It’s been almost three weeks since the much talked about premiere of Wonder Woman 1984, the campy sequel to 2017 live action debut of Diana Prince. Although I have found that the extreme hatred towards WW84 is a bit unwarranted, I cannot deny that there are valid critiques of the film as well. The tone was a bit inconsistent, the movie felt overstuffed with ideas at times, and most grievously, we were only given minimal action with a full powered Diana.
But what many do not know is that in 2019, a Wonder Woman film was released that had all of the positive qualities of WW84, and remedied many of the negative ones. Wonder Woman: Bloodlines, a direct-to-video animated movie in the DC Animated Movie Universe, perfectly balances the campiness and seriousness of the character. Many found that the presence of both Maxwell Lord and Cheetah in WW84 did not allow either character to feel fully fleshed out, but Bloodlines features seven different villains, each of whom gets at least a moment in the spotlight. Each of the villains challenge Diana in a different way, speed, strength, strategy, and fortitude. However, none stands out more than Silver Swan.
Once her surrogate sister, Vanessa Kapetelis, is driven mad by jealousy towards Diana. The relationship is very reminiscent of that between Diana and Barbara Minerva is the live action. Both Vanessa and Barbara wish to be something greater than they are now, but in the process lose their humanity. After volunteering for an experimental surgery, Vanessa becomes Silver Swan, a transformation which will her in the process. This relationship was the most impactful in either movie, as we see Diana, who has lost her Amazon family, fight to save her new sister. Although Diana initially holds back when fighting Vanessa, she is willing to unleash her full power when it comes to saving others.
It is important to show Wonder Woman as a lover and a fighter. As arguably the most famous female superhero, we don’t need to see Diana watered down to just the female equivalent of Superman, nor do we need to see her afraid to fight at all. In WW84, Diana spends most of the film losing her powers, and even when they return, she is not the Wonder Woman most would recognize. Her sword and shield are missing throughout the film, and her ability to fly is replaced with her using her lasso to swing on the wind. Bloodlines did give us that same type of speech, as Diana promises she will not abandon Vanessa, but does not scrimp viewers on action.
The climatic fight against Medusa gives Wonder Woman free range to go off, and provides a badass moment as Diana willingly blinds herself so that she can fight against the mythological monster. It was great to see Wonder Woman team up with Silver Swan for the final takedown as well, as it conveyed an important message of sisterhood, a quintessential element of Wonder Woman’s character.
Many other flaws of WW84 are remedied in this animated film. Bloodlines adds some much needed diversity, with Etta Candy being reimagined as a queer woman of color. The awkward resurrection of Steve Trevor is also left out, as Steve in this film exists in the present day along with Diana. Their relationship is well executed in this movie, as he provides a great supporting role and allows her to shine as the lead character.
For the real Wonder Woman fans out there who are looking to see Diana at her best, I highly recommend this animated film, available on HBO Max. But if you’re a fan of a good campy times then Wonder Woman 1984 is on HBO Max as well!