Wonder Woman is fourth in line of the DC Original Animated Universe (which includes Green Lantern: First Flight, Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths, Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, Justice League: War, Justice League: Doom, and Green Lantern: Emerald Knights). According to The Mary Sue article, “Wonder Woman and Feminism: Gender Balance as the Key to Gender Equality“:
Wonder Woman turns 75 this year, and she has evolved a lot in that time: as a character, as a symbol, and as a feminist icon. However, there is one feminist idea that has always survived throughout that evolution — the importance of a balance between the feminine and the masculine, no matter what one’s own gender identity.
William Moulton Marston, who when he created Wonder Woman went by the name Charles Moulton, was hired as an educational consultant for National Periodicals and All-American Publications, two companies that would merge to form DC Comics, after he wrote an article in Family Circle Magazine about how comics weren’t living up to their potential. Comics publisher Max Gaines asked him to create a new superhero for their comics, to fill the void he felt existed with something new.
As he pondered a character, he knew that he wanted his hero to embrace love over violence, and to value peace over war. It was the wonder women in his own life who encouraged him to make the character female. A 2001 article in Bostonia, the alumni quarterly of Boston University, talks about how their distinguished law alumna, Elizabeth Marston (Class of 1918), was responsible for sparking the initial inspiration. As William discussed with her the fact that he wanted to create a new kind of superhero, Elizabeth reportedly said, “Fine, but make her a woman.”
That was the key he needed to create one of comics’ greatest icons along with artist (and fellow feminist ally) H.G. Peter. However, there’s something intriguing in the fact that creating a female hero wasn’t Marston’s first thought.
On the one hand, we know that he valued independent, educated, and unconventional women. Elizabeth was a scholar and working woman (and working mother) at a time when it was very unusual for a woman to have one college degree, let alone three as she did (in law and psychology). Even more unconventional was their relationship with another woman, Olive Byrne, with whom they lived in a polyamorous relationship, and for whom Elizabeth was often the primary breadwinner as Marston pursued comics and Byrne stayed home with Elizabeth’s children and her own. What’s more, Marston actively wrote about, spoke, and promoted the women’s suffrage movement and supported early 20th Century feminism (fun fact: he was also related to birth control activists Margaret Sanger and Ethel Byrne). So, it’s surprising that, given all this, he didn’t arrive at creating a female hero to change the face of comics on his own.
On the other hand, it’s interesting that he was considering creating a male character that valued things and possessed qualities that were generally deemed “feminine.” Interesting that he saw lack of those qualities as a flaw in characters like Superman who, even though he’s an upstanding, moral individual at the time would never have gone on about love’s ability to triumph over hate (because Real Men don’t talk about love, or some such bullshit). It’s here that I see just how much the idea of gender balance mattered to Marston and not only informed his feminism, but was baked into the DNA of Wonder Woman. Though Marston once wrote, “Wonder Woman is psychological propaganda for the new type of woman who should, I believe, rule the world,” given the way he lived and the ideals he supported, he was also attempting to carve out a place for a new type of man, one who could “value what women value” and still be considered men.
I’m forced to wonder (pun halfway intended) what it might have been like if Marston, rather than creating a “feminine character with all the strength of Superman plus all the allure of a good and beautiful woman,” as he said in the quote above, instead had created a masculine character with all the strength of Superman plus all the allure of a good and beautiful woman. Or for that matter, a feminine character with all the strength of Superman plus all the allure of a good and beautiful man. I can feel resistance in my fingers just typing those descriptions out, and yet I can’t help but think about the fact that, while the world and the early feminist movements were ready for a character like Wonder Woman, they’re still not entirely ready for a “reverse” character to be true. A male hero who finds strength and power in the feminine.
But one thing at a time. I don’t want anybody having an aneurysm.
Wonder Woman’s Most Un-feminist portrayal
Wonder Woman first appeared in All-Star Comics #8, a team book featuring a proto-Justice League called the Justice Society of America. She quickly became an honorary member of the Justice Society, and by Issue #13 had impressed the team so much as she fought by their side that even though she was “now an honorary member,” they gave her an officer position on the team. Her being a woman, they of course made her Secretary, a role she was attached to for years.
Now, a secretary for a membership organization is not exactly the same thing as an office secretary. Still, the fact is that, Wonder Woman was made the secretary, but it’s not as if there was a Treasurer, a Vice President, or a president.
