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Vixen: The Movie

Score: 80%
Rating: Not Rated
Publisher: Warner Brothers Home
                  Entertainment

Region: A
Media: Blu-ray/1
Running Time: 75 Mins.
Genre: Animated/TV Series/Action
Audio: DTS-HD MA: English 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish

Features:

  • Vixen: Spirit Animal
  • Bruce Timm's Top Picks:
    • Justice League Unlimited "Hunter's Moon"
    • Justice League Unlimited "Grudge Match"

Vixen: The Movie takes the 12 episodes that make up Seasons One and Two of the Vixen web series and stitches them together into one movie where Mari McCabe not only get introduced to her powers, but also starts to learn about their origins.

Mari McCabe (Megalyn Echikunwoke, CSI: Miami, The 4400, The Following: Season Three) is an orphan that has started to realize that the necklace she carries with her, her only connection to her family, is more than it appears. When Mari's foster-father, Chuck (Neil Flynn, Scrubs, The Middle), has to bail her out of jail after a fight, he invites her to stay at his place, Mari's old home, and talk about her time away from Detroit and why the woman has returned to Motor City.

Meanwhile, the strange events surrounding Mari's brawl set off a few alarms at S.T.A.R. Labs in Central City and The Flash (Grant Gustin) teams up with Arrow (Stephen Amell) to search down the source of the apparent meta-human. When the pair meet up with Mari, she gets a crash course in just what her necklace can do. With it, she can summon the spirits of any animal she wishes and with that summoning, she can use their gifts. In the inevitable fight that happens the first time any superheroes first run across each other, she summons everything from the strength of a gorilla, to the speed of a cheetah (which is somehow faster than The Flash), the flight of an eagle, and even the camouflage capabilities of a chameleon.

When Mari contacts a local African Mythology expert, Professor Macalester (Sean Patrick Thomas, Save the Last Dance, The District), she learns that the amulet is apparently a magical totem given to her family's tribe in order to protect them. Unfortunately for Mari, this also leads to some unwanted attention from a woman named Kuasa (Anika Noni Rose, Dreamgirls, The Princess and the Frog). It seems Kuasa knows exactly what the totem is capable of and has her own plans for it.

The second half of Vixen: The Movie, and consequently, the web series' second season, takes place a year later with Mari fully embracing her powers and her mantle as Vixen by helping to clean up the streets of Detroit. When Professor Macalester returns from an expedition near Mari's family village with another mystical amulet, more forces start to converge on the city, and Vixen must team up with an unlikely ally or two in order to stop a new threat in Benatu Ashu (Hakeem Kae-Kazim, Black Sails), a warlord turned diplomat who has a history with the magical jewelry and wants to claim them for his own.

Just to be clear, Vixen is officially a part of the Arrowverse, and the Arrow and Flash in this animated series are the same ones from the live action shows. Actually, Vixen's first season takes place between Seasons Three and Four of Arrow, which is also the time between Season one and Two of The Flash. This means that Vixen gets a lot of Arrowverse guest stars. Besides The Flash and Arrow's frequenct appearances, other characters pop up, either to seek Vixen's help, or to lend her a hand in kind. This list contains Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards), Cisco Ramon (Carlos Valdes), Black Canary (Katie Cassidy), The Atom (Brandon Routh), and Firestorm (voiced by both Franz Drameh and Victor Garber because of that character's rather unique situation). Also of note is the fact that Echikunwoke shows up in Arrow as a live-action Vixen a couple of times, not to mention Mari's grandmother being a major character in DC's Legends of Tomorrow's second season.

Special features are in short supply, especially when considering some of Warner Brother's other DC releases, but it isn't completely lacking in extras. There is a short featurette concerning the history of the Vixen character and interviews with several actors and scholars related to the project. Accompanying the featurette are two episode of Justice League Unlimited picked by Bruce Timm, both prominently featuring Vixen, "Hunter's Moon" and "Grudge Match."

Vixen acts as a nice supplement to the Arrowverse's live-action options, but the web series never felt like it was a required piece of the puzzle to me. Even when Vixen had her first appearance in Arrow: Season Four's episode "Taken," she felt like a background character given a bit of a spotlight and then she was out-of-sight, out-of-mind again. That being said, offering all 12 episodes together as one 75 minute movie makes for a stronger presence than trying to keep up with the short episodes on CW's website, so fans of the other DC series will want to check out this release just to fill in some extra background for the super heroine.

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided me with a copy of the Blu-ray. The opinions I share are my own.



-J.R. Nip, GameVortex Communications
AKA Chris Meyer

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