Professor Marston and the Wonder Women ensures you’ll never look at Wonder Woman the same way again. Not only was she ahead of her time at her creation as a feminist icon in 1941, but the overtly sexualised tones of the comic were perhaps rather more deliberate than fans today might realise.
Telling an engrossing story, Professor Marston reveals how Marston (Evans) and his wife Elizabeth (a film-stealing Hall) were incredible boundary-pushers in 1920s American academia. They experimented with the use of apparatus that eventually became the polygraph, and Marston was a psychologist and developer of DISC theory, a behavioural assessment model. After meeting student Olive (Heathcote), the Marstons began a polyamorous relationship with her which would eventually lead to their expulsion from college circles. After a later interest in bondage and kink developed, Marston created the character of Wonder Woman, based on his wife and partner, to be a vessel of his thoughts, teachings and support for women’s equality. He recognised that comics were the easiest way to reach the widest wedge of the US public.
Professor Marston is a fascinating, if slightly odd, mixture of period drama and comic book movie. The three leads are committed to telling the story of a family of free-thinkers and the struggles that meant for them in conservative 1940s America. It would be the same America who later condemned Wonder Woman and the uncomfortable sexuality she championed. It’s a refreshingly unusual story to be given the mainstream film treatment.
Professor Marston and the Wonder Women’s only issue is how much artistic licence it uses in its portrayal of the Marstons’ and Olive’s relationship, the exact nature of which was kept private. The titillation of a sexual aspect is not necessary when the people themselves are this free and absorbing.
CAST: Luke Evans, Rebecca Hall, Bella Heathcote, Connie Britton, JJ Feild, Oliver Platt
DIRECTOR: Angela Robinson
WRITER: Angela Robinson
SYNOPSIS: The fascinating story of psychologist William Moulton Marston (Evans), the possibly polyamorous relationship between him, his wife (Hall) and his mistress (Heathcote), the creation of his beloved comic book character Wonder Woman – and the controversy the comic generated.