Check that sexy use of the phrase “upon his pledge” for new members, and that the ways in which we are “all different” are limited to class, race, nationality, and religion, but there’s no mention of gender. From Wonder Woman. Pretty frustrating, I agree.
However, all of this is apparently not Marston’s fault. Well, it kind of is, but not in the way you’d think. According to author Tim Hanley’s Wonder Woman/Lois Lane site, Straitened Circumstances, Wonder Woman’s early history was unfeminist by accident. You see, Marston wasn’t happy with the way another male creator wrote Wonder Woman, and so he insisted on being the only person to write her for years. Wonder Woman was already proving a popular character in the 1940s in her own, eponymous solo series, Sensation Comics, and Comics Cavalcade, all of which were handled by Marston and Peter. They were busy. So, while they contributed Wonder Woman stories to All-Star Comics over the years, Wonder Woman was usually included only briefly and constantly told to stay behind while the team was having adventures.
So, it turns out that the only time in Wonder Woman’s history when she was actively marginalized was a time when her creator was basically holding her hostage. Granted, he had reason to believe that other creators might not adhere to the feminist ideals he intended to explore through this character. However, how she was handled immediately after Marston got sick and eventually passed away in 1947 shows that other creators were more than capable of picking up what Marston and Peter were throwing down in their other Wonder Woman titles.
She was not only given a more active role in the Justice Society after Marston’s death (once other writers were free to write her in All-Star Comics), but she was also responsible for bringing another woman onto the team in Issue #38.
Sisters helping sisters, amirite? Despite not having been written by Marston, this move shows that he wasn’t the only one who thought it important that Wonder Woman not just try to be “one of the guys,” but embrace the feminine qualities and the sisterhood she came to value growing up on Paradise Island (later Themyscira) as an Amazon. Despite not mentioning gender as an axis of difference in her “secretarial membership letter” above, they show-not-tell by her bringing another worthy woman onto the team.
In his piece, Hanley says, “Unfortunately, by the time Wonder Woman was able to do more in the Justice Society, All-Star Comics wasn’t long for the world. The book was cancelled in 1951, and Wonder Woman was the only character whose solo series survived. It would be more than a decade before most of the Justice Society would again appear in comics, but Wonder Woman stayed in print the entire time.”
Throughout the various changes to her character in the comics — the variations on her origin (she was born from clay, she’s a god’s daughter), the changes to her costume (she wears shorts, she wears a skirt, she wears pants) — she has always remained true to that careful balance between feminine and masculine, between peace and war that Marston thought so important.
Wonder Woman’s Dissatisfaction: Something’s Missing
The importance of gender balance in ultimately achieving gender equality in the world is demonstrated not only in the personality of Wonder Woman herself, but in the choices she makes and the actions she takes. No matter her origin story, they all have a couple of things in common.
First, she is generally dissatisfied with life on Paradise Island/Themyscira. As much as she loves the Amazons and as much as her mother Hippolyta has trained her to value what they value, she usually feels as though something’s missing. Sometimes this manifests itself in her fascination with Steve Trevor, and she follows and protects him, knowing in her heart that there are men who are capable of not being violent and of valuing women and their lives. Other times, as is the case in the recent The Legend of Wonder Woman by Renae de Liz, Themyscira itself speaks to Diana, giving validity to her growing feelings of unease with The Way Things Are.
Because women oppressing themselves in the name of gender equality is not much better than being oppressed by men.
In the 1970s Wonder Woman television show, with Lynda Carter starring in the titular role, it’s pure curiosity that prompts Diana to care for Steve Trevor, and a burgeoning, inexplicable (to her) attraction to him. Some may balk and think it a weakness that sexual attraction has a large part in Wonder Woman’s story, but a woman’s sexual drive and how it’s treated is something that is equally worth discussing when talking about a woman’s agency and equality. In the show’s pilot, Hippolyta seems to be of the mind that Diana is falling into a trap by allowing her growing fascination with Steve to affect her judgement, continually citing how brutal and savage men are and emphasizing what they’ve done to the world.
Diana doesn’t buy it. The fact that Steve’s mission is to fight the Nazis, a group devoted to world domination and oppressing others, leads her to believe that if this man thinks that way, that others must, too. And if they do that, there must be a way to teach them how to better value women, peace, and love. Later, when she safely transports Steve back home, she quickly learns that not only do men think little of women, but that even some women are complicit in upholding a sexist society.
