A Su­per show­down

Af­fleck and Cav­ill do jus­tice to their roles

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The Caped Cru­sader ver­sus the Man of Steel – the tag prom­ises the great­est glad­i­a­tor match on earth, or in this case, in the DC Comics uni­verse.

Bat­man v Su­per­man: Dawn of Jus­tice is the cross­over su­per­hero bat­tle fans have been wait­ing for. And even though there’s been crit­i­cism about the movie from the start (poor choice of cast and cheesy trail­ers) there’s no doubt both Ben Af­fleck and Henry Cav­ill went above and be­yond for their al­ter egos.

Fans groaned ‘Why Ben?’ when he was an­nounced as Bruce Wayne. He bombed as Dare­devil back in 2003 and Chris­tian Bale did an awe­some job in the Dark Knight tril­ogy, which Af­fleck is well aware of: “I wouldn’t have done it if it was just ar­bi­trar­ily some su­per­hero movie, but this is a very dif­fer­ent kind of Bat­man.” He de­scribes his char­ac­ter as “More bro­ken, not slick. He’s fill­ing the hole in his soul with th­ese in­creas­ingly morally ques­tion­able night-time ex­cur­sions – fight­ing crime as well as by be­ing this play­boy.”

Pre­par­ing for the part wasn’t easy, be­cause aside from mus­cle-build­ing work­outs to fit the black cowl and suit, the 43-year-old is go­ing through some per­sonal is­sues too. His 10-year mar­riage, with Jen­nifer Garner, ended last year re­port­edly be­cause of his in­fi­delity and gam­bling. He has also been busy writ­ing, di­rect­ing and act­ing in the up­com­ing crime flick Live By Night. “The urge of mak­ing it good and try­ing to make sure that it works, that you’ve done the most in­ter­est­ing ver­sion you can – it’s like a neu­ro­sis that drives me to work ev­ery day,” he says of film­mak­ing.

But at the end of the day, it’s re­ally about the out­come: “Even in the tough spots, if your movies are good, peo­ple will see them. And if you’re not good, you can’t get away with it. Even­tu­ally it catches up to you. Both ways, good and bad.”

Co-star Cav­ill, 32, who plays Clark Kent aka the son of Kryp­ton, may al­ready have the en­vi­able physique, but felt he had to do more for this par­tic­u­lar film. “I had to work dou­bly hard in the gym, be­cause I knew I was go­ing up against Ben, and Bat­man. I had to make sure that I was a fair match.”

Like Af­fleck, Cav­ill un­der­stands his char­ac­ter’s strug­gles. “I re­ally think the Su­per­man story is a tale of self-dis­cov­ery. In some way that jour­ney was quite sim­i­lar, in dis­cov­er­ing my ca­pac­ity and the con­fi­dence that comes with be­ing phys­i­cally ca­pa­ble and stronger than I’ve ever been be­fore.”

And though he ap­pre­ci­ates the fe­male at­ten­tion, he says he’s un­com­fort­able with the cat­calls, es­pe­cially when he’s around 19-year-old girl­friend Tara King. “I do think there’s a bit of a dou­ble stan­dard, you know. I mean, if a girl shouts some­thing like ‘Oi, love...’ to me as I walk past I do some­times won­der how she’d feel if a builder said that to her. Al­though, of course, I wouldn’t feel phys­i­cally threat­ened, as she might.”

FACE OFF: Di­rec­tor Zack Sny­der’s Bat­man v Su­per­man, star­ring Ben Af­fleck and Henry Cav­ill,

is out in cin­e­mas to­day

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