Friday, June 05, 2009

Wonder Woman (Lauren Montgomery, 2009, USA)

While every superhero around seems to be scoring a movie deal (Thor? Man-Thing?) or even getting a reboot (The Incredible Hulk, Fantastic Four), Wonder Woman just can’t get a break. There have been talks of the Amazon princess coming to the silver screen for years with nary a glint of her golden bracelets or star-spangled bustier in theaters. Having experienced a rash of laughably bad superhero films, it may be best that Wonder Woman be spared the humiliation. Instead, she’s found a safe haven in the Warner Brothers feature length cartoon from Lauren Montgomery.

Like all superhero films, Wonder Woman is an origin story. We see the young Princess Diana (Keri Russell doing her best Holly Hunter) among her fellow Amazonian hotties. When hotshot pilot Steve Trevor (Nathan Fillion) crashes on the hidden Paradise Island (AKA Themyscira) he’s hunted like a human on the Planet of the Apes. Queen Hippolyta (Virginia Masden) decides to send him back to the good old U.S.A. and holds a contest to determine who can escort him. Let the tickle fights begin! It doesn’t take a magic mirror to divine that Princess Diana wins and outfitted with her signature satin tights, lasso of truth, and sent out into the patriarchal world to constantly save Steve’s ass, take down renegade god Ares (Alfred Molina), and teach little girls to play a little rougher with boys.

Wonder Woman has undergone several updates throughout the years. Most of the changes have toned down the overt kink of the original William Moulton Marston comic book (wherein Wonder Woman would get tied up a half dozen times an issue while her human chum Etta Candy would often be seen overseeing the spanking of her sorority sisters while scarfing down chocolates). There’s little bondage and no spanking in Wonder Woman though Steve Trevor does admit to being “into the kinky stuff too” when he’s interrogated with the lasso of truth. What Wonder Woman lacks in sexual content it makes up for in violence. Its PG-13 rating is justified by the brawls, beheadings, and bloodshed that run throughout this animated film. Don’t mistake this one as something for the kiddies!

Like Superman: Doomsday, Wonder Woman is a proper, respectful adaptation of a classic hero.

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