Patty Jenkins and Gal Gadot's highly anticipated Wonder Woman is going to hit theaters soon, and it's been a long time coming for many fans of the DC icon. While this will be her first solo movie on the big screen, it isn't her first solo film. That honor goes to 2009's DC Animated Wonder Woman movie, and the good news is it's actually managed to get better with time.
This Wonder Woman likely follows a similar overall arc to the new film, albeit set in the modern day. It recounts Diana's creation, her first meeting with Steve Trevor, and the first encounter with the outside world. While those beats have much in common with the new film, the animated movie is able to do things that will not likely appear in the new version, and it definitely deserves another viewing if you haven't seen it lately.
It manages to work in some fan favorite aspects of the character in great detail and gave fans a Wonder Woman with the ability to inspire long before the DCEU was underway. It delivers action, character, depth, and heart throughout its hour and 14 minutes, and did some things extremely well that the new film is hopefully drawing some inspiration from.
The film recently received a new commemorative edition on Blu-ray and DVD, giving fans the perfect chance to get in a second viewing before the new film hits theaters. “The Wonder Woman animated film stands as one of the most beloved, complete, original stories in the decade-long history of DC Universe Original Movies,” said Mary Ellen Thomas, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Vice President, Family & Animation Marketing. “Warner Bros. Home Entertainment is proud to honor this iconic character with a Commemorative Edition.”
Hit the next slide to see 5 things the Wonder Woman animated film absolutely nailed, and why you should carve out some time to give it one more watch!
The Gods Of Olympus
The Greek gods have long figured into the Wonder Woman lore, which makes sense since their power literally created her from nothing but clay. Still, the Gods haven't always been used effectively. Some stories lean on them too often, while others don't implement them enough. In this case, the gods have been woven into the heart of the story without overtaking it, a hard feat to manage.
Alfred Molina delivers a delightful performance as Ares, and other Gods like Zeus (David McCallum) and Hera (Marg Helgenberger) deliver quality performances as well. That said, it's Oliver Platt's Hades that steals the show. His slithering manipulations aren't evident at first, but by film's end, he's delivered the ultimate low blow to Ares without even having to get his hands dirty. He even kicks him on the way down, showing in but two moments why he's the ruler of the underworld.
A Pitch Perfect Wonder Woman
Keri Russell delivers a perfect performance as Diana, but the depiction succeeds in more ways than just vocally. This Diana is witty and charming, but her strength and intelligence are never pushed aside for the sake of a joke.
She doesn't understand how certain things work in the outside world, but she's not played as naive or unintelligent. She doesn't get it because in most cases it doesn't make any sense. She calls out visible sexism in a perfectly blunt fashion, and these scenarios make up some of the films best moments. For instance, her instructing a young girl on the ways of play sword-fighting because the boys want her to be the damsel. Granted, she might have gone a bit overboard in her instructions, but hey, that girl can probably sword-fight better than most instructors now, so that's a win.
It can also be seen when she calls out Etta Candy for sacrificing her place of strength to cater to a man's ego for the sake of flirtation. It's not even condescending, just matter of fact, and you can't help but love her when she lifts the table so Etta can get her pen. She backs up the talk on the battlefield too, and the animators gave her a versatile fighting style filled with brutal punches and elegant kicks.
This Wonder Woman is a champion that anyone can get behind, and if Gal Gadot's is half as good fans are in for a treat.
The Amazons are often depicted in militaristic extremes. They hate the outside world and the men in it, and anyone who questions that logic is shamed and ridiculed. While some of that exists in Amazonian society here as well, this group is much more well rounded.
Granted, it's not like their distrust of men is unfounded, as perfectly illustrated in the opening scenes. Despite their apprehensiveness, there is still reason and understanding to be found here, and it all starts from the top down.
That means it begins with Hippolyta (Virgina Madsen), who has more reason than most to hate the male gender. Despite this, she still displays reason when she needs to, as she does with Steve Trevor's unexpected arrival. She will go to any lengths to save her people, even taking out her own son at one point (long story), but her leadership also contains a compassionate temperament.
