Professor Marston & the Wonder Women Movie Review
Have you ever wondered what the inspiration for the original Wonder Woman comic books were? Me neither, but with the female superhero movie cleaning up over the summer, the not-so-coincidentally timed Professor Marston and the Wonder Women - about the strange circumstances that led to her emergence in the 1940s - is here to clear the air. Even better: the movie is really good.
And it has a threesome.
Luke Evans stars as psychologist William Marston, who, along with his extremely intelligent wife Elizabeth (Rebecca Hall), invented the lie detector. The couple soon become enamored with one of his students, Olive Byrne (Bella Heathcote), and the three form a polyamorous relationship. It’s Marston’s philosophies, and his enduring relationship with these two women - oh, and his interest in bondage - that lead him to create the comic book.
Written and directed by Angela Robinson, Professor Marston and the Wonder Women sizzles with an extremely accessible feminist bent; the film wears its message of female empowerment and equality on its sleeves, yet nothing about it feels forced or heavy handed. Why? Because such themes are wound so tight around the very existence of the film’s characters it would feel unnatural to tell the story in any other way.
All three lead actors deliver absolutely terrific performances that deserve more attention than they’ll likely receive. Evans is at his very best, and arguably Hall is even better, cutting through dialogue with a ferocious tenor that could part the Red Sea. Heathcote is equally good, though with wide-eyed emotion and nuanced glasses attacks her role in a completely different way. The movie purposefully presents these two women as polar opposites who each represent two different ideals - both are strong and assertive, but in radically different ways. Hall and Heathcote take on the challenge effortlessly, and it’s a sight to see.
Professor Marston and the Wonder Women tells the little known story of the man and women behind Wonder Woman; it’s the kind of movie - a period piece aimed more at women about the creator of a superhero - that likely won’t get a lot of mainstream attention, but is surprisingly, refreshingly, entertaining, inviting and curious.
And it has a threesome, of course.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.