenes, extended ninja fights, and buckets more blood. This was the first unrated, uncut special edition in the X-franchise, giving fans a rabidly more violent Wolvie.