Starring: Luke Evans, Rebecca Hall, Bella Heathcote
Director: Angela Robinson
Running Time: 107 mins
Professor Marston And The Wonder Women is an American film about the story of the man who created the legendary superhero character Wonder Woman, and the two women who inspired her creation through a passionate but controversial relationship.
You might know the origin stories of superheroes from all around the world, but there are few quite as unique as that of the legendary Wonder Woman. While her comic book prowess has never been doubted, the reality of where the character came from is absolutely fascinating, and detailed in enthralling fashion by this film, which gives an intimate, passionate and bold insight into a story that changed the superhero landscape for good.
While the likes of Superman and so many more were the creations of writers, companies and more in the pre-WWII era, Wonder Woman came out of a completely different sphere at the same time, created by psychologist and academic Professor William Marston.
However, this film shows that the creation, while Marston’s, came from a life-changing and dramatic period in his life, inspired by the two most important women he would ever come to meet, and the unique relationship the three shared while under the gaze of a disapproving society.
Following the polyamorous love of Marston, his wife Elizabeth, and his student Olive, the film is far more than just a detailing of the origin of Wonder Woman, and in fact a deeply intimate and emotional romantic drama, giving a fascinating, thought-provoking and moving depiction of polygamy in a way that I’ve never seen on the big screen before.
With a riveting balance between the pressure and disapproval of the society around them, and the deepest, most personal moments of the trio’s relationship, Professor Marston & The Wonder Women is one of the most unique and eye-opening romantic dramas you’re likely to come across, showing that there is far more to love and romance than the movies will often have you believe.
The film looks at the complex nature of the three’s relationship, not only as they attempt to balance their true feelings and their reputations from those disapproving eyes outside the relationship, but also as the balance of an often unequal romantic relationship shifts and changes over the years.
Rather than the relatively more simple back-and-forth nature of a two-partnered relationship, this film gives an engrossing and powerful insight into both the struggles and the power of a multi-partnered relationship, with the strongest emotional conflict and tension coming as suspicion and frustration creeps in when one of the three find themselves feeling left out of what they want to be a fully equal romance.
In that, Professor Marston & The Wonder Women is a bold, refreshing romantic drama that features engrossing and eye-opening emotion and intrigue from beginning to end.
The three leads, Luke Evas, Rebecca Hall and Bella Heathcote are all excellent throughout, impressing with excellent chemistry that lends a strongly convincing air to the passion of their relationship, as well as strong assurance throughout, which means that the balance of power in that relationship continues to change throughout the film, never resting solely on one party.
So, as a romantic drama, this film is a really strong watch, but when it comes to its other main objective – detailing the history of how Wonder Woman came to be, things aren’t quite as successful.
While it’s always interesting to see the link between reality and fiction, and what parts of the character were brought in from real life and Marston’s two partners, there are times when the film is just a little too heavy-handed in its portrayal of those links, particularly when it comes to Marston’s academic work bleeding into his comic creation.
As a professor of psychology, he aims to create Wonder Woman as a fiercely intelligent character – different to the more simple female heroes previously published – but with his studies of sexual psychology too, he brings a bold and controversial amount of that into the character as well.
Now, while it’s something that you may never have thought of before, the film leans a little too much into the Freudian sexual psychology behind Wonder Woman and Marston’s own work, occasionally getting far too bogged down in theory that just doesn’t play in well enough to the famous character or even the main romance in the story.
If it all worked in sync a little better, then I think that part of the story wouldn’t feel anywhere near as heavy-handed, but it all comes at you a little too strongly throughout, without ever really delivering the strong effect it perhaps needs to.
Overall, I was impressed by Professor Marston & The Wonder Women. A fascinating history that features bold drama and eye-opening, moving romance throughout, it’s an engrossing watch throughout, and although it doesn’t always quite hit the mark when it comes to bringing more complex psychological theory into the mix, that doesn’t stop the film from being an entirely enthralling watch, and that’s why I’m giving it a 7.4.