8 June 2001 | Jeremy Bristol
A bit slow, but has one of the best endings in all of anime.
For all the flaws in this movie (actual or perceived), I have to admit that ending has stuck with me since I first saw the dubbed version five years ago. All that fighting, all that posturing--for what? No one end up caring, no one listens to their pleas for the end of violence. It is very easy to understand how these moviemakers were able to later make Neon Genesis Evangelion, which has many of the same issues (religion, an examination of the belief that some people have that "the way justifies the means," technology and the use and misuse of it by humans, etc.).
The biggest problem I have with the movie is the attempted rape scene and the victim's subsequent forgiveness of the perpetrator (the hero of the movie). I couldn't tell whether the filmmakers were being sarcastic of her religion or if they really felt it was a good thing for her to forgive him--or if they needed that scene at all. I bought the DVD, hoping that the director's commentary would shed more light on the subject--they spend more time discussing how the cels (of the girl naked) were stolen before they could give them to friends than they did explaining the purpose of the scene in the movie.
Another thing is that Wings doesn't completely break out of the anime mold to become a mainstream film--it occasionally slips into anime-style slapstick and there's a few too much insider talk (both in technological aspects and inside jokes).
Beyond that, it is a daring, engrossing but deliberately-paced animated film.