I'll start this off by saying I'm a huge fan of the original movie, even though I agree with the majority of the criticism that's been thrown around. Which is why I was very excited to check this edit out. As I was reading through all the changes, it sounded like it fixes everything wrong with the movie while simultaneously introducing new elements that elevate the narrative. Well, now that I've seen it, does it actually do so? Kinda.
The first act is probably the one that suffered the most changes. I really enjoyed the new order of the scenes as it allowed for some interesting juxtaposition. However, this act also has my two least favourite scenes: the oil rig and the Africa ones. Firstly, the additions to the oil rig sequence were a bit jarring and I feel like it didn't make any sense to show who is implied to be Keefe being dragged to safety after the entire rig collapses on Clark. It would have been better if this was either added before Clark rescues the workers or just removed entirely from this scene since we see it again later in the movie and it works much better with that later scene. Secondly, just the cut to the Africa scene is so jarring. We see Lois in Smallville talking with Clark at his dad's grave and then we immediately cut to her being in Africa with not Jimmy Olsen. Additionally, seeing KJ Beast shoot up the mercenaries was again weird because that whole subplot is removed.
After those two though comes probably my favourite part of the edit - the Capitol subplot. I love its addition to the story and I believe it exponentially strengthens the themes of this movie.
The only other thing that's left to talk about is the last quarter of the edit; it's the only part from the rest of it that has any significant changes. And some of them unfortunately don't work. Cutting Perry and co. from the Metropolis attack removes a lot of the suspense from the first half of the fight. On a brighter note though, I really liked the new and extended ending.
Overall I'd say that despite introducing new problems in an of itself this edit is really good. It might've sounded like I didn't like it throughout this review but I genuinely enjoyed my time with it and would definitely recommend it to others.
The good: Technically flawless editing and nice trimming of some of Snyder's misplaced angst.
The nits: Although the idea of fleshing out the action on the oil rig with footage from DEEPWATER HORIZON to set up the later inclusion of the Capitol subplot from BATMAN v SUPERMAN was interesting, it doesn't really work for me, and led to what I feel were some awkward editing choices and plot holes.
For example, samspider3 has moved the scene at the Canadian bar so that it now occurs prior to the sequence with the Alaskan fishing boat and the oil rig. But at the bar, Clark overhears the Canadian soldiers talking about the discovery of the alien craft on Ellesmere Island, so when he quits his job at the bar and begins hitchhiking north, why did he take the time to make a side trip to get a job on an Alaskan fishing boat? I've looked at a map of Ellesmere Island, and there's nowhere in Canada that will take you through Alaska to get there. It would be like going from Houston to Chicago by way of Seattle, without the advantage of gaining any frequent flyer miles.
And speaking of frequent flyers, what's the deal with all of the helicopters? In the extended oil rig footage, we open on a helicopter approaching an oil rig which is clearly labeled as the Deepwater Horizon (which was never stationed in the Arctic and is therefore as out of place as the Titanic would have been). But who's on the helicopter and why is it flying towards the oil rig? We never find out. It obviously has nothing to do with the explosion on the rig, as we see the explosion occur a short time later. Then, after the explosion, we have a separate U.S. Coast Guard helicopter making "one more pass" by the rig to look for survivors when Clark brings the crewmen out on the helipad. After the rig is apparently destroyed, we get some more footage from another movie (DEEPWATER HORIZON again?) suggesting that at least two crewmen have been left behind, one with his legs injured, which nicely sets up a motive for the later tacked on bit of the explosion at the Capitol building. But who saved these last two crewmen? The Coast Guard helicopter had already made its last pass, the rig's blown up and Clark's communing with the undersea whales.
Later, when Clark swims ashore in Alaska, he looks up and sees yet another helicopter (this one orange in color) flying overhead, which apparently gives him pause for thought. Is this supposed to be some rogue helicopter that somehow saved the two abandoned crewmen after the rig was destroyed? While pondering this question, we immediately cut to yet another helicopter (of a different color) landing on Ellesmere Island with Lois Lane on board, where she's met by Clark. Maybe it was Lois in the orange helicopter? It's all a bit confusing.
And all of this was added just to set up the tacked on bit from BATMAN v SUPERMAN, which while it does add a bit of depth to Superman's character, feels episodic because it isn't integrated into any other parts of the movie. If this scene had been originally included in MAN OF STEEL, as a fan editor I'd have cut it because it doesn't really add anything to the plot.
I imagine this sounds a bit harsh but it isn't really meant to be. Overall I liked this cut better than the release version of the film. And given the higher scores left by other reviewers, I'm probably in the minority on this.