Wonder Woman has always been the least popular of DC Comics Trinity of flagship heroes and with good reason; hers is the least accessible of origins. Anyone with the willpower, intelligence and large bankroll can be Batman; that character appeals to realism. Superman is an immigrant; his story is almost a Horatio Alger story with superpowers with strong messianic overtones. Wonder Woman is a princess made out of clay by Hellenistic Amazon warriors imbued with immortality, unending beauty, and a protected paradise island guarded by the gods of Olympus named Themiscyra. So it’s easy to see why she is the hardest of DC’s big three to relate to.
Wonder Woman is also the star of the newest of DC’s original animated straight to DVD movies. The first of the series was Superman vs. Doomsday which, for my money a C- first effort, the character designs were to close DCAU for comfort, and the story was lacking. The second was Justice League: The New Frontier, which was a great adaptation of the source material and is fantastic, but not perfect. The third was Batman: Gotham Knight, released to coincide with The Dark Knight was a series of vignettes set in between Batman Begins and TDK, which were hit and miss shorts done by anime studios in Japan.
Wonder Woman is the latest, and by far the best of the series so far. This is the first almost totally original movie that doesn’t have any strings attached to another version of the character or a story arch. It is a celebration of Wonder Woman (Voiced by Keri Russell of House MD fame), that is smartly written, beautifully animated with a voice cast to match. It is also a Wonder Woman cartoon that is decidedly not for children. The battle scenes are brutal, but not overtly bloody, and the number of on screen beheadings rivals the Highlander series so it is easy to see why this was rated PG-13.
The story begins with an ancient battle between Queen Hippolyta (voiced by Virginia Madsen) and Ares the god of war, which climaxes with the victory of the Amazons and the punishment of Ares by Zeus. Hera gives them their island home. Diana is later created by the queen out of sand and given life. She grows up among her sisters until Steve Trevor (voiced perfectly and hilariously by Nathan Fillion) who for all the world looks to have his character model based off Steve McQueen. Diana goes to Man’s World, things happen and there is an awesome battle in Washington DC with shades of the recent Amazons Attack series (don’t ask).
This was a seriously good movie for straight to video. It’s funny, the cast is great, it’s action packed and leaves you wanting more Wonder Woman. The breakout supporting character though is Artemis (voiced by Rosario Dawson), whose character was Wonder Woman herself for a time in the 90s when everything had to be EXTREME in comics. Her character is so deadly serious during all of her appearances, but also has the cool dry wit of a Schwarzenegger character. I kind of groaned at first when she first came onto the screen, but this movie made up for every dumb storyline from the 90s.
I was expecting mediocre at best, but I was blown away by Wonder Woman. I never for the life of me thought I would see Wonder Woman drinking tequila, but I did, this movie delivered it, and it’s one of the best and funniest scenes in the movie. This is the best thing to come out of Warner Brothers’ DC division so far and with Green Lantern up next I think I might have to set my hopes a little higher for the next release.
Highly recommended, but not for your children.
[tags]Video, Movies and TV, Literature, Wonder Woman, Comics[/tags]