I feel like for some odd reason, animated superhero movies are trapped in a somewhat undeserved animosity. Numerous times I’ve asked a friend, or a group of friends, to at least try to watch one of the DC animated movies, and immediately gotten the response: “What? No, no way.” “This looks like a movie made for kids.” And “let’s watch one of the live-action Marvel films instead, put on The Avengers!”
With that, great animated films like Batman: Under the Red Hood, Justice League: Doom, Batman: Year one and many other DC animated movies are pushed aside to never be spoken about ever again. I know that a few of the DC animations (no need to name names, yet) have been to some extent, low budget “cash grabs” with poor voice acting, a script most certainly written by some money-loving hack, and animation that looks to have been made by a bunch of interns. However! There are hidden gems among the releases of trash that are spewed out and I’m here to list a few of the DC animations that I personally have watched and give you my thoughts on the good and the bad.
Wonder Woman, 2009
George of The Jungle, but with an incredible monster-slaying Amazonian warrior? You bet!
Okay not really, it’s as far away from George as possible. Although both Diana (aka Wonder Woman) and George do share the experience in their respective movies, of arriving in a modern city which they can’t really understand. (If you’re one of those unlucky enough to have experienced the horrendous movie that is George of the Jungle with Brendan Fraser, I’m so sorry.)
This 2009 animation is the film that made me a fan of the Wonder Woman universe for life. It’s very rare that I see a movie portray female characters in such a tough and heroic manner. Hardly ever in the cinematic universe since the character of Ripley in the first Alien flick, have I felt this rush of pure heroine amazement from a movie. The way Wonder Woman acts towards other characters, how she talks, how she fights, it’s a true marvel to watch. Although the animation can feel somewhat lacking at points, with a first class writer such as Gail Simon behind this movie and solid voice acting performance from the well-known Nathan Fillion as the representative of the whole “scum that is the male gender”, Steve Trevor, and the perhaps not-so-known Keri Russel as Wonder Woman, it certainly makes up for the TV-budget animation.
The animated origin story
The story is, in my opinion, a properly constructed origin story for the character Wonder Woman and it’s on par with other great animated origin stories such as Batman: Year One. It starts with Hippolyta (mother of Diana and queen of the Amazons) and her fellow Amazonians being given strength by the god Hera to break free from their slavery. By slaughtering the demons, enslaved men, mythical beasts and the tyrant god of war, Ares himself, is their only way to be free from their oppression. It’s an epic way to start the whole thing, one that introduces our main antagonist throughout the whole movie, and shows us what these hardcore all female war-machines are made of.
Centuries pass and the fighter pilot Steve Trevor is the unlucky-lucky fella’ that crashes down in the jungle of Themyscria, the peaceful island where all the Amazonians live in harmony. Steve is later apprehended by Diana and brought to the city to condemn him for his crimes of trespassing. Some comic book stuff happens and a few moments later, Diana and Steve embark on a carefully crafted character developing adventure to take down an evil god which leads to fighting a lot of unholy creatures along their way. There are several cheesy dialogue moments between the characters, especially between Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor, but that is to be expected from a movie like this. It’s an animated flick about an Amazonian woman that flies an invisible jet and kicks demon-butt without breaking a sweat, don’t give it too much thought, enjoy it for what it is.
The only other nitpicks I have with Wonder Woman, (and it’s not just this flick that I have this issue with, there are several other animated movies that does this as well) is the mind-numbing idea of not showing blood in the thick of battle, especially when they show in full frame right out kills. Displaying brutal decapitations, slashing and stabbing in all its non-bloody glory. Now, they do show some blood in a few select scenes in this flick, but hardly ever when the actual action is going on. Why they chose to do this is beyond me, maybe it was too expensive to animate all the blood? If you can get past the idea that you can only bleed from your mouth and on occasion a few seconds after you’ve gotten a wound, then there is no problem at all!
The runtime is a merely 74 minutes long, as a result the film is noticeably fast paced, both in a good and a bad way. The bad being the ‘I wish I and other nerdy fans had more Wonder Woman to view’ way. Now unfortunately, I haven’t read a lot of Wonder Woman comics, thus I can’t tell you how true this movie is to them, but I have a very strong feeling that this is in the right direction to go in with Wonder Woman. She is an Amazon to be reckoned with, not some pampered damsel in distress and this movie makes that point as clear as day.
Now, I don’t like the idea of giving out too much of what happens in the movie, so I won’t drone on any more. However, with what I have written here, I hope that I have persuaded at least someone to give this movie a fair and open-minded chance. I assure you that Wonder Woman is worth it. It’s not a masterpiece but it’s still an entertaining hour and 14 minutes of amazing animated Amazonian adventure that will make Wonder Woman your next comic-Woman crush!
Worth the watch? Yes, yes it sure is, whether you are a comic fan or not, it is worth the watch!
Beware! This might not be a movie for children. If you plan to watch this movie with your kids, be prepared for them to experience scenes with fairly ruthless material.
Next time: Son of Batman