LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN

Su­per-sparks fly as Ben Af­fleck and Gal Gadot lead the new breed of heroes in Jus­tice League

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Gal Gadot ad­mits she is still over­whelmed by the im­pact of her Won­der Woman.

The Is­raeli model-turned-ac­tor made her de­but as the beloved Ama­zo­nian demigod­dess in last year’s Bat­man V Su­per­man:

Dawn Of Jus­tice, in­ject­ing some much-needed bright­ness into what was oth­er­wise a rather dour af­fair.

De­spite the gen­eral con­sen­sus that she stole the show from her bet­ter known costars — Henry Cav­ill’s Man of Steel and Ben Af­fleck’s Caped Cru­sader — the jury was out as to whether au­di­ences would em­brace her first solo Won­der

Woman out­ing when it was re­leased in June.

The an­swer was an em­phatic and ec­static yes. Not only did it earn more than $1 bil­lion at the box of­fice, but at this year’s Comic Con in San Diego — ground zero for global nerd and pop cul­ture — the streets were dot­ted with fans of all ages, sizes and even gen­ders sport­ing the fa­mous red and blue cos­tume with the crown and lasso.

“It feels so great and what gets me even more ex­cited is to see boys and men dress like Won­der Woman be­cause it feels like she broke all gen­der bar­ri­ers,” Gadot says, seated along­side her Jus­tice League costars as the Comic Con chaos un­folds just me­tres away.

“Ever since the movie was re­leased, I’m kind of still over­whelmed with the way that it was re­ceived.”

DC En­ter­tain­ment, the stu­dio and comic book com­pany be­hind the much an­tic­i­pated Jus­tice League, couldn’t have hoped for a bet­ter lead-in to the all-star su­per­hero team-up, which opens to­mor­row. De­spite boast­ing ar­guably the most fa­mous su­per­heroes in the world — Bat­man, Su­per­man and Won­der Woman are V1 - MHSE01Z01MA

col­lec­tively known as the Big Three — DC has strug­gled to carve out a co­her­ent cinema world in the same way ri­vals Marvel have with their hugely suc­cess­ful solo movies dove­tail­ing into the even big­ger Avengers movies. Smartly, Gadot and Af­fleck are front and cen­tre in Jus­tice League (Cav­ill’s Su­per­man was pre­sumed dead at the end of Bat­man V Su­per­man),

as­sem­bling a su­per-team of lesser known heroes — Ezra Miller’s wise­crack­ing The Flash, Ja­son Mo­moa’s rock ‘n’ roll Aqua­man and Ray Fisher’s mys­te­ri­ous Cy­borg — to bat­tle an army of alien in­vaders.

Af­fleck, who says it was much easier play­ing the iconic su­per­hero this time with­out the “rage and re­sent­ment” of the pre­vi­ous film, de­scribes Bruce Wayne’s role in Jus­tice League as “herd­ing the su­per­power kit­tens”.

“I do think it will be com­fort­able to see the char­ac­ter in the form that we are most used to see­ing him and it cer­tainly gives me a lot of room to play,” he says. “It’s such a great char­ac­ter and it’s the rea­son it’s been around for so long and is so iconic be­cause the char­ac­ter works so well. So stay­ing close to this ge­n­e­sis of who Bat­man is has been fun and re­ward­ing.

“The irony is that he’s not a par­tic­u­larly col­lab­o­ra­tive guy and yet here he’s thrust into the po­si­tion of not only hav­ing to work with a team, but hav­ing to ac­tu­ally put the team to­gether.”

New­comer Fisher, mak­ing his fea­ture film de­but as Vic­tor Stone, who is trans­formed into the hugely pow­er­ful half-man, half-robot Cy­borg af­ter an ac­ci­dent, de­scribes Won­der Woman and Bat­man as the par­ents of the group.

Miller, as whip-smart and wise­crack­ing in per­son as his on screen Flash per­sona, agrees.

“Ben’s my dad and Gal’s my mum,” he says. “They’re re­ally nice to me un­til I do some­thing wrong.”

But does that mean su­per­sparks fly be­tween Won­der Woman and Bat­man, with some kind of heroic hook-up on the cards? “I think he’s fix­ated on Diana in some ways,” Af­fleck says, ad­mit­ting to play­ing up the sex­ual ten­sion. “There’s a nice, warm, ten­sion with Won­der Woman. It’s not like she’s some floozy — she’s this very sub­stan­tial, pow­er­ful fe­male char­ac­ter in his life. I don’t think he’s used to that.”

As if ex­pec­ta­tions weren’t high enough in cre­at­ing a linch­pin for the DC Ex­tended Uni­verse that will spring­board its char­ac­ters into fu­ture solo movies — Aqua­man has just wrapped on the Gold Coast and a Flash movie is also in the works — Jus­tice League had some­thing of a trou­bled pro­duc­tion.

Most of the $US300 mil­lion movie was di­rected by Zack Sny­der be­fore he had to step back af­ter the tragic death of his daugh­ter. The task of over­see­ing post-pro­duc­tion, reshoots and re­port­edly in­ject­ing a lighter tone into pro­ceed­ings went to Avengers main man, Joss Whe­don. Whe­don had al­ready jumped ship from Marvel to DC to write and di­rect a fu­ture Bat­girl film.

Fisher says the two di­rec­tors had dif­fer­ent styles, “but at the end of the day, we all want the same thing, which is just to tell the best story we pos­si­bly can”.

Miller de­scribes the tran­si­tion be­tween the two dif­fer­ent but com­ple­men­tary di­rec­tors, made un­der the most dif­fi­cult of cir­cum­stances, as “a beau­ti­ful thing to watch” and a per­fect metaphor for Jus­tice League.

“One of the most beau­ti­ful things you can do is help to bring an­other artist’s work to fruition at a time when, for one rea­son or an­other, they can­not,” he says. “And that’s kind of the plot of our film — in times that are dire, unit­ing, find­ing each other and good­ness in each other and trust­ing each other and each other’s tal­ents and abil­i­ties.” WATCH JUS­TICE LEAGUE opens to­mor­row

“THERE’S A NICE, WARM, TEN­SION WITH WON­DER WOMAN (AND BAT­MAN). IT’S NOT LIKE SHE’S SOME FLOOZY”

THE CREW OF EZRA MILLER, JA­SON MO­MOA, GAL GADOT, BEN AF­FLECK, RAY FISHER AND HENRY CAV­ILL POSE FOR A SELFIE.

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