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Heroes face consequences in 'Batman v Superman'

| Wednesday, March 23, 2016, 9:00 p.m.
Henry Cavill as Clark Kent, Jesse Eisenber as Lex Luthor and Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne in 'Batman v Superman'
Warner Bros.
Henry Cavill as Clark Kent, Jesse Eisenber as Lex Luthor and Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne in 'Batman v Superman'
Gal Gadot plays Wonder Woman in 'Batman v Superman'
Warner Bros.
Gal Gadot plays Wonder Woman in 'Batman v Superman'

Superheroes have long existed in a world of their own, but as two iconic caped heroes battle in “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” both are brought crashing down to reality as the ramifications of their actions catch up with them.

“Batman v Superman,” out March 25, opens with the climax of 2013's “Man of Steel,” in which Superman's battle with alien General Zod causes mass-scale destruction in Metropolis.

In the city's streets, Bruce Wayne, Batman's alter ego, sees his company building crumble and blames Superman for the deaths of civilians, which sets up the clash of superheroes.

“I'm a big advocate of the consequences of these movies,” director Zack Snyder told Reuters. “Without the consequences, they're slightly irresponsible in that it's unconditional violence.”

An older, wearier Batman (Ben Affleck) sets out to destroy Superman (Henry Cavill), crossing paths with the psychotic technology entrepreneur Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) and elusive Diana Prince, the alter ego of Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot).

Superman, meanwhile, battles a growing public discourse against his actions, and a senator is determined to hold him accountable.

“There's always been that little tete-a-tete with Batman and Superman and there has always been that question by fans — who will win in a fight?” Cavill said.

Fear also permeates the superhero fight, Affleck said.

“The way that we get afraid, how we react, sometimes that turns us into the worst version of ourselves ... there's no place to go from there but to conflict,” he said.

Warring heroes will also feature in Walt Disney Co's “Captain America: Civil War” in May, where Captain America and Iron Man face off. It offers a new angle to the superhero ensemble films such as Marvel's “Avengers,” which have generated billions at the box office in recent years.

Warner Bros' “Batman v Superman” sets the stage for 2017's “Wonder Woman” and “The Justice League Part One.”

Superhero stories sometimes hold a mirror to society, with Superman's 1938 comic book debut often perceived as answering America's need for a hero during the Great Depression.

Eisenberg said “Batman v Superman” could be seen as a reflection of current American society, particularly with the Machiavellian Luthor, whom he described as “a classic xenophobe” who instills public fear against the alien Superman.

“I think if you look at some of the more nasty, political discourse in at least our country today, you'd see shades of that,” Eisenberg said.

Wonder Woman through the years

The creator of Wonder Woman, writer and psychologist William Moulton Marston (inventor of the lie detector), did not believe the sexes were equal. He thought women were superior — and he intended his Amazonian superheroine as a comic-art lesson in how the allegedly fairer sex could bring about a more just and peaceful world. In addition to inspiring women, Marston wanted boys to get adjusted to the idea of females with power. Anyone finding an erotic subtext to WW's “golden lasso of truth” is probably on the right track.

In “Batman v Superman,” Wonder Woman, aka Diana Prince, is played by Gal Gadot, the Israeli actress and Israeli Defense Forces veteran who will reprise the role in next year's “Wonder Woman” and “Justice League Part One.” It may be a film franchise whose time has come — but considering WW's celebrity, it's a little surprising there haven't been more, and more successful, adaptations. Or maybe, as Marston might have decided, not so surprising.

“Who's Afraid of Diana Prince?” (1967): It never actually aired, but the first attempt to produce a Wonder Woman TV series was made in 1967, by William Dozier, producer of the highly successful “Batman” series. It would have starred Ellie Wood Walker as Diana, Linda Harrison as her alter ego and Maudie Prickett as Diana's mother, who apparently wanted her to get married. Maybe we were spared.

“Wonder Woman” (1975-79): The most famous adaptation of the DC Comics character came when Lynda Carter assumed the role, in a series originally set in the ‘40s, with Wonder Woman battling Nazis (it also came on the heels of a TV movie called “Wonder Woman” starring the blond and markedly un-Diana Prince-looking Cathy Lee Crosby). When ABC balked at renewing the expensive period piece, it moved to the contemporary ‘70s, and also to CBS.

“Wonder Woman” (2011): The pilot for a series that was to have starred Adrianne Palicki never aired and the series was never sold, despite a considerable pedigree (it was written by the highly successful David E. Kelley).

“Wonder Woman” (2013): The short film starring Rileah Vanderbilt as the Amazon got very limited exposure but was praised for its sophisticated look.

— Newsday

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