Wonder Woman Review – By Isaac
January 23, 2010
Directed by Lauren Montgomery
Story and Script by Michael Jelenic
Produced by Warner Brothers
Straight to DVD Release
Rated PG-13 for violence throughout and some suggestive material.
This DC Comics animated feature introduces us to a host of characters while delivering an action packed plot. Characters are crafted surprisingly well for an animated feature, though mostly developed during the onslaught of battle. The brutality of the action scenes reminded me of 300, only on an animated PG-13 level. I was caught off guard at the amount of killing and bloodshed, seeing as most DC Comics feature a “pacifist” superhero.
Wonder Woman primarily features the title character’s origin at the island Themyscira, inhabited by Greek warrior women called the Amazons. Wonder Woman begins with an epic battle between the Amazons (led by Hippolyta) and the evil forces of Eres, the God of War. Upon defeating Eres, the Amazons retreat to the hidden island of Themyscira in order to hold Eres captive and “seek peace away from the world of man”. Hippolyta is given a daughter, Diana, who later becomes Wonder Woman. Centuries pass, and the peaceful island is thrown into jeopardy when an American fighter pilot, Steve Trevor, crash lands on the hidden island. After a hilarious scene with Trevor and the lasso of truth, Diana is given the responsibility of returning the pilot to America and investigating “the current state of man’s world.” Mid-investigation, Eres escapes and Wonder Woman is charged with stopping him from inciting another World War.
The Wonder Woman comic series has always carried a fascinating twist in its portrayal of the Greek gods. This animated feature is no different, dishing out a lineup whose incarnations range from bloodthirsty to outright disgusting.
Wonder Woman‘s success is due greatly to it’s phenomenal casting and voicework. (Keri Russell as Wonder Woman, Alfred Molina as Eres the God of War, Virginia Madsen as Hippolyta, Rosario Dawson as Artemis, and Nathan Fillion as Steve Trevor.) The skill of these actors takes WW to a new level, and Nathan Fillion’s portrayal of the American pilot Steve Trevor is easily the highlight of the film. There is some great dialog between Diana and Trevor, addressing post-feminist themes in relation to perceived chauvinism.
At face value, Wonder Woman‘s theme of “man’s world is evil” is over the top and by film’s conclusion it feels beat to death. Considering that this is a major theme in the Wonder Woman canon and a logical question for the Amazon island of Themyscira, it didn’t bother me. Partly because I fully believe humanity is, at it’s core, evil. That is not something to be blamed on one gender, (men, in this case) but an acknowledgment of sin in our fallen world. Thankfully, the main characters seem to catch onto this, and as the film progresses the blame subtly passes from ‘male’ to ‘humanity.’ But considering that the term ‘man’ can either refer to ‘male’ or ‘mankind’, some reading between the lines is necessary. Like I mentioned before, at face value this feels overdone.
In conclusion: Wonder Woman succeeds because of the thrilling action and stellar cast. The quality soundtrack gives the film an appropriate epicness. The art-style is pretty straightforward and really works well for the Wonder Woman world. It brings some surprisingly good dialog and post-feminist themes to the table (which, despite being a bit overplayed, are handled well). I went into this film expecting to be entertained by Nathan Fillion and little else, but was pleasantly surprised all around.