SUPERMAN VS. BATMAN PART 2: 1-1 With Dark Knight Returns Director Jay Oliva

In this second excerpt from an interview with Dark Knight Returns director Jay Oliva, we continue our look at the momentous battle that takes place between Batman and Superman. Accompanying the interview are a number of animatic storyboards used as a foundation for the final animation.

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By EdGross - 3/6/2013
JAY OLIVA: One of the things I wanted to do in the fight between Batman and Superman was have as many gadgets as I possibly could in there without making it look ridiculous. We had the sonic gun, which was like the comic; we wanted the electricity bit, but I wanted to add the thing where he’s attached himself to the grid of Gotham City so it’s not just the suit that gets electrified, which makes more sense. We saw lightning hurt Superman, so now we see this electrical thing - which means, ok, these are some of the things that can affect Superman in this universe. I always like the idea that when it comes right down to it, this is just a fisticuff fight. One of things that Mel [storyboard artist Mel Zwyer] had put into the fight was that little bit where they fall into the construction yard and one of those I-beams falls. Then Superman is flying at him at full speed and slams right into it. It was one of those great moments, and that’s when I told Mel we should keep going. At that point there were these steam roller trucks, so we had Batman grab the rollers and slam the trucks together, freeing the rollers which he then uses as boxing gloves. It was cool to work out the kind of beats that I wanted to see during that fight and to keep the fight itself raw.

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VOICES FROM KRYPTON: Which are the bits that completely draw you into the fight as an audience.

JAY OLIVA: Well, one of the one thing we do with all of our DTVs and all of our DC animated stuff is that we all always put ourselves into the place of the superheroes, and ask ourselves what would these characters do in this situation, and then try to think of all of the questions that the audience members or ourselves would have during the fight. You know, why doesn’t he pick up that gun? Why doesn’t he use this? If he’s always had this power, why didn’t he start with that? That’s one of the things I like to do - whenever I do fights, I always like to use the biggest thing you have right away and then once you show that it doesn’t work, at that point the audience feels like, "OK, there’s still so much at stake now; the best thing that he could throw at the guy doesn’t work, I don’t know how it’s going to end."

VOICES FROM KRYPTON: There have been so many fights in these films, yet this one seemed different from the others in a lot of ways.

JAY OLIVA: A lot of the fans think, "Oh, do it exactly like the comic." In a lot of ways that's what I did, just because of my love for the source material. I think, "If it's not broke, don't fix it," and for people who have read the original graphic novel, I have to have those pieces in there. But then I have to shake it up. I did this fight sequence for Wolverine and the X-Men, I did a sequence where Wolverine fights Archangel for the very first time in this high-rise building. One of the things I wanted to do was re-enact the panels from a classic – it’s called classic now, but when I was a kid it wasn’t a classic – Jim Lee comic book when Wolverine was fighting Archangel and Genosha or something like that. I remember as a kid that was the most awesome fight sequence and I wanted to try to reinvent those panels for the animated fight. So of course I go back to the comic book and I open it up, and it’s all of four panels. My brain had filled in all the coolness in that scene, even though there were these four or five panels that were really great, but in my mind it was a much bigger fight. So with The Dark Knight Returns, that was one of the things I did: we looked at the comic and we were, like, "This isn’t very long. How do we keep this going?"

For the rest of this interview, please click HERE.
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28 Comments
KarlRobinofEarth2 - 3/6/2013, 5:50 AM
My favorite thing in comics is when bats beats the hell out of Clark, the movie executed it flawlessly. Bravo!
RPD - 3/6/2013, 5:53 AM
Superman needs to stomp a mudhole in Bruce's ass. Anybody with any sense knows the only way Bats can win is through some kinda bullshit...
MartianSupermanhunter22 - 3/6/2013, 6:01 AM
Superman would own bats in almost any situation. I'm so sorry bat-fans.
codydriscollsrightarm - 3/6/2013, 6:38 AM
Actually, it's not. I'd say that, at least, it's a draw. The only time Supes fought Batman without holding back (when Max Lord was mind controlling) he took Bruce out pretty quickly.
Godzillafart - 3/6/2013, 6:50 AM
It was great when Bruce bested Clark in The Dark Knight Returns, because it had never happened, seemed pretty much impossible and Miller made it plausible.

