Friday, August 9, 2013

Wonder Woman

Get out your Lasso of Truth and Invisible Plane, we're reviewing Wonder Woman, the animated movie!

After Ares (Alfred Molina) nearly enslaves all Amazons, Queen Hippolyta (Virginia Madsen) captures Ares and takes her prisoner and the Amazons to the secret island of Themyscira. Years later, pilot Steve Trevor (Nathan Fillion) crash lands on the island, and Hippolyta's daughter, Diana (Keri Russell), volunteers to take him back to the world of man. But when Ares escapes, her mission suddenly becomes more dangerous.

How have I waited this long to watch this? This is an amazing Wonder Woman movie! Of course, I'm not a huge Wonder Woman fan, so I'm no authority to say how close to comic book canon this movie hit, but from what little I know, the only thing it didn't include is the book's original affinity towards bondage.

First thing’s first, this is rated PG-13, and for good reason. It's bloody violent! And it's AWESOME! It starts with a huge battle between the Amazons and Ares' army, littered with severed limbs, decapitations, and many other acts of gratuitous violence. The action is exciting and there's plenty of it. It only gets better when Diana gets to the human world, and it helps that the animation and designs are top notch. This is one of the best animated movies DC has made.

I'm amazed at how much of the Wonder Woman mythos they kept in the movie. I'd say they have more than even the Justice League cartoon! This includes Diana's true origins: she was created from actual clay; she has her lasso of truth and boomerang-esque tiara; and she gets to use her invisible jet! Because WHY THE FUCK NOT, INVISIBLE JET?! It's incredible how much they just roll with it and accept it as realistic. Because: Superheroes! But it also floors me that DC continually says they can't get the character right, or her origin is too muddy, because YOU ALREADY DID IT GUYS. IT'S HERE. RIGHT HERE. TAKE IT. Seriously, they could just remake this in live-action and I would have no problem with it.

It goes without saying that it passes the Bechdel test and provides a ton of great examples of complex female characters, but geez! Wonder Woman is great. I am in LOVE with how she comes to America and is aghast at how women are treated and how they've been "brainwashed" to treat themselves and each other. This is the kind of Wonder Woman we need right now. In fact, I would love a whole series of Wonder Woman going around the modern world righting the wrongs against women.

I also love how her interactions and romance is handled with Steve Trevor. He's kind of a sleaze and she is having NONE OF IT. She rebuffs all his advances and drinks him under the table when he tries to take advantage of her. It's amazing. My one caveat: at the end, when he kisses her (oh boo-hoo on your spoiler warning, you knew they were going to get together, you tosser) and she finally lets him? I would have liked it better if he went in for a handshake, finally respecting her, and she instead kissed HIM because she finally realizes romance is ok. But that’s just my nit-pick.

Speaking of Steve, he's voiced by MOTHER-FUCKING NATHAN FILLION. Nathan Fillion, who also voiced Green Lantern Hal Jordan once (connection???). And he’s great! All the voices are great, in fact. Keri Russell is a fantastic Wonder Woman and Alfred Molina is always wonderful as a villain (See Doctor Octopus and Snidely Whiplash). Other standouts include Rosario Dawson as Artemis and Oliver Platt as Hades.

The music's great, the animation is fantastic, the story is fun, the pacing is perfect, and it feels just enough like an adventure. This is the perfect Wonder Woman movie, and if they made a live-action movie even half as good it would be a box-office hit.

THE GOOD: Great animation, lots of stuff from the Wonder Woman mythos, tons of action, great for women, great voice cast, good story, fun film.

THE BAD: PG-13 rating might not be perfect for young kids, Steve kisses first.

THE VERDICT: $$$$$ Go watch it! Own it! Share it with friends! Tell DC we want a Wonder Woman movie like this! It is a fantastic animation and you'll enjoy it even if you're not a huge Wonder Woman fan.

MOVIES LIKE IT: Green Lantern: First Flight, Justice League: Doom, Justice League: The New Frontier, Batman: Under the Red Hood

ONE-SCENE METAPHOR: One of the first things Wonder Woman does when she comes to America is scoff at a group of kids who won't let a little black girl play with them because the boys are all playing Pirates and they "need someone to save." She then proceeds to teach the young girl how to really sword fight, and then the little girl whoops the boys’ butts. Wonder Woman, please do this with the game industry.

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