A thought occurred to me about DC’s so-called “Trinity” of heroes, that being Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman. Between the three, let’s compare them with their serials, theatrical films, TV shows and straight-to-DVD releases (anything that’s bold and italicized means that I’ll get to them in future reviews). For this, we’re just counting “solo” outings. Batman: 2 serials (Batman [’43] and Batman & Robin [’49]), 9 theatrical films (Batman: The Movie [’66], Batman [’89], Batman Returns [’92], Batman: Mask of the Phantasm [’93], Batman Forever [’95], Batman & Robin [’97], Batman Begins [’05], The Dark Knight [’08] and The Dark Knight Rises [’12]), 6 TV Shows (Batman [’66-’68], Batman: The Animated Series [’92-’95, ’97-’99], Batman Beyond [’99-’01], The Batman [’04-’08], Batman: The Brave & The Bold [’08-’11] and Beware The Batman [’13-Present]) and 8 straight-to-DVD films (Batman & Mr. Freeze: Sub-Zero [’97], Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker [’00], The Batman vs. Dracula [’05], Batman: Gotham Knight [’08], Batman: Under The Red Hood [’10], Batman: Year One [’11] and Batman: The Dark Knight Returns [Part 1: ’12, Part 2: ’13]). That’s 25 various projects for the Caped Crusader. Superman: 3 serials (Fleischer Studios/Famous Studios Superman series [’41-’43], Superman [’48] and Atom Man vs. Superman [’50]), 7 theatrical films (Superman & The Mole Men [’51], Superman [’78], Superman II [’80], Superman III [’83], Superman IV: The Quest For Peace [’87], Superman Returns [’06] and Man Of Steel [’13]), 6 TV Shows (Adventures Of Superman [’52-’58], Superman [’88], Superboy [’88-’92], Lois & Clark: The New Adventures Of Superman [’93-’97], Superman: The Animated Series [’96-’00] and Smallville [’01-’11]) and 4 straight-to-DVD films (Superman: Brainiac Attack [’06], Superman: Doomsday [’07], All-Star Superman [’11] and Superman: Unbound [’13]). That’s 20 different projects for Krypton’s son. Compare all of that to what the lone female hero has you see why she’s constantly left out in the cold. All she’s got is 3 separate solo outings: a 1974 TV movie, a 1975 TV series which ran for three seasons and a lone straight-to-DVD film that serves as the basis of my review that’s simply called…
Originally released on March 3, 2009, this film is loosely based on a storyline called “Gods & Mortals”, which was writer George Pérez’ 1988 reboot of the character. Following my story recap, I’ll go over what elements were used for the film since this is mostly its own story.
We begin many centuries ago within the midst of Ancient Greece. A war has broken out and is being heavily fought between a group of female warriors known as the Amazons and the army of a particular Greek God.
Leading the charge against the Amazons is the God of War himself Ares (voiced by Doctor Octopus himself, Alfred Molina), who grows more and more volatile with every bit of death, destruction and bloodshed that occurs.
Fighting for the hateful cause is Deimos (voiced by John Dimaggio), the God of Terror, who contributes here by throwing an Amazonian warrior across the battlefield.
Also in the fight for annihilation is Thrax, the son of Ares who does his part in taking out numerous Amazons without a single beat of sweat.
Confronting Ares in battle is the Queen of the Amazons, Hippolyta (voiced by Virginia Madsen). As the two of them fight, we find out that Thrax is also HER son. This was only because Ares had forcibly conceived upon the fair queen.
Back on the battlefield, we get to meet a few of the Amazons. First, we have Artemis (voiced by Rosario Dawson) who shows no signs of slowing down against any member of Ares’ Army of Darkness.
On the flip side, we have Alexa (voiced by Tara Strong) who heavily struggles against a minotaur-like creature before being forced to run for cover. As she hides and starts to pray with a quote from Akhenaton (the “As a rock on the Seashore” quote), Artemis comes to her rescue and easily slays the creature. She berates Alexa for running from a fight and conjuring up quotes from deceased philosophers. Despite being told that she’s not fit for battle, Artemis will have none of it as she gives Alexa a sword and shoves her back into battle.
However, Alexa gets bumped into one of Ares’ soldiers who prepares to do her in. Fortunately, she gets rescued again. This time, it’s from Persephone (voiced by Vicki Lewis) who easily takes care of said soldier with a swift kick to the man’s region.