For example, Steve’s civilian secretary (and sort-of love interest) Marcia is actually a Nazi spy, who almost gets away with sabotaging the US military, because Steve is 1) attracted to her, and 2) underestimates her because she’s a woman who was really good at playing naive. When Wonder Woman confronts Marcia, they have an actual “superhero fight” (Marcia was apparently a judo champion), and as Wonder Woman ties her up with her lasso and goes to save Steve, she realizes that men need to stop underestimating women, and women need to stop using or playing a sexist system, which only underserves their own interests.
After that entire ordeal, Wonder Woman says, “I’m going to have to get accustomed to men…and devious women.” It’s interesting that she acts as though this is her first encounter with devious women when her own mother was presenting her with a one-sided view of men, and she herself employed deception to win the athletic competition to get to escort Steve Trevor home. Still, it was an important distinction in this moment, because we had a clear example of a woman’s deception serving the very thing keeping her down. After all, it’s not like the Nazis were woman-friendly as they basically used them for breeding stock, impregnating them with the children of their Aryan “supermen.”
In the following episode, when they fail to redeem Baroness Von Gunther from her Nazi agenda, Wonder Woman refuses to give up on her, or on anyone. Dressed as Diana Prince, she says to Steve, “where I was raised, we were taught that good must triumph over evil, and that women — and men — can learn.”
Wonder Woman comes from a society consisting entirely of women. That is all she grew up knowing. And granted, when she has to correct herself to include men in that line, it seemingly shows that this Wonder Woman is still a little skeptical about men’s abilities. However, she could also be correcting herself from parroting something she was taught to believe on Paradise Island. After all, she went to great lengths to get to “Man’s World” because she believed that change was possible.
The Future of Wonder Woman
I am so excited to see Gal Gadot play Wonder Woman in the upcoming Wonder Woman film, as I was completely won over by her in the part in Batman v Superman, and I think that in her, we continue to see the inherent gender balance of the character. Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman clearly values her femininity and womanhood, but is not in any way intimidated by fighting alongside or against men in battle.
As far as an outward gender balance, in a film that did more things wrong than right, one of the things I thought that Batman v Superman got right is including both Wonder Woman and Lois Lane to save the day. The men couldn’t do it by themselves. Hell, the men were the problem. But by including these two women, each powerful in their own ways, the day got saved with a combination of force and compassion. Each of those things must temper the other in order to achieve the brighter, more equal future we seek.
Wonder Woman remains a feminist icon 75 years after her creation, because she symbolizes the idea that balance is the key to equality. We should all embrace the masculine and the feminine inside us. If we do that, we can eventually get to the place where personality traits and ways of being aren’t gendered at all, where words like “aggressive,” “ambtious,” “peaceful,” and “nurturing” won’t conjure ideas of gender at all. They’ll simply be Things a Person Can Be.
Here’s to 75 more years of Wonder Woman teaching us this lesson as often as we need to learn it.
Additionally, according to the AfterEllen article, “New animated “Wonder Woman” movie reflects America’s conflicted feelings toward feminism”:
“Remarkable, the advanced brainwashing that has been perpetuated on the females of your culture. Raised from birth to believe they’re not strong enough to compete with the boys, and then as adults, taught to trade on their very femininity.”
— Diana in Wonder Woman, the animated movie
I should tell you upfront that I’m not generally a fan of animated movies — they tend to bore me unless they were a childhood favorite — but my partner Lori likes them, and she occasionally makes me watch them with her (as penance, I suppose, for all the lesbian movies I make her watch).
Last night, we watched the new straight-to-DVD PG-13 animated Wonder Woman movie from Warner Bros., directed by Lauren Montgomery and based on a story by Bruce Timm, William Marston, and Gail Simone (who is currently the head writer of the Wonder Woman series) about the journey of the Amazon princess Diana from the hidden island of the Amazons to New York and D.C., as she seeks to stop Ares, the God of War (Alfred Molina) from unleashing chaos on the world.
Virginia Madsen (Sideways) voices the Amazon Queen Hippolyta, Rosario Dawson (Seven Pounds, Sin City) voices one of the fiercest Amazon women, Artemis, and Keri Russell (Waitress, Felicity) is surprisingly perfect as the voice of Wonder Woman herself.
Throw in Marg Helgenberger (CSI) as the voice of the god Hera, and you’ve got a solid and eclectic cast of women.
From an entertainment perspective, this movie combining Amazonian women, a female superhero, ancient Greek myths, clever writing, and great animation is fun to watch. A few minutes into it, I even put down my iPhone to give the movie my full attention — and it takes a lot to get me to do that!
