WONDER WOMAN: BLOODLINES (2019) review

Wonder Woman: Bloodlines (Warner Bros)

Wonder Woman: Bloodlines is available now in the UK on digital platforms. You can also grab your copy on DVD, Blu-ray from WB store today!

Synopsis

When Amazon princess Diana of Themyscira chooses to save fighter pilot Steve Trevor, it’s a choice that will change her world and ours. Fulfilling the role of both ambassador as well as protector, Diana earns the name Wonder Woman from the gracious people of Earth. But her heart is as strong as her will as she is determined to help a troubled and embittered young girl whom has fallen in with a deadly organization known only as Villainy, Inc! Get ready for an exciting adventure packed with brutal battles, myth and wonder!

Review

The DC Comics Animated Universe (or DCAU for short) has existed for over a decade now. During that time we’ve seen plenty of sprawling, epic movies featuring Batman, Superman and the Justice League. But one character who, to date, has only had one solo title is Wonder Woman.

Now DC and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment are putting that right with the release of Wonder Woman: Bloodlines. 2019’s bonus DCAU entry which arrives just in time to keep hype building for 2020’s Wonder Woman 1984.

From its inception Bloodlines has felt like an odd entity given that 2009’s Wonder Woman animated movie also sought to tell the character’s origin story. Did we really need to circle back and retread out steps now?

The answer is probably no but Bloodlines successfully brings the story in to the on going continuity of the Justice League series of films AND is a much more contemporary retelling of events.

The opening few minutes tell as fast-paced version of Diana’s origin including Steve Trevor’s (Ray Chase) landing on Themyscira. This time, however, its Parademons chasing the military pilot and not Nazi’s.

This is not a World War One/Two tale.

Instead we meet Diana in a more modern age. This small detail aside her journey to mans world remains relatively untouched. Creatively it makes sense as it means that Steve and Etta Candy (Adrienne C. Moore) can exist in the present and flesh out the supporting cast in future Wonder Woman and Justice League movies.

It doesn’t take long for her to head off to man’s world, sporting a very Gal Gadot style costume. But despite this being an animated film all of the emotional impact of the decision to leave is there. An additional aspect in this retelling is that leaving Themyscira means that the location is almost instantly forgotten meaning that when Diana leaves, she will not be able to return.

When she arrives in “man’s world” we’re immediately introduced to Etta and then to Julia Kapatelis (Nia Vardalos) and her daughter Vanessa (Marie Avgeropoulos) with whom Diana moves in to learn about the modern world.

At this stage the story (written by comics writer Maighread Scott) does become a little transparent. Vanessa already has a fractious relationship with her mother and Diana’s arrival on worsens the situation.

As a montage moment see’s Diana and Julia training we see Vanessa withdrawing from the world around her. She eventually goth’s up and becomes a truly angsty young woman with a real chip on her shoulder against both the elder women in her life.

This leads Vanessa down a dark path which crosses with Doctor Poison (Courtenay Taylor), Giganta (Kimberly Brooks – also voicing Cheetah), and Dr. Cyber (Mozan Marno) and eventually the classic Wonder Woman villain Veronica Cale (Constance Zimmer).

Comic book fans will know that Vanessa will eventually become Silver Swan which is Bloodlines second origin story.

By the time the predominantly female cast are fully introduced I did feel as though Warner Bros. and DC were attempting to make up for the lack of Wonder Woman titles by throwing most of her cast of characters at the screen.

But that being said Scott is easily able to balance most of those character for the duration of the movie’s runtime. Each of the villains has a purpose to the overall story to ensure it doesn’t feel like needless cameo after needless cameo.

Wonder Woman: Bloodlines succeeds across the board in building emotional tension. At times Diana feels a little preachy but by the time the film ties up its loose ends it becomes clear that she is simply learning her place in the world and the best way to impart her wisdom on others.

The mother daughter relationship between Julia and Vanessa feels especially grounded in reality. The consequences that relationship has on the rest of the film are visceral at best, more so even that Diana’s relationship with her own mother.

The relationships between Steve, Etta and Diana are also particularly true to form. With Diana and Steve palpably sparking off each other and Etta fitting in to complete the trio. The dialogue between Etta and Steve is particularly refreshing and adds a new depth to the human aspect of the movie.

The third act culminates in a huge battle on Themyscira featuring a mythical Greek villainess who fits in perfectly with the film. To put it mildly the entire third act is brutal and bloody. As Diana is pushed to breaking point the fight goes on and on and it’s tense to watch.

As Diana makes a huge sacrifice in order to win the day I was hanging on the edge of my seat. We see the character systematically broken down and yet she never loses her trademark hope for a better tomorrow.

The only downside to the sacrifices made during the final battle is the looming knowledge of the “purple healing ray” seen at the beginning of the movie. Its inevitable return ensuring there are little physical consequences from the battle. There are still plenty of psychological scars though.

Verdict

Wonder Woman: Bloodlines is a powerful, modern adaption of Diana’s origin which brings her in line with the DCAU continuity. Strong action and strong heart make Bloodlines one of the DCAU’s more compelling tales.

8/10

Wonder Woman: Bloodlines stars Rosario Dawson as Diana Prince/Wonder Woman. The supporting cast includes Jeffrey Donovan as Steve Trevor, Adrienne Moore as Etta Candy, Nia Vardalos as Julia Kapatelis and Cree Summer as Hippolyta.

Also starring are Marie Avgeropoulos as Silver Swan, Kimberly Brooks as Cheetah/Giganta, Michael Dorn as Ferdinand, Ray Chase as Lead Bandit, Mozhan Marno as Dr. Cyber, Courtenay Taylor as Dr. poison and Constance Zimmer as Veronica Cale.


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About Neil Vagg 3938 Articles
Neil is the GYCO Editorial Chief. He has a BA in Film & Tv and an MA in Scriptwriting; he currently works 9-5 as an office manager and 5-9 as a reviewer/web designer. He has been subscribing to comics for around nine years but has been reading them as long as he can remember. Favourite comics: Batman; Nightwing, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and All New X-Men Favourite films: Batman (any apart from & Robin); Star Trek Generations, Underworld, Beetlejuice Favourite TV shows: Fringe; Buffy, Arrow, TBBT, Being Human UK and Star Trek TNG