Now it seems to happen fairly often...which is dumb as hell.
rogmel - 3/6/2013, 6:50 AM
I really feel in the minority about this movie because I thought both parts 1 and 2 were horrible.

The Joker wasn't maniacal enough (sure he shot a lot of people, but the voice was just all wrong). And Superman with the Eagle on his arm.....zombie looking Reagan...and Robin's damn glasses/goggles. And can ANYONE shoot a damn gun and hit a target besides the Joker?

I found myself waiting, NO, WANTING both parts to just end.
rogmel - 3/6/2013, 7:10 AM
@Gusto

I think I may rewatch it in the next few weeks back-to-back. Perhaps with everyone's glowing reviews on this site I was expecting too much and didn't feel it delivered. Now that I've seen it I know what to expect and I can enjoy it more.
thewolfx - 3/6/2013, 7:39 AM
@karlkingnerd


You sound like you hate logic and commonsense


I bet you conveniently forgot the many times superman almost killed batman huh..
Action - 3/6/2013, 7:58 AM
This is one DC animated feature that was almost better then the graphic novel. Epic fight scene!
KarlRobinofEarth2 - 3/6/2013, 8:38 AM
1. Yeah every fight they've had was a draw, bats is usually the one standing and he could have killed Clark just as many times as Clark could have offer him 2. No comic has ever happened so continuity hardly matters 3 Bruce made the plan to get Clark where he wanted him and made the arrow for Ollie
KarlRobinofEarth2 - 3/6/2013, 8:53 AM
I'll agree but only if there was absolutely no prep time, batman has taken on Amazo alone and beaten him and he's got everyone's powers.
KarlRobinofEarth2 - 3/6/2013, 9:39 AM
A cyborg with all of superman's powers and more. Superman has died just like everyone else in comics, and what makes a cyborg less valid than an alien?
KarlRobinofEarth2 - 3/6/2013, 10:04 AM
I bow to your superior logic sir. Hail Gusto. I'm calling this a draw, just like Clark v Bruce.
KarlRobinofEarth2 - 3/6/2013, 11:01 AM
I wouldn't say telling someone to give up on being a hero was talking sense to him, especially since he ends up working for Bruce. Also supes didn't know bats was faking his death till the end.
AstroZombie - 3/6/2013, 11:01 AM
It wasn't a real fight, or Superman would've clobbered Batman easily. Clark was just trying to talk some sense into Bruce, but Bruce kept attacking him and pissing him off, so Clark gave him a few good shots to settle his ass down some. In the end though, it was all staged for the Government. Bats and Supes put on a wrestling match for good old Ronnie Reagan. Bats just needed to make it look good, so that his plan to fake his death and go underground would work. Bruce couldn't resist sticking it to Clark a little with that Kryptonite arrow though, just to prove a point.
KarlRobinofEarth2 - 3/6/2013, 11:06 AM
And once again I'll say it, I agree that if superman and batman met and fought randomly, sure Bruce would die but if he had an inkling that it'd happen he'd be ready. That's why the synthetic kryptonite exists. You can hardly begrudge him for using something to level the playing field being that he's fighting essentially a god.
AstroZombie - 3/6/2013, 11:12 AM
@KarlKingNerd; Sorry, I re-edited my comment before seeing your post. An edit feature on here would be nice.