The same can be said of Artemis (Rosario Dawson), who while headstrong manages to learn a few things from Alexa (Tara Strong), an Amazon who would rather read than fight. The Amazons become more than mindless soldiers, displaying a wealth of personality that is often missing in the comics.
Diana And Steve
This might be one of the most difficult relationships to capture. It presents easy opportunities to delve into excess romanticism and damsel tropes. The good news is that Wonder Woman manages to avoid those pitfalls, and what hits the screen instead is fun and constantly evolving.
Steve Trevor is played by the talented Nathan Fillion, who brings the perfect amount of wit and charm to the role. Trevor is a guy's guy in many ways and admits to as much throughout the film. While it allows the opportunity for some funny jokes along the way, it's important to note that he's also someone willing to learn. He's never had anyone challenge his preconceptions about women, and seeing him run the gauntlet trying to figure it all out is one of the film's highlights, especially paired with the fact that Diana absolutely has no tolerance for it.
Two alphas tend to butt heads, but there's something real here between them that allows the viewer to invest. Plus, if they never met you wouldn't have lines like "You crazy Amazon dragon lady!", or that fantastic sequence on the invisible jet that sees Trevor spill his guts, only to learn that he accidentally set his foot on the lasso.
Successfully Told A Story In Modern Times
Patty Jenkins' Wonder Woman will fulfill many DC fan's wishlists when it delivers a tale set during World War I. Seeing Wonder Woman juxtaposed with the surroundings and events of that time period will definitely make for some compelling footage, but there is something to be said for going with modern times. That's where this Wonder Woman excels.
Fans are used to modern tales with the character in comics and other animated projects, but it isn't the easiest thing to pull off. Specifically making Diana's first encounter with the outside world in the modern day, which this Wonder Woman aims to do. It wholly succeeds by the way, as again the writers don't play Diana as stupid or awestruck. She isn't running into things all over the place and oohing and awwing. She is more surprised by ideals and motives held by the outside world as opposed to how a sign can be digital or why that car isn't led by horse and buggy. There isn't anything necessarily wrong with the other way mind you, but it was refreshing to see it played this way for once. Diana's more interested in the people than the place, and that attitude makes it easy to believe that she would become an inspirational icon in this unfamiliar world as a result.
Before You Go
You can view the Wonder Woman animated film's synopsis below. The live-action synopsis can be found there as well.
On the mystical island of Themyscira, a proud and fierce warrior race of Amazons have raised a princess of untold beauty, grace and strength – Diana. When U.S. fighter pilot Steve Trevor crash-lands on the island, the rebellious and headstrong Diana defies Amazonian law by accompanying Trevor back to civilization. Meanwhile, Ares (the God of War) has escaped his imprisonment at the hands of the Amazonians and has decided to exact his revenge by starting a World War that will last for centuries and wipe out every living being on the planet, starting with the Amazons. It is up to Diana to save her people and the world – by using her gifts and becoming the ultimate Wonder Woman!
Wonder Woman hits movie theaters around the world next summer when Gal Gadot returns as the title character in the epic action-adventure from director Patty Jenkins. Before she was Wonder Woman, she was Diana, princess of the Amazons, trained to be an unconquerable warrior. Raised on a sheltered island paradise, when an American pilot crashes on their shores and tells of a massive conflict raging in the outside world, Diana leaves her home, convinced she can stop the threat. Fighting alongside man in a war to end all wars, Diana will discover her full powers…and her true destiny.
Wonder Woman is directed by Patty Jenkins and is written by Allan Heinberg, Geoff Johns, and Zack Snyder. The film stars Gal Gadot (Diana Prince/Wonder Woman), Chris Pine (Steve Trevor), Robin Wright (General Antiope), Connie Nielsen (Queen Hippolyta), David Thewlis, Elena Anaya, Lucy Davis (Etta Candy), Danny Huston, Ewen Bremmer, Doutzen Kroes, Samantha Jo (Euboea), Florence Kasumba (Senator Acantha), Said Taghmaoui, Eleanor Matsuura (Epione), Emily Carey (Young Diana), and Lisa Loven Kongsli (Menalippe).
Wonder Woman hits theaters on June 2, 2017, while the Wonder Woman: Commemorative Edition is on Blu-ray and DVD on now.