Wonder Woman Animated Movie Premieres at New York Comic Con... And It's Actually Pretty Wonderrific

Wonder Woman tells the story of Hippolyta's war with Ares, the God of War, the creation of the Amazon island Themyscira, and Wonder Woman's origins and her blossoming romance with human Steve Trevor as she fights to save the world from war and destruction.  The story is deftly managed to appeal to longtime fans and newcomers alike, which is great for viewers who might be interested in the icon but who may have never picked up an actual Wonder Woman comic.  Gail Simone, the amazing writer behind the current incarnation of the comic, developed the first draft of the story, and Michael Jelenic finalized the story and script.  Lauren Montgomery, who has co-directed other entries in the film series, has a great solo directing debut here.  And the voice talent is awesome: Keri Russell is a surprisingly good Wonder Woman, while Nathan Fillion unsurprisingly threatens to steal the show as Steve Trevor, and the supporting cast of Rosario Dawson, Alfred Molina, and Virginia Madsen are great.  The animation looks stellar and the action is seamless - and there's a lot of action, too.  The film definitely earns its PG-13 rating, and it has a fairly high bodycount.

The reason Wonder Woman works is because it takes its characters seriously, while understanding the icon's enduring camp appeal.  Princess Diana is smart, sure, and very funny: she kicks off her high heels before taking on a bad guy (although she later discovers that a high heel can, indeed, be a good weapon), she drinks Steve under the table, and she's baffled by gender stereotypes.  In fact, all of the Amazons in Wonder Woman are great, especially Dawson's Artemis.  What passess as feminist discourse in Wonder Woman is clunky and sometimes cheezy, but it's oddly exhilerating, too. In one scene, Diana teaches a little girl who has been left out of a game by a bunch of boys how to swordfight.  It should feel irritating and pandering, but it's played with enough humor and good grace that it inspired cheers from the thousands of people who assembed at Comic Con to watch the film.  It's also interesting to note that the film offers a bit of political commentary, too: when the President of the USA launches a preemptive strike against the Amazon island, it fuels Ares's power instead of quelling it.  A nice touch.

All that being said, there are some frustrating and bothersome aspects to Wonder Woman. Non-Amazon women come off badly in this film, even despite Diana's observations about the "advanced brainwashing" of women in human society. Overall, I was unimpressed by the way that the film too often equated the human world with "man's world." In addition, the film plays a bit with Wonder Woman's sexuality and the results are hit-and-miss, swinging from savvy and sophisticated to downright adolescent.  There's also an utterly unconvincing scene in which Wonder Woman is endangered solely to service the romantic comedy that develops between Diana and Steve. And I was also slightly uncomfortable with Oliver Platt's Hades, a character that come close to being part of that offensive film tradition of making villians effeminate as a way to demonstrate their monstrosity. 

On balance, however, Wonder Woman is very good.  I'd go so far to say that it's a fairly remarkable product for an industry that seems to be completely unable to make great female comic book characters into credible film stars.  I'll definitely be purchasing a copy next month.

Of course, the bad news in all of this is that Wonder Woman's success isn't likely to impact prospects for a live action film.  If it doesn't succeed with consumers, it validates the belief that people aren't interested in superheroines.  If it does succeed, DC will likely feel that their work of appeasing Wonder Woman fans is done.  That's a pretty sorry state of affairs.  Yet, I am at least glad that there's a worthwhile Wonder Woman coming soon to my small screen at home. 

[The creative team behind Wonder Woman also participated in a pretty good panel discussion with fans after the premiere.  Check out Sarah Jaffe's recap of the event over at Newsarama.]

 [Wonder Woman Official Site]

 

Comments

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Looks promising!

As a kid I was pretty obsessed with the TV show version of WW, but it will be cool to check out something a little more true to her story. She'll always be my favorite superheroine.

Take note: Opinions expressed are those of their respective authors, not necessarily those of Bitch. Dig?

I saw the premiere at Comic Con, too ...

I saw the premiere at Comic Con, too, and feel that the writers of the film betrayed the queer spirit of the Wonder Woman comic.