However, another one’s of Ares’ soldiers (armed with two swords) charges right at Alexa. She’s able to quickly dodge, but Persephone ends up taking the hit. Specifically, she received a swift slash on her face and right over her right eye. Artemis comes in and quickly subdues said soldier, but Alexa starts to feel the guilt of what happened due to her cowardice.
After Hippolyta sees the death and carnage that her illegitimate son is causing, she manages to hop onto a Pegasus and rides towards him. Ares gets on a Griffin and tries to stop her, but Hippolyta is able to leap down and decapitate Thrax in one swift cut.
Enraged at the death of his son, Ares charges towards Hippolyta. However, the Queen of the Amazons is quickly able to subdue him and prepares to give him the same fate.
However, the battle gets interrupted by the king of the Greek Gods himself Zeus (voiced by David McCallum) who demands that Ares (his son) gets spared. Hippolyta is enraged at him, since she and the Amazons had been enslaved by the God of War for decades.
Fortunately, the Queen of the Greek Gods Hera (voiced by Marg Helgenberger) comes in as a peacemaker and tells Hippolyta to respect her husband’s wishes. She states that Ares will live, but his crimes won’t go unpunished.
He will end up as a prisoner to the Amazons and is given magic bracers, which will prevent him from gaining strength through violence and war. Hera also states that only another Greek God will be able to remove said bands.
As an additional way to protect the Amazons from further harm, Hera also creates a wondrous land called Themyscira, a realm free from the passage of time and invisible to Man’s World. On said island, the Amazons were able to build a utopian city to live and prosper.
Also being given the chance to have a child, Hippolyta heads to the shores of the island during a thunderstorm and uses a dagger to build a baby out of the sands. After pricking her thumb and giving the creation a drop of her blood, she lifts the construct towards the heavens. After it is struck by a bolt of lightning, a baby girl emerge from the sands, thus giving birth to the future savior of mankind.
Centuries pass as the baby girl grows up into a young woman named Diana (voiced by Keri Russell), as we see her in bo staff training with Artemis. Her practice shows off as she gives the hardened warrior a fierce fight, ultimately defeating her.
Hippolyta praises her daughter for being able to handle one of the fiercest fighters that the Amazons has to offer, yet is pointed out that they never leave the island to embrace Man’s World. Diana wonders why she’s being trained in combat if they no longer get involved in war, to which Hippolyta says that they must remain on their guard no matter what. When her daughter wonders if they should venture out into Man’s World since it’s possibly changed for the better over the course of many centuries, the Queen takes her to the island’s prison.
As they approach their dungeon, we see that it’s guarded by one Amazon soldier on the outside while the scarred Persephone stands watch on the inside. They approach Ares’ cell for Diana to see and the God of War states that it’s foolish that the Amazons can keep him locked up forever. Hippolyta uses this as a means to inform Diana about the darkness within the hearts of all men as deceitful and untrustworthy beings to interact with.
Up in the nearby skies, we have a trio of Air Force fighter pilots led by Cl. Steve Trevor (voiced by Richard Castle himself, Nathan Fillon). They get engaged in combat with seven enemy jets as the trio begins a dogfight with the enemy forces.
In the main throne room on Themyscira, Hippolyta and Artemis view said aerial battle of Man’s World via a special mirror that was made by the Greek God Hephaestus. It has the power to keep the island invisible from the rest of the world, but its ability is temporarily broken as Hippolyta touches the mirror. Fortunately, Artemis manages to get her queen’s hand away long enough for the island to vanish from sight just as the enemy fighter planes were about to fly past.
Feeling cooped up inside, Diana proceeds to go do some horseback riding throughout Themyscira. She offers Alexa the chance to join her, but gets turned down in favor of a good book.
Meanwhile, Steve Trevor and his two fellow pilots continue their battle in the skies. The bogies are able to slowly but surely get shot down, but Trevor ultimately loses his backup in the fight. Having been hit during the dogfight, Steve manages to shoot down the last enemy fighter. However, his plane succumbs to its damages and begins to fall from the skies. He’s not even able to eject from his aircraft due to it malfunctioning.
As Trevor continues to freefall towards his doom, we quickly head back to the throne room where we see someone’s hand form into a fist and punch the mirror of Hephaestus. This causes Themyscira to be revealed to Man’s World and it gets Steve’s attention as he heads towards the island to land his plane. He flies past the center of the island, catching the attention of everyone nearby. He even flies past a cliff that Diana is on while horseback riding, causing her to go investigate. Fortunately for Trevor, he’s able to safely land the plane on top of the island’s stream.
