DC has been asking us to stack our chips on Batman or Superman for a while now. Who will win? That's the thrust of the marketing for Dawn of Justice, even though we know that, ultimately, this movie is not about one defeating the other. Really, it's about the birth of the Justice League (clue's in the title, folks!).
Still, for a good hour and then some the film will tease the prospect of Batman ripping Superman limb from limb, or vice versa, and between Superman's skills and Batman's pricey tech, it could be at least a somewhat balanced fate — even if Superman does have the upper hand, on account of being Superman.
But perhaps Batman has a secret weapon in his corner. It's not an aggressive Batmobile and it has nothing to do with Kryptonite. It goes by the name of Alfred.
"His remit in life is to protect Bruce"
In Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy, Michael Caine was perhaps the archetypal Alfred. He was a kindly father figure to Bruce, gentle with his advice and warm of heart.
And that was great... but it seems Jeremy Irons's take on the character in Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice is going to be significantly more badass.
Here's Irons talking exclusively to Empire magazine about his fresh take on the biggest constant in Bruce Wayne's life:
“I knew we would be finding a different angle on Alfred, so I thought of him as my own. Alfred has lived longer than Bruce, and so perhaps has a clearer perspective on life. As well as having been in loco parentis to Bruce, his only remit in life is to protect him. And, as those of us who have raised children, let alone Batmen, will know that is quite a wide remit.”
Clearly, Alfred doesn't have the physical ability to protect Batman from a Kryptonian like Clark Kent, but his background could prove key to arming Bruce with the right weapons for the fight. Irons notes that Alfred was in "special ops," meaning he presumably had unlimited access to top-secret weapons programs.
He goes on to state that Alfred doesn't actually live at Wayne Manor with Bruce, but at a "sleek lakeside residence," so expect a bit of good old-fashioned property porn in Batman vs Superman.
Furthermore, his Alfred "is a man who can actually do anything if he has to," and is "more hands-on." Jeremy Irons often finds a slightly menacing undercurrent in his characters (especially with the thrillingly villainous Pope Alexander in The Borgias), so hopefully some of that will be channelled into Alfred, even if he is ultimately a good guy.
Could Alfred be the weapon Bruce needs to get one over on Superman? We'll find out on March 25.