In George Perez, the DC writer/artist responsible for re-vamping Wonder Woman in the 80s, established Wonder Woman as bisexual and as completely uninterested in a romance with Steve Trevor. Diana and Steve have a close, sibling-like relationship and are never lovers. In fact, the comic book Steve Trevor is married to his assistant, Sgt. Etta Candy. Perez wrote Sgt. Candy as a shapely, courageous and compassionate mortal counterpart to Wonder Woman, but in DC's new movie, Etta is Trevor's slinky, brainless, man-crazy office assistant!

Tammy has already mentioned the film using obesity and effeminacy as signs of Hades' villainy. The film also has Hades delighting in abusing young male slaves. These old sizeist and homophobic devices are offensive and just plain lazy writing and they have never been used in WW's current comic book run.

In the twenty years of WW's current comic book continuity, there have been multiple references to same-sex relationships and bisexuality among the Amazons (including Diana). Yet, this is totally ignored in the movie. Instead, an Amazon betrays her people and becomes Ares' consort because the Amazons chose to cut themselves off from men. The clear message in the film is that the Amazons are inherently incomplete and, without men in their lives, will become tortured women, unable to fulfill their "natural" roles (as companions to men and as mothers).

Finally, I was sorely disappointed that, despite Steve Trevor’s misogyny and general skeeziness in the movie (which was, apparently, charming to the huge, cheering crowd at Comic Con), Wonder Woman gives him a big wet kiss at the end of the final battle and then starts dating him!

There were certainly aspects of the movie that I enjoyed (Tammy mentioned many of them above), but, after mulling over it for a few days, the movie just seemed like a “the war between the sexes has gone on too long” / “women just need to let down their guard and get over this sexism thing” sort of movie. And we’re told that women can be bad-ass, empowered, warrior princesses, but can’t be complete without men. And queerness is to be either silenced and vilified. It was a big let-down for this long-time queer Wonder Woman fan.

huh?

"If it doesn't succeed with consumers, it validates the belief that people aren't interested in superheroines. If it does succeed, DC will likely feel that their work of appeasing Wonder Woman fans is done. "

Why? I would guess that if it succeeded, more cartoons would come. Or a deal for a TV show. Look at the numerous Batman and Superman TV shows and comic movies (really straight to DVD movies). If it works, then why do you assume it would be dropped?

It starts out strong but...

Then it takes a complete nose dive, perpetuating the very ideas that I thought this movie was trying to avoid. I won't give the movie away, but it basically sends the message that a woman still 'needs' a man or men in her life in order to be complete. And there are times in the movie where you just want to jump in and take over. Because, when you believe in equality, some things just get you so mad. Like, at one point in the movie, the leading male role admits he's a womanizer (not on his own, mind you) and wonder woman excuses his behavior simply because he was honest. Yes, it's nice to know that you are being honest about your behavior. But admitting it does not JUSTIFY it. And it burned me up. Instead of his statement making wonder woman mad, SHE apologizes to him for HER behavior! Come on!

If anything, this movie is a giant step backwards for women everywhere because, despite its efforts, it still perpetuates the idea that women need men, women who are strong must also be attractive in order to stay appealing, must have a family and children in order to be happy, and must not be 'too' strong to where she completely overshadows a man and his masculinity. 20 minutes in, the movie itself is just one big insult.

I just wish things were different...

I HATED THE WONDER WOMAN ANIMATED MOVIE

TWO THUMBS DOWN!

Finally I got to see the movie & I cannot even begin to tell you how disappointed I am with this movie.

Here are some things that bothered me:

1) Ares, god of war, tolerated no one who stood in his way. He convinced Heracles, also the son of Zeus, to lead an army of men together with his brother Theseus to make war on the Amazons. The Queen wanted peace but Heracles drugged her & stole the Girdle of Gae (also one of the 12 labors he had to do). Without it's protection the Amazons were defenseless against him and his men. But the goddess Athena helped the Queen escape and she rallied the Amazons to defeat Heracles and his men. In the movie it was only Ares attacking.

2) The Amazons storming the beach front coming to the aide of Wonder Woman?...WTF is that? Are you kidding me? SO unrealistic. Are you telling me there was no one who can view U.S. airspace was being violated PRIOR to them touching U.S. soil & the US didnt do anything but scratch their head & wonder at it without sending out any "escorts" to "greet" them? Not one F-14? And the president remained in residence in instead of following protocol & being relocated to safety? BS. I know it's just a comic but give me a break! It's not the adventures of Alice in Wonder Land!!!