Steve then heads through the jungle to investigate his surroundings when he secretly comes across a waterfall and a lagoon. He’s then astonished when he discovers that it’s being inhabited by a small group of Amazons with no clothes on and using the lagoon to relax and swim.
Just then, he gets a shock as a spear lands onto a nearby tree that he’s leaning on and sees Artemis leading a trio of Amazons to hunt him down. Trevor makes a run for it and soon enough, Diana joins in on the pursuit. Steve gets chased until he ultimately runs off of a cliff, smacking through many vines before ultimately landing in the stream.
Trevor then makes his way out of the water just as Diana catches up to him. She orders for him to surrender, but he manages to elude her for a bit longer. Ultimately, Diana manages to tackle Steve down a hill and they have a brief fight. Impressed by her hand-to-hand combat skills, Trevor states that he’s starting to like her. However, this gives Diana the chance to end the fight. She does so with a swift kick to the groin followed by an uppercut, knocking him out.
As he regains consciousness, he finds himself tied up to the throne with a group of Amazons in front of him. Hippolyta arrives with a Golden Lasso in hand, which makes anyone within its bindings tell the truth (no matter what). She interrogates Steve and finds out who he is and that he was unaware of their existence.
After learning that Trevor poses no threat to the Amazons whatsoever, Hippolyta tells Artemis to prepare a contest for the Amazons where the winner will become the ambassador of Themyscira and helps him get back to his home land.
Diana wants to take part in the competition, but Hippolyta denies her request for fearing that the same evils that befell her in the past would again happen to her daughter. Instead, Diana gets assigned to guard Ares’ cell during the contest alongside Persephone.
As Diana mopes about missing out on the competition, Alexa comes along with her books and says that she’ll take her spot on guard duty. Diana thanks her fellow Amazon sister and heads off to take part in the contest while Alexa joins Persephone in Ares’ cell to stand guard.
From javelin tosses and archery to chariot races and sword fights, the competition is fierce as every Amazon participant is wearing a helmet that masks their identities. Using this to her advantage, Diana manages to rise through the ranks and slowly but surely bests any opponent that stands in her way.
Meanwhile, Alexa and Persephone continue their watch over Ares’ cell. Alexa feels that the arrival of a man onto their island feels like the beginning of greater times ahead, while Persephone doubts it. Alexa then mentions the “As a rock on the Seashore” quote from the philosopher Akhenaton as her personal way of being brave. However, as she starts to recite the quote, she gets stabbed through the back with a sword.
It turns out to be Persephone, betraying her fellow Amazons and having been emotionally swayed by Ares. She releases him from his cell as Alexa watches in grim horror the destruction to come before succumbing to her injury.
Back at the arena, Diana and another Amazon have tied for first place. As a result, they’re both given bracelets and must use them to protect themselves from an ever-growing number of archers’ arrows. In the end, Diana emerges as the last Amazon standing and wins the right to be Themyscira’s emissary. She is awarded a special uniform decked out in American colors, special bracelets made of Zeus’ shield (and forged by Hephaestus) and even the Golden Lasso itself. Diana then takes off her helmet to reveal herself to her mother. Despite her personal reluctance, Hippolyta gives her daughter her tiara as well, knowing that she’ll honorably represent her sisters. Immediately afterwards, they’re informed of what has happened at Ares’ cell and that Diana will be doing more than just returning Steve to his homeland.
After dressing herself in her new outfit, Diana reemerges to her fellow Amazons and to Steve as Wonder Woman. Afterwards, she departs with Trevor aboard the invisible plane and takes off for Man’s World.
After landing back in New York City, Steve offers to help Wonder Woman since his job can give him access to certain surveillance systems. She accepts and after having Trevor get her into more presentable work clothes, gets taken back to Air Force Headquarters where we come across fellow co-worker Etta Candy (voiced by Julianne Grossman) who had just accidentally knocked her pen off of her desk and rolled underneath. After Steve introduces her to Diana, Etta asks him for help in getting her pen back. Puzzled, Diana wonders why Candy needs Trevor to move her desk when she’s in good physical health before lifting it up with just a single hand and retrieves the pen.
