One of the most heavily anticipated films on the horizon is next year’s “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice”. The sequel to 2013’s “Man of Steel”, the film will serve as the second installment of the DC cinematic universe, bringing together all the iconic characters from the pages of DC Comics in a similar manner to the Marvel cinematic universe. The film will mark the first ever big screen team-up of Batman and Superman, together known as the “World’s Finest”, and will also serve as the cinematic debut of Wonder Woman. Virtually all other details of the film itself are being guarded even more tightly than Fort Knox. Except for one – according to fight choreographer Guillermo Grispo, this film’s version of Batman’s fighting style will be the best audiences have ever seen.
In a recent interview, Grispo outlines how Batman’s martial arts skills will differ from his previous cinematic portrayals:
“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 Zack, 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.”
While the Batman films of the past have varied in overall quality from phenomenal (“The Dark Knight”) to nearly destroying superhero films for good (“Batman and Robin”), most of us will probably agree that their fight choreography could have been a lot better. The action scenes in the 1960’s “Batman” television series and film adaptation generally didn’t rise above games of tag with closed fists save for the cross over with “The Green Hornet”, and we all know just WHO made the action of that cross over memorable!
Later on, the first four modern outings for the Caped Crusader helmed by Tim Burton and Joel Schumacher were hampered in terms of their action scenes by the extremely cumbersome batsuit (the wearer couldn’t so much as turn his head due to the cowl that was built into it). Christopher Nolan’s Batman films, which introduced the world to the Keysi Fighting Method, got progressively better as they went along in terms of fight sequences, but there was still plenty of room to improve. Batman, after all, is one of the best martial artists in the DC Universe, training for decades to build himself up to the level he would need to be in order to clean up Gotham City. The upcoming DC Cinematic Universe has a real opportunity to depict not just Batman, but all of the DC heroes as the kind of fighters fans truly know them to be. In the comics, Wonder Woman is an Amazonian Princess raised from birth to be a warrior, while Superman has received martial arts training from Batman and Wonder Woman along with being well-versed in several Kryptonian fighting styles himself. All this isn’t even getting into what a tough guy Aquaman is!
We’ll know more about it when we get the first trailer, but Grispo’s words are really encouraging to martial arts fans and lovers of the art of screen fighting. It’s pure speculation, but there are two possible templates that it sounds like “Batman v Superman” may be drawing some inspiration from- the acclaimed television series “Arrow”, and the first two “Blade” movies. The former consistently has the best fight sequences of any live-action series on television at the moment, while the latter holds the distinction of having by far the best fight choreography of any superhero films. Either one would serve as a fantastic template for “Batman v Superman” – just take a look below!