They could have at least, to save face, had Steve lead the "escort" & advise them that there were friendlies mixed with hostiles..that would have been more reasonable.

And when Ares raised the army of dead Amazons of past how did they appear in Washington DC? They died on Paradise Island! A little consistency wouldnt go unnoticed.

3) Steve Trevor was such an ASSS... Wonder WOman may have had moments when she despaired that men were corrupt but she NEVER experienced any negativity with him. He always remained true to form. He never disappointed her or caused her a moments pause in his character hence her softness she had towards him. He was always good, kind and helpful.He wasnt trying to get into her panties the way this ASS was. His character was more suited for the Flash. Cocky, wiseguy type flash. Not Steve TRevor.

Dont get me wrong I am glad he manned up! His little "damsel in distress" can wear you down. I am glad they made him more of a force to be reckoned with. However, in order to update him to present day and "man him up" he didnt need to be a PIG to be the man. You could still be a man, still be a gentleman without having to be an ASS. Give me a break.

4) Wonder WOman was so arrogant. YEs she was naive at first but never stupid. She was kind but never weak. She was compassionate but never a sap. She was forceful when needed to and commanding but never arrogant.

5) Etta Candy...she was always nice...and was never catty. They changed her character to a total b*tch. Is that how people view men and woman nowadays? Men as a jerks & women a B*.. so cynical.

It was so.... disappointing... like watching Batman Beyond or Superman with the same characters just different cartoons with different names. It's like they did a cut and paste.

6) Phillipus: General of the Amazon Guards & Queen Hippolyta's most trusted advisor & Chancellor of Themyscira.

It was thanks to General Phillipus guidance that Wonder WOman learned to CONTROL her strength, speed, power of flight, her wisdom and wits. Wonder Woman relied on her abilities too much and learned a painful lesson when Phillipus shot her with an arrow to teach WOnder Woman that too much faith in her powers could leave her vulnerable.

Euboea: Captain in the Amazon Guard.

Mnemosyne: A historian

Where do they get Artemis & ALexis from in the movie? That is so inaccurate. Didnt they take the time to research these details? Didnt they care enough to do it right?

7) Wonder Woman was getting her ass whooped! big time! Are you kidding me?! she had the same powers as Ares- WTF?! It should have been alot more closed fight than what it was. Granted she closed the deal in the end...still.

8) Her secret was known? That Steve, knew her secret? HER IDENTITY! And they were shacking up????? Where is the mystery? the suspense? I HATED IT!!!!!!!
What are they thinking? And she changed into her costume like Superman! Superman! Was anything not taken from another comic?

Wonder Woman came running out an alley tugging off her clothes in almost identical fashion of how Superman would as he tugs at his tie to begin undressing. Her "transformation" is what appealed to all the girls, how they identified her as THEIR superhero. It's what she does, it's her THING! Not running & tugging at her clothes as she is running to the rescue. IT'S ONE OF HER POWERS. This goes beyond Lynda Carter & reruns. It always has been her thing in comics & what you expect to see. You EXPECT it.

I was left DISAPPOINTED in the end. I liked that it had action and how Steve was more forceful. I loved Alfred Molina & the other voice overs but I feel as though they used this as a test run for the live movie and it was found wanting. And if they did use this as a test run they need to go back and tweak it... I feel as though they just threw some fighting, some little facts and Steve trying to be Rico Suave to pass as flirting & romance and said "there...that should be good enough for them". I feel very let down.

They didnt capture the essence of what is WW, what makes her unique. They didnt find the balance, display the struggle she had to not just pound them senseless till she got the bad guys to bend to her will. Nah, this was not a Wonder Woman movie. This was Superman as drag or something.

