It’s been a little while since I saw one of the DC animated films so it’s nice to jump back in. Wonder Woman gives us a partial origin story here along with a new adventure. It’s a pretty fun film with a solid amount of action and good characters. Ultimately it doesn’t beat the original Wonder Woman film but we do get to throw in a lot of Wonder Woman’s big opponents from back in the day. Her rogues gallery has never gotten to appear quite as much as most of the other big DC characters so it’s always fun to see them. What she needs one day is a full TV show and then we’ll be able to see more of them.
The movie starts off with the origin story as Steve was fighting a Parademon (Feels like these guys cause a lot of trouble in this continuity!) and then crashed onto Wonder Woman’s island. Naturally the queen decides he has to be captured so Wonder Woman knocks out the guard, fights with the queen, and then escapes with Steve. The catch of course is that she is now banished from the island forever. Steve takes Wonder Woman to an old historian to learn about culture in the outside world. The lady also has a daughter named Vanessa who isn’t having a super fun time at home.
We then cut to the present where Vanessa is a complete rebel now and has gotten involved in shady dealings. Wonder Woman and Steve go to stop her but during the fighting Vanessa’s mom is destroyed. Vanessa now decides she wants revenge on Wonder Woman and intends to murder her as the Silver Swan. Meanwhile Dr. Poison and her mysterious leader have more plans up their sleeve. Will Wonder Woman be able to stop them and save the Silver Swan or is this all going to end in complete disaster?
The origin story here is fairly basic. The addition of the Parademon was a nice way to give it some higher stakes. I still do feel like the idea that you can just crash onto the island or see it so easily means that it’s not a great defensive barrier though. I always question how more people don’t see it to be honest. There needs to be some other magical element at play to defend them if you ask me. From there we definitely have a more aggressive Wonder Woman who quickly solves things with her fists here but given how unreasonable the Amazons usually are I can see why this would be the fastest way out. I suppose it’s a nice intro into the film. It may be something we’ve seen before but it was executed well.
With the main story you’re going to need to deal with Vanessa. To me the opening of the film’s main story is the slowest part. Vanessa’s a fairly annoying character from square one. Julia may not be the nicest mother to her at times but it’s not like she was comically mean or anything exaggerated. Vanessa also didn’t exactly do a whole lot to stand out. I think she could have pressed the issue with Julia a bit and it would have worked since Wonder Woman was always around. Instead Vanessa went to the dark side and was pretty unreasonable the whole time. She had a fun suit of armor and abilities of course but as a character I would give her a thumbs down here. She just went down complaining a whole lot throughout the movie.
The other villains are better even if some of them aren’t great. Doctor Poison for example is a fun enough street level bad guy even if she never feels like a threat to Wonder Woman. Doctor Cyber is a lot more disappointing mainly because she was the mastermind here. Not only did she completely not think her plan through but because of this she barely even got to fight in the end. Not a good look for her. We also got a few other WW villains here like Giganta and Cheetah. It was fun to see them. I liked Giganta’s new costume here as it’s a lot more streamlined compared to the usual one and Cheetah looked really good with her speed. I’m always up for bringing along the classic villains.
Another big villain here is Medusa who looks great. She gives us one of the highlight fights in the film. I think you could make a case for Cheetah vs Wonder Woman still being the best fight but it’s really close. What helps the final fight shine a lot is it highlights Wonder Woman’s endurance. When you think about it that will always be one of her greatest assets because as an Amazon she won’t tire as quickly as most fighters. In the comics I recall it was even mentioned that her stamina is even greater than Superman’s so in a way it evens out with his power/speed being higher.
Medusa feels more like a mastermind here. Yes, I would have been cool with her not growing and turning huge here, but she showed pretty solid speed so the fight never grew dull. There was still a lot of high speed movement here as well as strategy. Wonder Woman using the acid was fairly brutal but a necessary step based on how powerful Medusa’s influence was. There wasn’t really another way around it. Based on all the abilities Medusa has, you can easily see her being one of the most deadly Wonder Woman villains. Honestly I figured her gaze would not affect a true Amazon but I suppose if it didn’t then she wouldn’t make for an imposing threat so that’s fair.