Clark wasn't there to hurt Bruce, he didn't want to fight. He trys to reason with him, but Bruce wont listen. Bruce knew that, but staged the fight anyway knowing Clark wasn't going to hurt him. Bruce used Clark, he pissed him off a little so that he would play his role, and when the time was right he could enact his plan to fake his death. Clark wasn't in on it, Bruce just knew how to pull his strings.
SUPERSHADOWBAT - 3/6/2013, 11:14 AM
This one time and only is how Batman would beat Superman, but it would never happen again. Superman knows who he's fighting in Batman and would never underestimate him. Superman is not stupid. Bruce would be toast.
xfactor - 3/6/2013, 11:16 AM
i loved the film, i'm actually about to watch it again. However, for years i've argued countless times that without preparation for a battle as grand as supes, batman will be eliminated almost instantaneously. Yes, he is the world's greatest detective and the worlds most dangerous man, but compared to a being who's strong enough to move the sun? Give me a break. The new 52 set it straight actually, which i commend them for that. Even though batman leads the league, everybody knows who's the real boss.
xfactor - 3/6/2013, 11:18 AM
what was so great about the movie was that you saw how the comic changed the universe at that time. how the 80's affected the entertainment medium, we all saw the influence of this story and got the grasp of where batman was going at the time. Which eventually led us to burton's 89 batman film, a masterpiece imho.
KarlRobinofEarth2 - 3/6/2013, 11:26 AM
Thats true, but it could be argued Bruce was doing the exact same thing trying to get Clark to wise up and get back to working for real justice. Also the fact that Bruce can pull Clarks strings is his strongest feature. Sure it isn't a straight up fist fight and kind of dirty, but try to beat that freak without hitting low!
KarlRobinofEarth2 - 3/6/2013, 11:30 AM
Clark isn't stupid, he's unerringly predictable though and that plays to bruces strengths.
AstroZombie - 3/6/2013, 11:51 AM
@KarlKingNerd; My point though, is that it can't really be considered a victory for either man, because it was never a real fight to begin with. For instance, if say John Cena beat The Rock at Wrestlemania, could it considered a true victory? No, because it was all just a show with a predetermined outcome. Everything Batman did in that fight was staged for the outcome, and he just manipulated Superman into playing along.

The fight itself was Frank Miller's way of commenting the comics code. Superman represents the code, he blindly respects and obeys authority as per the codes guidelines, therefore is nothing but a tool for the Government. Batman defies the code, therefore must be banned. Batman going "underground" at the end is a nod to the underground comics that published outside of the code. It's why The Dark Knight Returns is held in such high regard, because it helped to finally unshackle writers from the restrictions of that ridiculous code formed back in the 1954.
KarlRobinofEarth2 - 3/6/2013, 12:02 PM
I absolutely agree with you about that fight and the sentiment. All I'm trying to say is there are ways batman could beat superman. I am obviously a bigger batman fan than I am of superman fan, but I am a superman fan. I just don't think it's as cut and dried as just one of them always winning, that's why I'll admit he could die and quite easily.
But I'm keeping my caveat of at least a chance of Bruce winning, because he is Bruce frigging Wayne. Also this has been fun, and exactly why I love this site.
KarlRobinofEarth2 - 3/6/2013, 12:03 PM
TheDukeOfNY - cheers BTW
willhnic - 3/7/2013, 7:55 PM
I am a big batman and superman fan. However, I don't get the fight in this movie (great movie btw). Batman can take a direct hit from Superman but has to jump out of the way of falling I-beams? Superman can take direct hits from much larger and harder objects but an I-beam stops him in his tracks? The concrete blocks Batman grabbed would have busted when they hit superman. I am too logical to watch fights between lesser equipped heroes (Batman) and crazy strong heroes (Superman). I get Superman vs. Amazo. I get Batman vs. Joker. But no way...Batman vs. Superman unless every single part of plan is flawless. Unfortunately, even Superman is a bit of his own man to be THAT predictable in this situation. But I guess its possible?
codydriscollsrightarm - 3/10/2013, 5:49 AM
Again, I must remember y'all what happened when Superman fought Batman without holding back while mind controlled by Maxwell Lord. Superman won.

The problem with these fights is, no matter what, Superman will ALWAYS hold back against Batz. He knows he can snap Bruce like a twig.
willhnic - 3/10/2013, 10:00 AM
True. I keep thinking of superman grabbing batman and tossing him towards space. Then flying next to bats saying "I think you need to think about our relationship for a minute".

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