There’s a whole lot going on in Zack Snyder’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice — iconic superheroes clashing, the introduction of a new Batman and all of his many (many, many) gadgets, Wonder Woman’s debut, mega-villains, mega-plots…but let’s hope that Snyder can deliver on his promise of creating grounded, interesting characters amid all that racket. In a new interview, Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill talk a bit about those characters, their motivations and how things have changed since Man of Steel.

While speaking with French magazine Studio Cine Live (via Batman-News), Affleck was asked to describe his iteration of the Dark Knight. The actor says he has no interest in competing with or cribbing from other actors who have donned the cape and cowl, but he did offer some thoughts on his version of the character:

Usually, the films show Batman starting off, or in the prime of his career. Here, you’re dealing with an older version, a guy at the end of his journey. He’ll find meaning in his own life during his conflict with Superman. He really thinks Superman is an existential menace, and he believes destroying him will be his legacy. We also play a bit more with the billionaire playboy side of the character. He lives that life at full tilt. He courts many women, owns many cars, and parties a lot. He does that as a way to fill the void in his soul. Moreover, past incarnations dealt with a straightforward search for justice. This time, Batman’s reasoning is clouded by frustration, bitterness and anger.

Affleck also had some interesting insight to how Batman v Superman relates to our current, modern world and what drives Bruce Wayne in this film:

I don’t think this film has any sort of lesson, but it’s more than just entertainment, it’s also trying to show that there are real consequences to violence. When a building collapses, people die, and those are lives lost forever. This film also shows that fear is the enemy of us all. Fear brings out the worst in us. When we fear powerful people because we think they might destroy us, we tend to use that to justify any decision we might be tempted to make. There are some parallels with preemptive strikes, and things like that. It allows us to analyze how we think about what we do, when facing a threat. That’s very relevant to what’s going on in the world right now. The film tackles pertinent themes.

As for Superman, Henry Cavill says that we’re not really seeing an evolution of his superhero; instead, we’re seeing the way he clashes with a world that has mixed feelings about who he is and what he does, and with a hero who has a different approach to implementing justice:

Superman himself isn’t that different. He does however have to deal with a new set of problems because he’s now been revealed to the world. This film is more about how the world in general – and Batman in particular – sees this alien, and less about the evolution of Superman. We’re seeing Superman and Batman together for the first time in a movie, with flesh-and-blood actors. They’re two sides of the same coin. They have the same goal, but use very different methods to achieve it. Understandably, that leads them to clash with one another, and their conflict is a historic moment.

When asked who wins in the fight between Batman and Superman, Affleck says “it’s more complicated than that.” The most recent trailer indicated that we’ll see the heroes eventually team up (with Wonder Woman) in the battle against Doomsday, so perhaps they’ll inevitably agree to disagree, shake hands, and go enjoy a nice steak dinner together.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice hits theaters on March 25, 2016.

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