After they arrive at a computer console, Diana is unbelieving amazed at the supposed “brainwashing” that males have over the their fellow females, yet Steve quickly gets her back on track to what they came here for. They find out that just mere moments after Ares escaped, the Mediterranean area received rising cases of hate and violence. Diana tells him that Ares has the ability to make anyone near him get enthralled in raging fervor. Trevor says that eventually, a pattern will show up and allow them to go hunt the God of War down.
While waiting for a pattern on Ares to develop, Steve decides to take Diana out on the town and they wind up in a bar called “The Rusty Nail”. As they go through shot after shot of tequila, they talk about various topics from relationships involving famous Greek figures to Diana having a dream for a long time that she would always being the one that unites the Amazons with Man’s World. Unlike the human body which gets drunk after a while (along with plenty of shots), Diana’s Amazonian figure is able to resist the alcohol and continues to keep her sober. This backfires on a drunken Trevor as he stumbles to try and kiss Diana, only to hit his face on her bar stool. This disgusts the Amazonian Princess who storms out while Steve tries to apologize.
The two of them walk into an alleyway as Diana berates Steve for his attempts to get her drunk, but then a street gang starts to converge from both sides and attempts to rob them. One of the thugs even threatens them with a hand gun, but Diana refuses to give in to their demands. The thug starts shooting at her, but our Amazonian Princess easily deflects the bullets with her bracelets and even causes one of the shots to graze a thug in his right shoulder. The rest of the street gang tries to physically attack, but Diana doesn’t even break a sweat as she easily defeats them.
When he sees a titanic figure hiding within the steam, Steve goes over to handle what he thinks is another gang member. However, it turns out be Deimos who was sent by Ares to kill Wonder Woman. They begin their tussle as they smash up cars, slam each other through a nearby mall and even have Deimos fling Diana into a fountain.
With her dress already in tatters, Wonder Woman rips it off and continues the fight. Deimos gets flung into a shoe store as the clash eventually goes back outside.
In the end, Wonder Woman defeats Deimos with the help of the Golden Lasso. She then uses it to try and find out where Ares is hiding, but Deimos refuses to tell. Even when Steve tells him to just give it up already, the “Personification of Terror” has his snake-laden beard inject him with poison and kills himself. Trevor then notices an amulet within Deimos’ remain, as Wonder Woman easily recognizes the emblem as the Greek Underworld itself, Tartarus.
Wonder Woman and Steve immediately use the Invisible Plane to fly over to where Ares is. It turns out he’s leading a small human army called The Cult of Ares as they plan on opening the doorway to Tartarus. As our heroes sneak their way in (and subdue many of the soldiers in the process), we find out that the moment Diana foils Ares’ plan, she is to return home to Themyscira.
Ares and Persephone (along with three human soldiers) arrive at the gate that leads into Tartarus, but we learn that in order for it to open, it has to be on the one night of the whole year known as the Blood Moon. On that particular evening, a sacrifice to Hades must be made in order to gain access. After receiving a dagger from Persephone, Ares has one of the soldiers tied down to the slab. As he prepares to make the sacrifice, Wonder Woman uses her tiara to knock the dagger out of his hands. Ares counters by summoning a pair of harpies, who easily kills the other two soldiers.
Wonder Woman easily takes down one harpy, while Steve tries to go for the dagger. However, Ares beats him to it and punches him away. Fortunately, Wonder Woman uses her lasso to force the dagger away from Ares and subdue him. Trevor then sees Persephone attempting to help the God of War, but he easily tackles her onto the ground. However, Ares manages to get free from the lasso and reclaim the dagger. Wonder Woman manages to catch up and force him into submission. Unfortunately, the remaining harpy manages to grab the Amazonian Princess and knocks her out as Diana ends up unconscious.
Steve comes to her rescue by using one of the dead soldier’s grenades, climbs up the harpy’s back and throws the grenade into its mouth. He then carries Diana away just before the harpy blows up from the explosive. Unfortunately, Ares is able to complete the ritual as he kills the strapped soldier. His blood begins to pour onto the creases and makes it way towards the gate, thus opening the way into Tartartus. Ares and Persephone begin their descent into the Underworld while Steve takes Wonder Woman into a helicopter and flies off to get her medical attention.
As Ares and Persephone make their way towards Tartarus, they come across the underworld’s main guard dog Cerberus. It allows Ares to proceed, but makes Persephone wait outside.
