Wonder Woman is currently dominating the box office, but did you know that the live-action Patty Jenkins film isn't the only one out there to focus on the iconic DC Comics heroine?
Back in 2009, Warner Bros. Animation released Wonder Woman, a direct-to-DVD animated feature that focused on Diana as she made the transition from warrior to hero. Compared to other DC animation projects at the time, the film wasn't as well received, but that hasn't stopped Warner Bros. from releasing a commemorative edition of the film in honor of the character's 75th anniversary.
And it's a good thing they did. Despite what many thought, the Wonder Woman animated movie really is a great addition to any DC library as it puts one of the world's foremost superheroines in the spotlight and proves that it's not only Superman and Batman who are capable of saving the day.
The movie loosely adapts the 1987 George Pérez arc Gods And Mortals and kicks off by introducing the audience to a proud and fierce race of warrior women known as the Amazons. Led by the fearless Queen Hippolyta, the movie opens in the midst of a bloody battle between the Amazonian army and the villainous god of war, Ares. The Amazons gain the upper hand and Hippolyta eventually defeats Ares. However, just as she is about to deliver the death blow, Zeus intervenes. Hera then bounds his powers with magic bracers that will prevent him from drawing upon the aura of violence and death that gave Ares his powers. In short, the god of war is essentially rendered mortal, with only a fellow god capable of removing the bonds placed upon him. The Amazons are then granted possession of the island of Themyscira, where they would remain eternally youthful and isolated from Man while keeping Ares imprisoned. Queen Hippolyta is also gifted a child, whom she names Diana, and shapes from the sands of their new island home.
Decades later, an American fighter pilot named Steve Trevor is shot down and ends up crash-landing on Themyscira. He eventually encounters, and is defeated by, Diana. The Amazonian princess takes the pilot back to her sisters who interrogate him by means of the Lasso of Truth. After concluding that the pilot means them no harm, Hippolyta orders that an emissary escort him back to the United States. Diana volunteers, but her request is denied as her mother feels she doesn't posses the experience needed to deal with the dangers of the outside world. Disagreeing with this decision, Diana conceals her identity and takes part in a series of contests - eventually winning the right to take Trevor back to his home.
Not long after, Ares is released from his prison with the help of the Amazon Persephone and Diana is then tasked with bringing him back to Themyscira to face judgement. Upon arriving in New York, Steve Trevor offers to aid Diana in her mission An investigation uncovers a pattern of violence created by Ares' presence - one that will lead to the god of war in due time. Diana and Steve eventually encounter and battle one of Ares' agents, Deimos, who ends up killing himself so as not to risk being interrogated. However, despite his best efforts, Deimos leaves a clue behind that leads Diana and Steve to a secret gateway leading to the underworld.
It is here that our heroine first attempts to defeat Ares. However, during the battle, the god of war summons harpies that end up knocking Diana unconscious. Trevor then takes it upon himself to rescue Diana, thus allowing Ares to escape capture. He then flees to the Underworld where he persuades his uncle Hades to remove the bonds placed upon him by the goddess Hera. Hades agrees and Ares assembles an army to march upon Washington.
Diana and Trevor, joined by an army of Amazons, arrive in Washington in an effort to intercept and stop Ares once and for all. Ares then summons an army of undead Amazons to rise from the grave, however, the god of war eventually looses control over them and he is forced to face Diana alone.
Ares then uses his powers to convince the president of the United States to order a nuclear missile against Themyscira, assuming the island nation to be the source of the attack on Washington. This act of extreme aggression bolsters Ares' power, but Trevor uses Diana's invisible jet to shoot the missile down before it can reach its intended target.
Diana and Ares engage in battle, with Diana eventually emerging victorious and beheading the god of war. He is thus condemned to the underworld to attend to his uncle Hades as a slave.
Later, back on Themyscira, Hippolyta realizes that her daughter misses Trevor and so, to make her happy once again, she assigns Diana the task of returning to Man's World to act as a channel for the communication between both men and women. Diana returns to the United States and reunites with Steven Trevor, taking up the name of Wonder Woman and vowing to fight to protect Man's World from anyone who'd dare to cause it harm.
Like we said above, the Wonder Woman animated movie makes a great addition to DC's animated universe. It explores the origin story of one of the world's most iconic heroes and laughs in the face of traditional gender roles. It adapts one of the best comics to come out of the 1980's and features a top-notch voice cast that includes the likes of Keri Russell, Nathan Fillion, Alfred Molina, Rosario Dawson and Oliver Platt. The story is action-packed and fun, with a rather thought-provoking message at its core, and is an animated adventure that fans aren't going to want to miss!
If that's not enough to convince you, the newly released Commemorative Edition includes a nice selection of bonus features previously unseen on the original DVD release. Not only do we get an advanced look at the upcoming Batman And Harley Quinn animated movie, but a deep look into the fascinating history of one of the very pillars of DC Comics.
Do yourself a favor and pick this one up! You'll be glad you did!
The Wonder Woman: Commemorative Edition is available now!
Special thanks to Gary Miereanu for making this review possible.
Until next time, Infinite Earths fans!
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