Wonder Woman and the other Amazons are shrewd warriors, and that’s a refreshing change from most action movies these days, where the women just wait around to get saved by men.
From what Lori tells me, the Amazons’ extreme fanaticism in the movie about war and bravery in battle — and dismissiveness of the one character who preferred reading over fighting — is not really an accurate representation of the Amazons in the comics, who also prize the arts and an ideal, balanced society, but that detail didn’t bother me too much. (Although I must admit, there was so much emphasis on the “we are warriors, hear us roar!” theme that I was expecting a Klingon to pop up during one of the battle scenes and shout “today is a good day to die!”)
From a cultural perspective, the film is an interesting reflection of America’s mixed feelings towards feminism. While this movie appears to have a strong feminist message, it also has a strong anti-feminist one — much like current American society in general.
The Amazonian women in the movie are presented as strong, independent, and wise (although not perfect), and Diana’s journey to becoming Wonder Woman is a story of bravery and sacrifice in the tradition of all great heroes.
There is ongoing conversation (sometimes nuanced, sometimes not) between Diana and Steve (Nathan Fillion), the pilot who crashed on the Amazons island and started this whole chain of events, about the evils of men and sexism, like in this conversation between Diana and Steve when she wakes up after a battle and learns he chose to save her instead of stopping the bad guy:
Diana: I’m an Amazon, Steve. We’re prepared from birth to give our lives in battle. I knew what the consequences were going into this mission. I bet you would have acted differently if I were a man.
Steve: Oh, playing the sex card again? I’ve had just about enough of you going on about how terrible men are.
Diana: Does the truth hurt, Steve?
Steve: Newsflash! The Amazons aren’t so perfect, either. You act brave but cutting yourself off from the outside world was cowardly. Not to mention stupid — like less communication between men and women is what the world needed.
He goes on to tell her something to the effect of “not everything a man does is misogynistic” and that he saved her simply because he cares about her, etc.
But except for that conversation and a few others, Steve is mostly portrayed in a — forgive the pun — cartoonishly sexist way. When he is first captured by the Amazon Queen, he tells her, “your daughter’s got a nice rack.” It doesn’t get much more stereotypical than that.
So it’s no wonder that when thugs attempt to rob Diana and Steve in an alley, Diana not only refuses to hand over their money, she demands an apology, “for contributing to my present disillusionment with men in general.”
Finally, according to the Deep Focus Review:
The first scenes of Wonder Woman, the new feature from Warner Bros. Animation, contain enough thematic material to inspire frantic confirmation of the rating. After the bloody, decapitation-laden prologue, you’ll no doubt pause the disc to verify that, indeed, it’s PG-13. Geared toward comic book aficionados, the film seeks to tell an iconic story with appropriate scope, using its cartoon medium as a tool to unfasten the story from the constraints of a regular film. This means fleshing-out believable characters, considering a classic superhero in a modern context, and formulating the narrative according to imagination, versus the budgetary constraints of a live-action Hollywood production.
Given the commercial and critical successes of Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, particularly the latter, Warner Bros. has sought to develop several projects based on DC Comics heroes, to which they own the rights: Superman Returns proved a failed relaunch, leaving audiences demanding a more actionized adaptation, as opposed to one desperately clinging to the Christopher Reeve films. Now the studio is accepting pitches on a potential revamp. Director George Miller attempted to get a Justice League film off the ground with a hip young cast, but fans recoiled at the thought of someone other than Christian Bale playing Batman; the project was postponed indefinitely. Further projects include Martin Campbell (Casino Royale) signing to direct Green Lantern, Jonah Hex starring Josh Brolin due in 2010, and several other live-action films rumored for release over the next few years.
And yet, how many of those will have the freedom and imagination and limitless possibility of an animated film? None. Some studio exec will always ask how much it’s going to cost to have Green Lantern fly through space, to depict Brainiac with motion-capture technology, to sign credible talent to the project. The people behind Wonder Woman have finances enough to show their Amazonian heroine lounging around her secluded Themyscira with no action whatsoever, or, they can have her fighting off an army of Greek undead—either way, it costs the same. That’s the beauty of the medium.
