REVIEW: Wonder Woman: Bloodlines
Since we’re in a long wait between live-action Wonder Woman movies, it makes sense for Warner Animation to fill the gap. I just wish they filled it with something stronger than the just-released Wonder Woman: Bloodlines. The story is mostly about Diana and Vanessa Kapatelis with a hideous cabal of rogues attempting to plunder the technology of Themyscira.
It looks like it should fit in the animated continuity but it doesn’t really. We’re treated to a lengthy pre-credit sequence that recaps her origin and rushes things so quickly, that you blink and we’ve gone from Diana (Rosario Dawson) rescuing Steve Trevor (Jeffrey Donovan) to her leaving paradise for Man’s World and suddenly is allied with Etta Candy (Adrienne C. Moore) as they go to hang out with Dr. Julia Kapatelis (Nia Vandalos).
Screenwriter Mairghread Scott, who has extensive animation credits, notably within the Marvel Universe, can’t seem to make up her mind who Diana is. She comes across as peaceful and loving, compassionate, or willful bordering on arrogant. The scenes between mother Hippolyta (Cree Summer) and daughter don’t work as well as the ones with Diana and teen rebel Vanessa (Marie Avgeropoulos).
For reasons that don’t entirely hold up, we find Vanessa rebelling by allying herself with Dr. Poison (Courtenay Taylor) and Dr. Cyber (Mozhan Marnò), working for some mysterious benefactor. IN a warehouse, Julia is mortally wounded and Vanessa wrongly blames Diana so agrees to be transformed into Silver Swan to seek vengeance. She’s merely a pawn, helping the doctors learn the location of Themyscira.
To find the hidden island (which now makes Diana forget its location, a silly plot point), they go hither and yon until they reach the labyrinth Daedalus constructed to house the Minotaur (Michael Dorn), who is bewitched into a mindless engine of destruction. When he is freed and becomes Ferdinand the ally, we’re finally veering into the celebrated first Greg Rucka run of the title. This builds up to the big reveal that the villains have been carrying Medusa (Cree Summer) with them and she goes on a rampage across Themyscira.
For a climactic fight with the Amazons, I wish directors Sam Liu and Justin Copeland studied the feature film. Here, the highly trained, deadly warriors are merely cannon fodder, easily turned to stone and crushed. It makes them appear weak and useless which belies their true nature. Yes, it serves to amp up the Diana versus Medusa battle with beats lifted from the Rucka run, but it belittles the women.
And it’s no surprise Veronica Cale (Constance Zimmer) is behind everything, with threats made between them lead women, leaving things fraught with tension for a likely sequel. By then, I stopped caring given how little fresh insight into the characters and relationships we’re given.
The film is out in the usual assortment of formats including the 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, and Digital Code combo pack. The 2160p and 1080p high definition transfers are both crisp and clear, the colors subtle and pure. Unfortunately, they also show up the limited animation which inhibits the characters from really getting into the action. There’s little difference between the two as with the lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Dolby audio track.
Far more interesting than the main event is the DC Showcase short, featuring Death in a touching piece from writer J.M. DeMatteis.
The other Special Features include a piece on The Cheetah (Kimberly Brooks) , which focuses on Wonder Woman’s most famous opponent, who is shoehorned into the movie for no particular reason. The talking heads do a nice job covering her career from the Golden Age to her Legion of Doom role and place in the pantheon of villains.
There is a Sneak Peek of the far more interesting looking adaptation of Superman: Red Son. Finally, there are two episdes from the animated DC vault.