STARRING: Megalyn Echikunwoke, Neil Flynn, Sean Patrick Thomas, Anika Noni Rose, Carlos Valdes, Stephen Amell, Grant Gustin, Emily Bett Rickards, Hakeem Kae-Kazim, Katie Cassidy and Brandon Routh
Vixen is based on the DC Character Mari McCabe aka Vixen, a costumed superhero crime-fighter with the power to mimic the abilities of any animal that has ever lived on Earth.
Originally from Africa, Mari McCabe grew up an orphan after her parents were murdered by local greed, corruption and violence. After inheriting her family’s Tantu Totem, we follow Mari in Detroit using the Totem’s abilities to access the powers of animals – anything from the speed of a cheetah to the strength of a gorilla – leads her to fighting to protect the world from threats like those that took her family away from her.
Vixen: The Movie is a combination of the first two seasons of the CW Seed animated series along with fifteen minutes of all-new, never-before-seen content focusing on Mari McCabe beginning to learn the powers of her family’s Tantu Totem that she inherited, learn about her past and how her parents died and also becoming the superhero known as Vixen, protecting people from the threats that destroyed her family. Now I never got to watch the animated series through CW Seed so thankfully the DC team have decided to bring this out for digital release and in a few weeks DVD/Blu-Ray for DC Collectors and those just curious as to how this Vixen animated feature fares amongst the releases we’ve been getting the last few years.
The animation style I thought was well done, considering that you remember that this was initially put out as a web series, especially when it focuses on the action sequences. Another thing I liked was that the film is set within the Arrowverse, the DC superhero universe on the CW network, so it includes some of the characters from the various shows such as Arrow, The Flash, Black Canary and The Atom. Mari McCabe discovering her origins as well as coming to terms with the abilities that the Totem possesses is intriguing to watch and had me invested in the characters journey to becoming Vixen. The voice acting from Megalyn Echikunwoke as the title character is the obvious standout and in terms of cameos/supporting voice performances, Emily Bett Rickards and Brandon Routh sound exactly like they would in live-action.
There’s animation characterisations of characters we’ve seen in the Arrowverse that I thought looked a bit off-key, such as Cisco Ramon and Oliver Queen, though the main problem with that could’ve been that the voice acting sounded….stiff from the likes of Stephen Amell, Grant Gustin etc. While I was intrigued by Mari’s journey to becoming Vixen, putting two seasons of the Vixen story out as a feature makes it feel start/stop/start as new villains pop into the second and third act.
As a web series I’m sure I’d rate it higher, but putting it together as a feature film I thought Vixen: The Movie was fine. I may have been more interested in seeing the first act of the film fleshed out compared to the other two acts, but I thought Megalyn Echikunwoke as Mari McCabe aka Vixen was really good and the character’s journey had me invested while watching. 5/10