Rethinking the classic tale from Greek and comic book mythology, the film begins in ancient times as a battle rages between Queen Hippolyta (voice of Virginia Madsen), leader of the Amazons, and Ares, the god of war (voice of Alfred Molina). When the Amazons win, their reward is complete safety and serenity on their island paradise, hidden from the rest of the world. Meanwhile, Ares remains their prisoner in their care. You might question why being banished to an island is a victory prize. And there’s also the curious issue of how the Amazons reproduce, except the answer is they don’t, since they’re immortal. But why apply logic to mythology? (It’s later questioned how Leda was seduced by Zeus, who took the form of a swan to do so. If their world doesn’t make much sense even to them, why should we bother…?)
Cut to present day, long after Hippolyta births her daughter Diana (voice of Keri Russell) from the beach. Diana is now the Amazons’ greatest warrior. She longs for something other than Themyscira’s mountains and shores, which she’s explored to no end. She trains alongside the battle hungry Artemis (voice of Rosario Dawson), who yearns for the battles of yesterday. All at once, a modern jet crash lands, carrying American fighter pilot Steve Trevor (voice of Nathan Fillion). First he thinks he’s in heaven, surrounded by gorgeous women alone on an island, but then he finds that each fights with incredible power, and each harbors a general mistrust of men. Diana becomes the emissary to return Steve to his home in her invisible jet (don’t ask), finally donning her Wonder Woman garb for the task, complete with a Lasso of Truth and indestructible Vambraces. When she leaves Themyscira, however, Ares escapes, causing all sorts of trouble between the gods and humanity.
For years rumors have flooded the internet about a live-action Wonder Woman movie, with stars ranging from Jessica Biel to the “sexy” (quotes meaning tremendously overrated) Megan Fox vaguely attached. But after seeing this animated feature, you’ll agree that a live-action film could never work, as it would render the hero into a mere sex object. Blame the skimpy costume that’s nothing more than a glorified bathing suit; a real-life actress couldn’t avoid the sexual implications of such an outfit. If live-action Wonder Woman is represented as a hottie, her feminist significance is cancelled out. Unless you had a legitimate thing for Jessica Rabbit, animation removes the sexual element of a scantily clad woman kicking butt, and places our attention on the more inspirational qualities of her character. This is yet another wonderful benefit of the animation process.
Packed with humor and plenty of discussions on sexual politics and feminism, the film progresses with an affable sense of its characters. Fillion adds wry personality to an otherwise flaccid entry point into the contemporary, and Russell, despite her un-superhero-like appearance in the flesh, lends an impressive tone of boldness with her voice role. The entire cast disappears into their characters, so we’re less concerned about the celebrity behind the voice and more concerned with the story. During the end credits you’ll think back to the greatness of Oliver Platt’s slippery Hades, but during the film, it’s just Hades, no Platt. This wouldn’t have been the case with your Brad Pitts or Angelina Jolies, whose voices simply wouldn’t dissolve into their roles. Leave it to longtime voice casting director Andrea Romano, who finds actors to match their characters; without her, odd-but-brilliant choices like Mark Hamill as the Joker would have never been possible.
Last year, Warner Bros. Animation brought us the wonderfully stylized Justice League: The New Frontier, the mediocre Superman: Doomsday, and the over-stylized Batman: Gotham Knight. But before that, the same group collaborated on animated series for Justice League, Superman, and of course, Batman. These are creative artists and bold conceptualists who realize that animation has no limits. Having begun in the early 1990s with Batman: The Animated Series and its theatrical movie Mask of the Phantasm, the square-jawed, geometric style of their figures still remains. Their animated universe has created the archetype from which subsequent comics and films carrying the DC Comics label have drawn influence.
Wonder Woman furthers the canon of reinvention founded by Bruce Timm, Alan Burnett, and Paul Dini. Lauren Montgomery directs their film in their originated style, keeping up the energy and scale of their projects without sacrificing the nature of the characters. Her work boasts well for the upcoming Green Lantern: First Flight, due later in 2009. And her film’s success should have fans clamoring for full-length, direct-to-DVD features for Flash, Hawkgirl, Martian Manhunter, Green Arrow, and other heroes. With any luck, those are on their way in the coming years…
According to the Den of Geek review:
Remember the days when He-Man would be forced to plough through a small army of Skeletor’s moronic henchmen? When the Turtles fought hordes of faceless foot soldiers? Without exception the non-human characters would be despatched by being thrown off-screen and then shown to be dazed, but crucially alive.
The first sequence of this movie gives us an extended battle between the Amazons, lead by Queen Hippolyta (Virginia Madsen) and Ares, the God of War (Alfred Molina, no stranger to playing comic book villains) and his army, the likes of which we haven’t seen before in animation. The exhilarating five minute sequence, very reminiscent of Frank Miller’s 300, culminates in a beheading.
