As 2019 begins winding down, the last entry into the line of DC Universe animated films to be released during this calendar year arrives in the form of Wonder Woman: Bloodlines. For those keeping track, the Amazon Warrior has appeared in many animated team-up flicks in this decade alone, but it’s worth pointing out how this is her first solo outing since 2009’s Wonder Woman. Much like that standalone, this direct-to-video gem is a triumph, and I hope it doesn’t take Warner Bros. long to green light a sequel.
Before I delve further into discussing the specifics of this picture, I can’t help thinking it was originally intended to coincide with Wonder Woman 1984‘s theatrical release. In fact, I’d previously wondered if Bloodlines would be delayed into mid-2020 in order to line up with the Gal Gadot-led feature since it’d been pushed. Well, that didn’t happen, and I’m glad we get to take in something featuring Diana Prince in the interim.
If you’ve been keeping up with news pertaining to Bloodlines, then you know how it was said to retell our heroine’s origin story within the confines of the New 52-inspired continuity begun by Justice League: War in 2014. Even though this is a different ballgame set within a separate continuity, I admittedly was among those fearing a retread – even if the last Wonder Woman animated film arrived a decade ago.
As it turns out, only the first fifteen minutes or so are spent in the past. We see how Steve Trevor (Jeffrey Donovan) and Diana (Rosario Dawson) met up on Themyscira (with some nods that tie this into Justice League: War), before they leave and are introduced Vanessa Kapatelis (Marie Avgeropoulos) and her mother. The former goes on to become Silver Swan in the present-day, who we could regard as the antagonist of the piece, but she’s the kind of misguided villain the audience can feel some sympathy toward.
Yes, Silver Swan may adorn the Blu-ray cover art but she’s one of several baddies to appear. Joining her are Cheetah and Giganta (both voiced by Kimberly Brooks), Dr. Cyber (Mozhan Marno) and Dr. Poison (Courtenay Taylor). The true puppet master is revealed during the mid-credits scene though, so I’ll save that detail for your own viewing experience.
Still, it’s Silver Swan who deserves to be discussed at length because her arc is most intertwined with Diana’s. The tragedy stricken young woman blames Wonder Woman for her misfortune, yet the latter refuses to give up on the former. It’s often that I stress how Diana’s compassion is her greatest strength, and I think screenwriter Mairghread Scott also knows and believes this.
Overall, Bloodlines unfolds quite smoothly, as its action scenes don’t drag on for too long or detract from the plot itself. Overdoing the battle sequences is a trapping superhero cartoons can often fall into, so I’m pleased that didn’t happen here. Granted, there is a lot of ass-kicking in the final act, but that’s just to be expected from this genre.
Before I move on, compliments must be paid for getting Diana and Steve back together. For a while, Superman and Wonder Woman were romantically linked in these movies. But much like how the Man of Steel eventually found his way into Lois Lanes’ arms, Diana likewise winds up with the very man comic book readers expect her to love. She and Steve work together very well in this tale, so let’s hope the ball keeps rolling in potential followups.
Similar to the recently released Batman: Hush, a new DC Showcase short is included in this respective package. In this case, it’s Death, which should satisfy the Neil Gaiman lovers among you. To be honest, this is a character I’m not too familiar with, but I still found myself enjoying this segment. That said, I can’t exactly speak to those who are well-versed in her material, so you’ll just have to check it out and judge for yourself.
Also found amongst the rest of the supplemental content is a featurette dubbed “The Cheetah – Ferocious Archenemy.” Considering how said villainess doesn’t get much screentime in Bloodlines, giving her the spotlight like this seems somewhat out of place. But when you consider how that very character is set to appear in Wonder Woman 1984, then the situation becomes clearer, as DC and WB are helping acquaint newbies with her.
In addition to those two must-sees, a first look at Superman: Red Son is also thrown in for good measure. Targeting an early 2020 release, it’ll adapt the popular Elseworlds comic book written by Mark Millar and illustrated by Dave Johnson. And on top of that, two Wonder Woman-centric episodes of Batman: The Brave and the Bold are included as well.
For my money, Wonder Woman: Bloodlines is one of the best – if not the best – DC animated movie to come out this year. That’s really saying something if you can recall how much I enjoyed the aforementioned Batman: Hush. But when this icon is done right, it’s very hard to end up with anything subpar. Again, I’ll say fingers remained crossed for a sequel.
Even during a year that saw the mighty Batman: Hush adapted, Wonder Woman: Bloodlines may very well be the best DC animated movie to drop in 2019.