Ares ultimately makes his way to Tartarus and confronts his uncle Hades (voiced by Oliver Platt) and asks him to remove his bracers. The God of War tells the God of the Underworld that he plans on waging war throughout Man’s World and ultimately give his uncle plenty of servants to serve him for eternity, despite Zeus’ request to Hades not to help him.
Hades agrees to help out Ares and then excuses him for some service. The God of War is surprised to see his deceased son Thrax working for the God of the Underworld.
Hades then proceeds to use his powers and remove the bracers from Ares. With his true powers restored, the God of War prepares to unleash death and destruction once again upon Man’s World.
Within the country of Italy, we then proceed to Ospedale Hospital where Diana is recovering from her wounds. As she regains consciousness, she learns from Steve that he wasn’t able to prevent Ares from entering Tartarus and slaps him for it. Despite Trevor saying that she wouldn’t be alive if it wasn’t for his rescue, Diana berates him on the fact that she’s an Amazon and that her kind is supposed to give themselves up in battle. When she says that he would have acted differently if she was a man, Trevor then begins his own beration on her and the Amazons. He hates the fact that Diana’s fellow sisters have cut themselves off from the outside world, thinking that less communication with humans makes it better. He also tells her that not every single man is trying to do everything in their power to keep women down and that the world’s not worth saving if she’s not a part of it.
Diana realizes this as she and Steve continue to further their relationship. A tender moment emerges from this as Steve tries to kiss her, but she once again slaps his face and denies him that chance. However, she’s fully recovered and changes back into her outfit ready for the main duel.
Over in Washington, D.C., Ares has gathered his Army of Darkness in front of the Lincoln Memorial and rallies them to prepare for their killing of 5 billion people. The U.S. Army looks from afar and is prepared to fight back. However, Ares’ armada catches them off guard and easily defeats them.
As the invisible plane makes its way to D.C., Wonder Woman apologizes for her reaction at the hospital. Steve also apologizes and admits that he hasn’t been much help in representing Man’s World. He even admits that throughout his life, he’s been something of a pig and a womanizer, but only because he’s afraid of being hurt. He then realizes why he’s telling Wonder Woman this, because he had accidentally placed his foot within the Golden Lasso. Afterwards, they land next to the Lincoln Memorial where war has just broken out as they begin their fight against Ares’ army.
Wonder Woman makes her way to Ares, only to keep fending herself from his army. Ultimately, Persephone intervenes and takes Diana out of the fight with a swift kick, allowing two members of Ares’ armada to grab her arms and prevent her from resisting.
Just as Ares is about to finish off Wonder Woman with a bloody THWAK, an arrow comes in and knocks the sword out of his hand. It turns out that a gigantic Amazon army is arriving just off the Potomac River with boats carrying legion upon legion of female warriors while even more soar through the skies upon numerous Pegasuses. We even see that on one particular boat is Queen Hippolyta and her faithful ally Artemis with a legion of Amazons.
As the Amazons and the Army of Darkness clash with one another, Wonder Woman is able to take care of the two subduing goons. From there, she begins the final battle with Ares.
At first, Wonder Woman is able to hold her own against the God of War. Using her lasso to fling him around and having her way, Diana is able to have control over the fight. However, Ares had already been gaining strength due to the war as all of the violence, bloodshed and death has given him more and more power. The cherry on top for him is when the U.S. President (voiced by Rick Overton) is under his influence while American intelligence discovers Themyscira all the way back in the Aegean Sea (just off the coast of Greece) and fear that it’s where the supernatural forces are coming from. The President orders a missile launch onto said island, which was enough to give Ares his full power.
Steve sees the missile and takes off in the Invisible Plane to go after it. As it closes in on Themyscira, Steve is able to lock-on and fires one of his own missiles. However, he doesn’t see anything approach it, despite the plane’s instruments confirming him. He then sees the missile explode right before it can get to Themyscira and realizes that the Invisible Plane also has invisible missiles.
Back in D.C., Wonder Woman receives pummeling after pummeling from Ares and gets smashed into the White House so hard, that it creates a shock wave which knocks over nearby Amazons and evil soldiers. If that wasn’t enough, he even brings back undead Amazons to fight for him. The living Amazons try to fight back, but the newly-resurrected sisters can’t be killed. Even worse, any Amazon that gets killed in battle instantly comes back and fights for Ares.
