BATMAN V SUPERMAN stunt coordinator offers details on iconic fight, Batman's martial arts

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If you’re not a comic book fan, then you probably find the idea of Batman – a normal guy in a flying-rodent suit – fighting Superman – an invulnerable alien sun god – quite laughable. But as comic book geeks have known for years, Batman can go toe to toe with anybody, because, well, he’s the goddamn Batman! Correction: he’s the goddamn kung-fu fightin’ Batman! At least that’s the impression we get from Guillermo Grispo, a stunt co-ordinator on the upcoming Batman v Superman: Donner hom, Justin!

Grispo, who has done fight and stunt choreography for director Zack Snyder on 300, Sucker Punch and Man of Steel, conducted an interview with Spanish website Los Andes Diario (translated by Batman-News) and shed some light on how they are approaching that iconic fight scene.

“It’s one of the most important sequences and I was actively involved in the design of the fight: the exchange of punches and the physical movement were put together with my partner Ryan Watson. There’s a thought that Batman has no chance, that [Superman] will squash him like a bug. But when you see the movie, and how it all comes out, there’s a very intelligent explanation as to why they would have a firsthand confrontation though it seems to be totally to Batman’s disadvantage.”

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In “The Dark Knight Returns”, Frank Miller’s classic comic which is heavily influencing this movie, Superman is sent by the US President to take down an unruly Batman. The Dark Knight knows that Supes is coming for him, so he levels the playing field by not only carefully preparing the battlefield, but also donning a Kryptonite ring and a special suit of cyber-armour. We’ve already seen a glimpse of that armour in the first teaser for Batman v Superman, so we know that’s in the movie, but they’ve apparently now also brought Batman’s much vaunted (in the comics, at least) hand-to-hand combat skills into the equation for the movie.

“…Now Batman is going to fight the way I’ve always dreamed seeing him fight… he’s a character so prepared in martial arts that you can do a lot of things with him, but filmmakers usually don’t go all the way with it. Even in the last Nolan movies the action scenes aren’t very good from a technical, martial arts point of view to things like choreography, filming, bad camera movements…

But hey, don’t get me wrong, Nolan is great, my hat’s off to him. He makes fascinating stories, but I think that he did not pay too much attention to the fights. Those are the kind of details that [director Zack Snyder], being so physical himself, loves preparing. I think there’s going to be a big difference when you see these Batman fights in comparison to the previous ones.”

No disrespect to Mr. Grispo, but that’s not entirely true. Nolan did in fact bring in several hand-to-hand experts who devised a custom fighting system composed of a few different martial arts that made use of Batman’s armour for maximum damage (notice how much he attacks with his bladed forearms) while working around the mobility limitations of his suit. The problem is that Nolan shot most of it too close, so you couldn’t properly see what Batman was doing most of the time. Well, that and the fact that he kept having guys running from across the room with their handguns held in front of them, so that they were in range for Batman to easily disarm them, instead of, you know, just shooting him from where they were standing.

But if Snyder and co are making use of a more fluid and kinetic martial arts where you can clearly see all of the bone-crunching action – think Batman: The Raid – then I am definitely all for it.

Last Updated: January 21, 2015

Kervyn Cloete

A man of many passions - but very little sleep - I've been geeking out over movies, video games, comics, books, anime, TV series and lemon meringues as far back as I can remember. So show up for the geeky insight, stay for the delicious pastries.

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