As for Wonder Woman, she’s a solid lead as always. I’m not a huge fan of her portrayal here relative to other versions but is still good in her own right. For example I thought she had a little less self confidence than in other versions like stammering in her first scene meeting Vanessa or still being haunted by her actions in the past with the Amazons. She’s certainly going for more of a pacifist route for most of the film such as continually trying to save Silver Swan and not even calling the Justice League in because she feared they wouldn’t be too understanding of the predicament. That was some major shade to the League I have to say, I guess they aren’t as close as you would think. Wonder Woman does fight her way through every challenge though.
The post credits scene is also pretty intense. Wonder Woman connects the dots and goes to confront someone. It’s a solid way to end the film regardless of if the plot will come back. That being said, you do feel like she could have done something more like capture the villain. Proof or not, Wonder Woman has diplomatic immunity as the Amazon representative and I’m sure with enough digging she could find the proof later on. This does work as a great introduction for a new villain though and if we had more films I’d love to see her try a few new plans.
One thing I have to mention here though is the hostage situation. At one point very early on in the film a guy holds a lady at gunpoint and basically does the whole “don’t move” thing on Wonder Woman. She basically ignores him and throws her lasso which knocks him away and then she gloats that she had another option. It’s a nice scene but when you think about it, she was basically calling his bluff. If he intended to shoot then the hostage would be dead. Often times in these things you either see a hero be completely paralyzed by the hostage situation or like Wonder Woman they just run at the villain anyway and hope for the best. It’s always an interesting scenario because if it went wrong it would haunt the hero forever. I just always find it interesting how differently a hostage situation can be handled from film to film. All’s well that ends well though.
Steve and Etta have a subplot where they face their own dangers the whole time. It’s decent enough I suppose. I’m not a big fan of Etta in general. Her 60’s incarnation may be the best one but I think it’s time to finally make her more of a true fighter. Steve…is Steve. As always he’s a fairly tough fighter who backs Wonder Woman up but he’s so weak in comparison all he can do is crack jokes a lot of time to lift the tension. Don’t get me wrong, he saves her a number of times in the film and is pretty proficient with his gun skills but even with that it can be hard to take him seriously in the fights. He’s also basically the rebound guy with Wonder Woman now that Superman’s in the picture so the romance angle isn’t quite so developed.
The only part of the Steve plot where you have to raise an eyebrow is when he and Etta have to take on a Minotaur. The Minotaur is slow enough where they can keep on dodging it while letting it crash into the walls and it’s weak enough where it literally faints from doing so at different points. The Minotaur disrespect was real here. Aside from that the film gave Steve pretty realistic moments where he could help out without nerfing any of the other big villains.
As always the amazons look pretty weak which is to be expected. They are supposedly a group always ready for war but they clearly aren’t. They have such high tech equipment like the purple ray and yet for battle they use bows and arrows along with swords. The Amazons desperately need to open up their borders or something because as they are now they are completely defenseless against any real threats. It makes it hard to take them seriously so Wonder Woman is probably lucky that she got booted out of there. They reap what they sow and all that.
As always the animation here is very smooth. DC always has done a great job with this. The fight scenes are on point and the costumes work really well too. Wonder Woman’s design’s a little different here as the film seems to be modeling her more like a true amazon. As a result she’s quite a bit taller and more warrior-like which makes sense. In this style I actually preferred the film’s new design for her rather than the classic one but that’s more a credit to how solid the new one looks. The battle scenes are pretty dynamic and really get across how powerful the heroine is.
Quick shoutout to the random thug early on in the film. After her reconstruction, Silver Swan decides to go and murder some people. Usually the mobsters will just die instantly but this guy got slashed but still had the wits to take a step back and fire a shot. Naturally it’s not like he ended up coming out on top here either way but I have to give him credit for trying. It was an unwinnable battle, but he did his best.
Overall, Wonder Woman Bloodlines is a pretty solid film. You get a good amount of fight scenes, character interactions, and solid animation. It goes by pretty quick as the movie isn’t super long or anything. Doctor Cyber may have been rather underwhelming but it was fun seeing the rest of the villains show up. Vanessa’s plot could be a bit on the dull side for the opening scenes and overly dramatic at other times but through it all it was always fun seeing Wonder Woman use her wits to take down all of her opponents. I’d definitely recommend checking this film out and adding it to your DC roster.