Not better, per se—it sacrifices focus. But it improves the ratio of cosmic to dramatic, adds scope, and even alters the meaning somewhat to become a more deeply optimistic film. It gives a sense of what the idea must have looked like on paper, and how the theatrical cut was bare essentials even if it didn't feel like it. You might say the two illuminate each other—and that the idea is too big to ever be perfected.
Malick's master poem on theodicy and beauty shines even brighter! So much of this new material feels necessary. We really get the sense that Brad Pitt's character is a human who wants to be like a god. The frame of old Jack's ennui and despair to the excitement and identity crisis of his youth makes more sense. Everyone feels more like a character than just an idea. I would be down for a 5 hour cut if there were one!
3 new shots that particularly stood out to me:
1. The turkey in the backyard as a modern parallel to the dinosaurs. (And yes, I wholeheartedly agree w/ Malick that turkeys are as amazing as dinosaurs.)
2. The depiction of the father's parents, further expanding the generational lineage of the characters. The film now feels even MORE immense in its scope and seeming inclusion of all things.