Wonder Woman Review

Firstly, im not really a Wonder Woman fan..that is, i havnt read many of her comics. In fact the only times i have read any stories involving her were in Justice League or team up comics. That being said i have always liked the character..and after this movie..i love the lady! Its generally assumed in the fan community that Marvel have DC beat hands down when it comes to live action movie output..which is true in terms of quantity, but not quality. For every Iron Man, theres an Elektra..every X2 a Ghost Rider! Im not saying DC havnt released they'r fair share of dodgy movies (Batman and Robin anyone?) but i think its a bit of an unfair assumtion. Ill tell you what i KNOW for a certainty, as far as animated movies go, DC really take Marvel to the cleaners. Wonder Woman is the 4rth animated movie (the others being the impressive New Frontier, Superman:Doomsday and Gotham Knights) from DC..and like they'r habit of releasing a slew of live action..Marvel have at least 6 animated. They vary in quality..actually im being kind, the only one that is is of a high quality is the latest, Hulk Vs..and even that does not stand up favorably to Wonder Woman. I mean its all about the quality..in every aspect. Wonder Woman boasts voice talent like Nathon Fillion, Virginia Madsen, Rosario Dawson and Alfred Molina, as well as simply gorgeous animation by Bruce Timm. Lets look at the Godawful Avengers movies by Marvel. Voice cast by the likes of..emmm..NOBODY, and the animation looks like something from early Simpsons episodes(i might be exaggerating..a tad!)..word of advice Marvel, spend a few quid next time and maybe watching your movies wont be an experience akin to watching back to back episodes of Superfriends!

I am not a fan

Firstly, im not really a Wonder Woman fan..that is, i havnt read many of her comics. In fact the only times i have read any stories involving her were in Justice League or team up comics. That being said i have always liked the character..and after this movie..i love the lady! Its generally assumed in the fan community that Marvel have DC beat hands down when it comes to live action movie output..which is true in terms of quantity, but not quality. For every Iron Man, theres an Elektra..every X2 a Ghost Rider! Im not saying DC havnt released they'r fair share of dodgy movies (Batman and Robin anyone?) but i think its a bit of an unfair assumtion. Ill tell you what i KNOW for a certainty, as far as animated movies go, DC really take Marvel to the cleaners. Wonder Woman is the 4rth animated movie (the others being the impressive New Frontier, Superman:Doomsday and Gotham Knights) from DC..and like they'r habit of releasing a slew of live action..Marvel have at least 6 animated. They vary in quality..actually im being kind, the only one that is is of a high quality is the latest, Hulk Vs..and even that does not stand up favorably to Wonder Woman. I mean its all about the quality..in every aspect. Wonder Woman boasts voice talent like Nathon Fillion, Virginia Madsen, Rosario Dawson and Alfred Molina, as well as simply gorgeous animation by Bruce Timm. Lets look at the Godawful Avengers movies by Marvel. Voice cast by the likes of..emmm..NOBODY, and the animation looks like something from early Simpsons episodes(i might be exaggerating..a tad!)..word of advice Marvel, spend a few quid next time and maybe watching your movies wont be an experience akin to watching back to back episodes of Superfriends!

Black feminism argues that

Black feminism argues that sexism, class oppression, and racism are inextricably bound together.Forms of feminism that strive to overcome sexism and class oppression but ignore race can discriminate against many people, including women, through racial bias. The Combahee River Collective argued in 1974 that the liberation of black women entails freedom for all people, since it would require the end of racism, sexism, and class oppression.One of the theories that evolved out of this movement was Alice Walker's Womanism. It emerged after the early feminist movements that were led specifically by white women who advocated social changes such as woman’s suffrage. These movements were largely white middle-class movements and had generally ignored oppression based on racism and classism. Alice Walker and other Womanists pointed out that black women experienced a different and more intense kind of oppression from that of white women.

Ecofeminism links ecology

Ecofeminism links ecology with feminism. Ecofeminists see the domination of women as stemming from the same ideologies that bring about the domination of the environment. Patriarchal systems, where men own and control the land, are seen as responsible for the oppression of women and destruction of the natural environment. Ecofeminists argue that the men in power control the land, and therefore they are able to exploit it for their own profit and success. Ecofeminists argue that in this situation, women are exploited by men in power for their own profit, success, and pleasure. Ecofeminists argue that women and the environment are both exploited as passive pawns in the race to domination. Ecofeminists argue that those people in power are able to take advantage of them distinctly because they are seen as passive and rather helpless. Ecofeminism connects the exploitation and domination of women with that of the environment. As a way of repairing social and ecological injustices, ecofeminists feel that women must work towards creating a healthy environment and ending the destruction of the lands that most women rely on to provide for their families.