Of all the people squeezing into a superhero costume for Batman v Superman, Henry Cavill had the best starting point after still being in shape from getting trained up for Man of Steel.
His trainer, Mark Twight, was impressed with how Cavill had kept himself in shape since the first film.
“He has trained himself into a condition of having genuine horsepower,” the trainer says. “Henry’s ideas for what he can do with his body have completely changed.” Indeed, Cavill’s new found strength has been seen on and off the screen, with the actor running up Gibraltar Rock to raise funds for the Royal Marines in 2014.
That didn’t mean Cavill could slack off for Batman vs Superman however. The man of steel in this was going to be bigger and bulkier than ever. Once pre-production began on the film Cavill worked with Michael Blevins to build up the muscle.
“Together, Michael and I worked on a mass gain program, which would result in me being 20lbs heavier than I was even during the peak of my mass gain on ‘Man of Steel,’” Cavill explains. “We then went through the leaning process to bring me down to shooting weight, which was achieved through performance-based training as well as conditioning.”
Considering that he was going to be squaring off against Cavill in the film, and without the advantage of a previous superhero movie to beef him up, Ben Affleck had his work cut out for him to prepare for Batman v Superman. Especially since he had compensate for Superman’s solar powered super strength with raw muscle.
“It was important to me that Batman be bigger because Superman is infinitely stronger than the best that humanity has to offer,” explains director Zack Snyder. “Theoretically, the best that man can do is still nothing in the face of Superman, but I wanted him to look like he stands a chance.”
To prepare, Ben Affleck spent over a year training for the role, focusing not just on building up the muscle, but on being fast and flexible enough to pull off those trademark Bat-combat moves.
“I had to get into really great shape and I had to be as flexible as possible,” Affleck says. “In some ways, the work before the film was more taxing than working on the film itself.”
However, the training for Batman v Superman wasn’t just about how the heroes look, but how they moved. Gal Gadot had an advantage here, with her time serving in the Israeli army already giving her a grounding in combat training. Second unit director and stunt coordinator Damon Caro built on that training for the film.
“We did a lot of martial arts drills, working with her stances, footwork, punching drills, kicking drills, and so forth,” he says. “We mainly focused on her weapons training— specifically sword and shield.”
This was essential, as more than Superman or even Batman, Wonder Woman is the warrior of the DC trinity. And who knows? In the fight between Batman and Superman, she might just come out on top…