Artemis is easily able to fend off her undead sisters, but she then comes across a familiar face among the resurrected, Alexa. Unlike her past life however, she’ss able to combat Artemis in a sword fight. As they continue to tussle, Alexa is able to regain herself long enough to say “Nego Arch Corpus”. Artemis is puzzled by this phrase, but after Alexa has her at her mercy, she realizes that she’s supposed to say it.
Artemis manages to say “Nego Arch Corpus” twice and it immediately takes effect, freeing Alexa and the undead Amazons from Ares’ control. Now, the two sides are able to fight alongside each other as Artemis learns that it was an incantation that frees the undead from another’s control and that Alexa was not allowed to use the phrase upon himself since she was no longer among the living, as Artemis completely respects the power of books.
As Ares is about to punch Wonder Woman’s unconscious body, a spear comes in and jabs his hand into some White House rubble. As he sees Alexa (alongside Artemis) lead the undead army against him, the God of War frees his hand from the spear and sends the killed-off Amazons back to their graves. Alexa’s body falls next to Artemis who prays that they meet again in a better place, as she and the undead vanish into the sky. Fortunately, this gave Wonder Woman the time she needed to regain consciousness and strike back at Ares. However, the God of War retaliates and throw her up to the White House roof. He them demonstrates his practically limitless power by sending down a powerful lightning bolt, yet Wonder Woman is able to use her bracelets to withstand the blast.
Meanwhile, Persephone continues her assault against the Amazons and ends up in front of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. She manages to slice through former sister after former sister with ease. After she wounds one particular Amazon, she prepares to finish her off.
Fortunately, Hippolyta arrives and saves her comrade. With the Amazonian Queen confronting the traitor/former sister, the two become locked into a fierce sword fight.
During the fight, she berates Persephone for turning her back on a lifetime of peace with her fellow Amazons and ultimately does her in with a sword thrust through the stomach. With her remaining strength, she tells Hippolyta that because she shut her fellow sisters out of Man’s World, they never got to experience love towards a significant person, marriage and having children. With that, Persephone succumbs to her injury and dies.
Meanwhile, the final battle between Wonder Woman and Ares rages on as the God of War continues to deliver his destructive power upon the Amazonian Princess. From the base of the Washington Monument, Ares punches Wonder Woman hard enough for her to skip multiple times on the reflection pool before settling in.
Just as Ares is about to deliver another powerful blast of lightning, Wonder Woman quickly uses her Golden Lasso and tugs hard enough for her to escape from harm’s way. Meanwhile, Ares is hit with his own power and gets severely weakened.
With the God of War greatly exhausted from the blast, Wonder Woman grabs a nearby sword and lunges towards him. Ares begs for Zeus’ help, but his cries go unanswered as Diana delivers a swift slash and decapitates him.
With Ares defeated, the Amazons cheer in triumph while the Army of Darkness fades away into the shadows. Steve arrives back in D.C. with the Invisible Plane and embraces Wonder Woman with a kiss, while the Amazons praise them on.
Over in Tartarus, Hades now has Ares as he newest eternal servant. He gleefully states that Zeus didn’t want him to remove his bands since he knew that Ares would ultimately end up like his son. He smirks as he states that he should have listened.
At Themyscira, Artemis is reading books in order to honor Alexa with Hippolyta noticing. They both see Diana glum on a nearby marble slab, due to her missing not only the outside world but Steve Trevor as well. Not wanting to make the same past mistake, Hippolyta reinstates Diana’s status as Wonder Woman, allowing her to serve as an ongoing ambassador to her sisters and revisit Man’s World. Along with the promise of constant return visits, the Amazonian Princess thanks her grateful mother with a hug of appreciation.
And so, the film ends with Diana having started a whole new life for herself alongside Steve Trevor. She even allows him to open a cab door for her.
Just then, they notice a group of police cars in front of the museum. It turns out that its being robbed by a female villain named Cheetah.
Diana goes into a nearby alley and discards her civilian clothes to emerge as Wonder Woman as she easily takes care of Cheetah with her Golden Lasso and a swift punch to the face.
As I mentioned before, this film was loosely based on a storyline called “Gods & Mortals”, which served as the opening story arc to the first reboot of the character. Some of the elements that were used in the film included Hippolyta being forcefully wronged upon in the past by a Greek figure (Heracles in the comics), Diana’s birth by being made out of Earthly material (clay in the comics), Diana entering a competition to become Themeyscira’s champion against her mother’s wishes (I’m puzzled that Hippolyta wasn’t more surprised in this film when she sees her daughter as the winner), Steve Trevor’s accidental arrival onto Paradise Island and developing a relationship with Wonder Woman, Ares’ quest for death and destruction across Man’s World, the God of War’s influence over people driving them towards acts of violence, a notable pattern for Ares’ path of annihilation, Wonder Woman’s fight with Deimos being helpful towards her inevitable clash with Ares and the God of War’s influence in bringing missiles into the equation.
