Vixen: The Movie
Now that I’ve watched the Vixen movie, I’ve confirmed that I’d rather have it as one hour-and-fifteen-minute movie than a bunch of short episodes.
The animation is functional but not exciting, typical of the DC original projects, but I’ve always liked the character, and I appreciated the chance to learn more about her origin. The movie starts with a standard action opening, with the Flash (Grant Gustin) and Arrow (Stephen Amell) chasing a woman we later find out is Mari McCabe (Megalyn Echikunwoke). That leads into a flashback to show how she got there (which winds up revealing how unnecessary the whole battle sequence was). Overall, the film kept my attention, as Mari had different adventures as it continued, and I liked it more than I expected.
Vixen has an heirloom, a totem necklace that gives her the powers of animals, which is sought by her sister (Anika Noni Rose). Although Vixen has appeared on Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow, these powers are easier to show and more impressive animated. The abbreviated storytelling (likely a result of the original show having only five-minute episodes) doesn’t explain where she got the fighting skills she demonstrates or how animal abilities protect her human body from damage, but I think the ultimate answer is it’s all magic.
After the first half-hour, which covers her origin and acceptance of her heritage, Mari goes to work in a zoo to learn more about animals. There, she assists her boss (Maria Canals-Barrera), who is being blackmailed. Later, she helps the Flash fight Weather Wizard, and there’s a final plot about other magical totems being found and stolen. That piece has guest appearances from Black Canary (Katie Cassidy) and the Atom (Brandon Routh).
Additional voices include Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards), Cisco (Carlos Valdes), a professor who helps Vixen understand her African connections (Sean Patrick Thomas) and her adoptive father (Neil Flynn).
The featurette, “Vixen: Spirit Animal”, is six minutes with Marc Guggenheim and comic book historian Alan Kistler discussing Vixen bringing magic to the DC TV universe. Carlos Valdes and Victor Garber also participate, talking about how people can relate to questions of family.
Also included are two Vixen-focused episodes of Justice League Unlimited, “Hunter’s Moon” and “Grudge Match”. There is also a DVD version available. (The studio provided a review copy.)