Professor Marston and the Wonder Women: Film Review

In the same year Woman Wonder dominated at the box office and proved to be one of the year’s best while making the titular character even more popular, we now have another movie focusing on how the DC comic Amazonian hero but on how it was created in Professor Marston and the Wonder Women.

What’s the Story?: During the 1920s, Harvard psychologist and inventor Professor William Moulton Marston (Luke Evans) and his wife Elizabeth (Rebecca Hall) work together to how humans react to emotions with their assistant Olive Byrne (Bella Heathcote). Some kind of relationship begins to grow between the three of them which became the inspiration for the creation of one of the greatest female superheroes that ever graced the comic book world: Wonder Woman.

Rebecca Hall, Luke Evans, and Bella Heathcote in Professor Marston and the Wonder Women (2017)
Didn’t know what to really expect from Professor Marston and the Wonder Women, but writer-director Angela Robinson (D.E.B.S., Herbie: Fully Loaded) has carefully crafted a smart and interesting true story that goes on between the sexual tension from its three characters and the connection between the comics and their relationship in a way that actually explored some well-told character development that makes them want more experiences in their future.

The chemistry and performances across the board were the biggest highlights of the film. Evans, as always, gives a performance alongside the underrated Hall. Hall’s Elizabeth does come off briefly unlikable at the beginning, but she carries her scenes along the way. But it’s Heathcote who was the true star that outshined both Evans and Hall. Not a lot of people when this movie is talked about gives her credit for being this young, innocent assistant who gets close to William and Elizabeth. Known for her performances in Dark Shadows and The Neon Demon, this Australian beauty should honestly be a bigger star.

Rebecca Hall and Bella Heathcote in Professor Marston and the Wonder Women (2017)
Before this movie came out, I didn’t know how Wonder Woman was created, and so Marston came up with the idea and made the fictionalized character famous. Marston is well known as the inventor of the prototype of the lie detector, which makes sense for the “Lasso of Truth”. One of my favorite scenes is how he was explaining the DISC Theory (Dominance, Inducement, Submission, and Compliance), which actually helps the story a lot more when thinking about it when all three of them start to fall in love with each other.

Even in the early times where the Wonder Woman comics were popular, there were even discussions on the problems that Marston was carried on with when they were released. We do cut back to this past and the interrogation from Josette Frank (an underused Connie Britton) of the Child Study Association of America. The comics were considered controversial because of its images of bondage and kink that young kids shouldn’t be seeing.

It took some time to get to the discovery of Wonder Woman when there wasn’t much investment after the first act because of the film’s slow pace. Robinson’s style of filmmaking, while beautiful, doesn’t make that much of an improvement for when there’s a lack of emotional strive shown in her script that spanned two decades with the three main characters. Though I knew the Wonder Woman’s creation wasn’t gonna be the selling point of the film, more time could’ve been utilized in that aspect.

The film itself wasn’t marketed that much since it was coming out early October and Annapurna Pictures isn’t that big of a production company to make a big hit for box office numbers. It could’ve been a story that needed to be better told if it improved a bit during a couple of acts. Professor Marston and the Wonder Women is a well made period drama that while doesn’t hit all the checkboxes to make it all that satisfying, it still makes for a good movie about how everything came to be.

Professor Marston and the Wonder Women is admittedly a fascinating biopic with some solid performances, even if it doesn’t have many styles to it. Grade: B-

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