Mari McCabe was orphaned at a young age. Bouncing around to all different foster homes and eventually into prison, she has no knowledge of or connection to her roots, except for a necklace she believes came from her real family. Then, one day during a fight with some unsavory characters, Mari discovers that she’s able to use the necklace (or rather, a totem on the necklace) to channel the power and abilities of any animal she chooses. If she channels an elephant, she suddenly has extraordinary strength. If she channels a cheetah, she can run like the wind. If she channels a hawk, she can fly. The possibilities are virtually limitless.
Not long after this discovery, Mari receives a visit from two concerned citizens who are curious about her power: Barry Allen and Oliver Queen. Yes, this is a CW production, and technically part of the Arrowverse. As such, we have cameos by not only Flash and the Green Arrow, but also Felicity Smoak, Cisco Ramon, Dr. Martin Stein, and more, all voiced by their live-action counterparts on the CW.
Mari McCabe (dubbed Vixen by Cisco) is a bit different from those other heroes, though. While Arrow, Flash, et al. are constantly battling supervillains and people with powers, often with the fate of the whole city or even the world at stake, Vixen mainly takes on muggers, thugs, and other run-of-the-mill petty criminals in her hometown of Detroit.
The smaller scale here doesn’t make the stakes any lower, though. On the contrary, it makes Vixen’s fight more personal and easier to get invested in. She doesn’t have some grand calling. She’s just trying against greater odds to keep her corner of the world safe.
The first half of the film (season 1 of the web series) depicts Mari discovering her powers, learning to control them, and ultimately learning about her origins. Then, we fast forward to a year later (season 2) and see her encounter a ruthless warlord with powers comparable to her own—and a desire for destruction.
As a big fan of Flash, Arrow, and the CW’s other superhero shows, I was excited to see so many familiar characters making appearances; however, that’s not to say that Vixen needs any help carrying this film. She’s strong enough (and smart enough) to face most of the dangers thrown at her on her own. In fact, more often than not, when Flash or Arrow shows up, it’s because they want HER help with one of THEIR problems.
All in all, this film is well written and a lot of fun. Megalyn Echikunwoke is perfect as the titular Vixen. Neil Flynn provides encouragement and guidance as Chuck, Mari’s foster father and one of the only people in her life who’s ever truly cared about her. And a host of other characters come together to give Vixen her own support team in times of crisis, just like Flash and Arrow.
If you’re a fan of the shows in the Arrowverse, then you’ll definitely want to check out this film, as it will not disappoint. Even if you’re not familiar with Arrow, Flash, and the other CW shows in that vein, though, Vixen manages to stand on its own and doesn’t require a lot of complicated backstory in order to be enjoyed and appreciated. If you’re a superhero fan in general, Vixen has everything you’re looking for.