Zeus (David McCallum) steps in to stop the Amazons slaughtering Ares, who is instead bound with magic gauntlets and made effectively mortal. Only another god can set him free. As a form of compensation, Hera (Marg Helgenberger) offers the Amazons a new beginning on the island of Themyscira where they’ll be shielded from the ravages of ageing on a man-free utopia.
We cut to an unspecified period later and, on a stormy evening on this paradise island, Hippolyta is moulding herself a child out of dirt (there’s only so much entertainment a tropical island can provide). After pricking her thumb and smearing blood on her claybaby’s forehead, lightning strikes it and it turns into a real one. Unsurprisingly, the baby starts to cry. I bet Wonder Woman keeps the story of her birth a close secret; if her fellow Justice Leaguers found that out they’d piss themselves laughing. Especially Batman.
After the credits, and all grown up now, Diana wonders aloud after a fight with Artemis (Rosario Dawson) what was so bad about men. Is it possible they’ve changed? Her mother shows her Ares all locked up and explains that you can’t trust the wicked disloyal nature of Man. Hmm.
Later, injured in a dogfight, fighter pilot Steve Trevor’s (Nathan Fillion) plane crashes in a lake on Themyscira. After evading furious naked Amazons in a nearby waterfall, Steve soon encounters a furious clothed Amazon: Diana. He attempts to run away again and she kicks him in the balls.
Taken back to the Amazons, the introduction of the Lasso of Truth makes Steve admit that he thinks Diana’s breasts are impressive. The Queen proclaims that the true nature of Man is laid bare. Hmm.
Hippolyta decides that he’s to be taken back to his home country, and the emissary to the outside world is to be chosen by a contest. Diana wangles her way in under disguise and predictably wins while Steve is threatened with castration.
She suits up, hops in her invisible jet (yes!) and embarks on her mission to take Steve back to the USA…
This is the latest in the line of direct-to-DVD animated movies from DC and Warner after Justice League: New Frontier and the anthology-style Batman: Gotham Knightand, unlike its predecessors, this is very much an origin story.
Unlike Batman and Superman in previous DC Animated series, Wonder Woman has only ever been a supporting character. With this release we begin to realise that this hasn’t been a disservice to the character; the studio and DC just wanted to do justice to the Amazonian princess.
We’re all familiar with the story, but the mandate from DC was to ensure the movie stuck to canon as much as possible (it follows the Gods and Mortals arc by George Perez from 1987), to bring the saga up-to-date and relevant and to make it big. I’m confident this is going to be seen as the definitive telling of her origin. With a script by acclaimed current monthly writer Gail Simone and a production team led by Bruce Timm, this 71-minute movie revels in its Greek mythology versus a modern day sensibility backdrop.
From the first kick to the balls in the opening sequence you can tell the film has a heavy feminist slant. In fact, when the second comes mere minutes later, you begin to wonder if this might be a recurring theme of the movie. And it is a bit heavy-handed.
You get the feeling that if Diana hadn’t met a misogynistic idiot like Steve Trevor, she wouldn’t have much justification for her anti-male stance. However, the two characters’ comic rapport is exceedingly well written in the main with some very funny one-liners, especially one that pokes a little fun at some of the stranger Greek myths.
After the first epic action piece you know this movie isn’t going to pull any punches. This is rated 12 and is pretty intense. The characters are all well established; each Amazon has her own distinct personality and look, a mean feat when you consider the art style. Though in keeping with the Bruce Timm style, this is a new look for Wonder Woman, designed by director Lauren Montgomery, that has elements of both her Justice League Unlimited and New Frontier looks.
Wonder Woman‘s establishing cast is gradually introduced, not necessarily where you’d expect, but in a way that works well. A couple of reviews have complained about the lack of explanation about the invisible jet, but for me, just the inclusion of the jet is almost enough to give the movie a 5 star review. According to the commentary there was going to be a line explaining it, but the writers couldn’t think of any reasonable justification. The time is much better spent on character development and plot arcs, though.
With a comparatively short running time and considering it’s an origin tale, there is a lot of story and it’s only toward the end that you feel certain things may have been rushed or overlooked.
There are plenty of sequences throughout the film that take your breath away with both their amazing backgrounds and the very rich colour palette. The opening battle scene has such a distinct look with lots of reds, yellows and browns and there are a number of large scenes with an unbelievable number of moving elements onscreen at once.