There are some notable omissions when it came to characters: Etta Candy was in the original story, but she had a more meaningful role in helping Wonder Woman defeat Ares (in addition to being more plump). In fact, she wasn’t the only companion for Wondey and Steve. There was another military ally for Steve and Etta in Colonel Michaelis and in the original story, Trevor was with another pilot in testing out a brand new fighter jet. That particular pilot was overcome by Ares’ influence and tried to kill Steve. Trevor was threatened with being arrested because of said event and Michaelis knew otherwise. Also, the first person that she meets in Man’s World is actually a Harvard professor named Julia Kapatelis (and even her daughter Vanessa) who’s able to communicate with Wonder Woman (since Diana didn’t speak English initially) and her knowledge helped out on the quest to beat Ares. Speaking of which, we have the film setting Wonder Woman and Steve up in New York City while in the comics, it was Boston.
As far as the film goes, it’s really enjoyable. A lot of it goes to our main leads as the chemistry really shines, especially since Keri Russell and Nathan Fillion had worked with each other before in 2007’s “Waitress”. They help each other go through necessary changes in order to become better individuals. Steve goes from being something of a “horny jackrabbit” to a modeled man willing to be a better gentleman, while Diana’s quest sees her grow into her well-known superhero status and become a woman who’s allowing men to be more trustworthy to her.
As far as Queen Hippolyta goes, her character is well-handled. She’s introduced as someone who has no trust in men whatsoever, due to Ares forcing himself onto her. Her over-protectiveness is natural since as a parent, she never wanted anything of what happened to her to also be cast upon her daughter. Diana even helps in making her put more confidence towards men and that for all their faults, they’re mostly a good lot.
For Artemis, her character development is practically intertwined with that of Alexa (who was made up for this film). There’s no denying that Artemis is a pure warrior, someone who you would be proud to stand beside on the battlefield to the bitter end. Meanwhile, what Alexa lacks in combat skills (while she was alive), she makes up with her knowledge of Ancient Greek Philosophy. It’s through Alexa’s death that Artemis eventually realizes the power of literacy and how influential they can be.
While Alexa was a made-up character, Persephone is kind of in the same sense. The actual Persephone is the daughter of Zeus and Demeter and is a harvest goddess. She’s even the queen of the underworld as she would place curses upon the souls of dead men. Even her being kidnapped by Hades is symbolized with vegetation coming through the ground in the spring and retreating in the fall. Here, she starts out a fierce warrior that’s along the same toughness as Artemis. However, it’s through Alexa’s cowardice that begins the long march to her ultimate downfall. Having to guard Ares for centuries following her facial scar allowed the God of War to manipulate her into loving him, since the Amazons were sheltered from Man’s World. It’s kind of like Romeo & Juliet and The Graduate where outside forces prevents you from experiencing love on your own and it ultimately leads to greater tragedy.
Finally, we have our main villain Ares. Alfred Molina just owns this role, bringing a cunning strategist who waits centuries to eventually begin his climb back into power and you feel the God of War’s presence since he stirs up violence wherever he goes. Once he gains enough power to unleash his wrath on the world, he’s able to strike with the force of a hurricane. In the end, nice performance.
Overall, this is a well-told story. Not only did Michael Jelenic efficiently handle the screenplay, but he co-wrote the story alongside famed comic book writer (and former Wonder Woman scribe) Gail Simone. She’s one of the few writers in the world who understands the little nuances of the character and helps make Lauren Montgomery’s second directorial outing in this universe (she was one of the three directors in Superman: Doomsday) really shine. The action scenes are thrilling, the characters effectively handle their roles and the animation continues to show why the hand-drawn style (with a dash of computer effects) continues to find new ways to get better. Not much to complain about, just a really good outing overall.
Next Time: Let us venture into space as a well-known space cop starts out his tenure and must ultimately fight someone he’s trusted for so long. We’ll go upwards and beyond in “Green Lantern: First Flight”.
Wonder Woman (created by William Moulton Marston) is owned by DC Comics.