This spring we’re going to see the fight the world has been waiting for in the film Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. The one we’ve been arguing about for the past fifty years. You guessed it, we’re finally going to find out who will win in a fight between Batman and Superman.
“In an all-out, to-the-death fight, who would win? Clearly Superman,” says Henry Cavill, who’ll be playing the Man of Steel in the epic dust up. “But that’s not Superman. He doesn’t agree with Batman’s idea of justice at any cost. He doesn’t want to stoop to Batman’s level. When confronted, he wants to solve the problem as cleanly as possible. So Batman immediately gains an advantage.”
But before we can find out definitively who would win, both characters have to be brought off the page and onto the big screen. So how do you make that happen?
Making a Superman
He can fly, shoot lasers and punch through solid steel. Unless someone turns up to auditions with actual superpowers, it’s a huge job realising Superman for the camera. So it’s not surprising that Cavill has spent a significant amount of time standing in front of a green screen, being blasted by wind and rain machines while he acts that heat beams are blasting out of his eyes.
But there is one thing about the Man of Steel that won’t need any special effects. The figure under that red and blue suit is pure Cavill. The 6’1” British actor has not only been looking after the chiselled physique we first saw in The Man of Steel, he’s even added a few pounds.
Which isn’t to say that Batman won’t also be looking stacked. Where Superman has his natural Kryptonian muscle, Batman has honed and trained his body for years. Ben Affleck will be going toe to toe with Superman in all his 6’2” glory, and the actor put on 25 pounds of muscle for the role. While Batman may be a mortal under those pointy ears and cape, he still needs to look every bit as mythic as his super counterpart.
Affleck tells us, “The audience has this larger-than-life expectation and everyone has their own sense of what Batman is, so you have to just be willing to take a risk and try to do something.”
Does Affleck look convincing in the role? There’s at least one young fan who’s convinced.
“My son thinks I am Batman,” Affleck says. “Literally.”
Equipping a Batman
But simply having a body like a Greek God isn’t going to be enough when you’re fighting someone who can fly into orbit and vaporise you from space with their eyes. So Batman is bringing a bit more to the party.
Perhaps it’s appropriate that while Superman’s powers are created using the latest high tech wizardry, Batman’s tools are far more grounded. The Batcave isn’t a green screen set, it isn’t even enhanced by CGI. The cave you are going to see in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice actually exists.
Inspired by bats (naturally), Bruce’s combined armoury, crime lab and refuge is entirely suspended from the cave ceiling. Production designer Patrick Tatopoulous says, “Everything is hanging in space – every workstation, even inside the shop. The only thing that touches the ground is the chair. This building is not even touching the ground. It’s all cantilevered on the outside.” Here in the world’s most famous secret hideout you can find the Bat costume, the weapons and tools that are fitted to that legendary utility belt, and of course, the Batmobile.
Just as with the Batcave, the Batmobile is a real car that you can drive. How does it handle? Well let’s ask Jeremy Irons, who’s playing Bruce’s butler, Alfred, and who took the car for a spin because… well, he wanted to.
“I was driving it in a very large, empty studio with walls all the way around, so I couldn’t do quite what I wanted with it – which I felt it was capable of,” Irons confesses. “But it was great to drive it. Great fun. I really wanted to get it outside … just to see if we could do a few donuts and that sort of thing.”
Unfortunately that’s not an option, as the Batmobile does lack one vital gadget that could be an issue for non-vigilante drivers. As director Zach Snyder says, “It doesn’t even have a license plate! That’d be a great headline: Jeremy Irons gets arrested in the Batmobile!”