Professor Marston and The Wonder Women: DVD Review
Feeling more like an episode of Masters Of Sex, with some kinkiness thrown in as well, it's no surprise that Professor Marston and The Wonder Women releases the same week as Justice League.
Centring on Evans' Professor William Marston aka the man who created the Wonder Woman comic and his wife Elizabeth (Hall), Professor Marston and The Wonder Women details how the renowned psychologist developed the feminist comic in the 1940s.
While lecturing at Harvard, Bella Heathcote's Olive Byrne catches the eye of William and his wife, and she's invited to join them in an intellectual three-way as he looks to develop the lie detector.
Frustrated at his lack of breakthrough, and with his wife unable to secure a PHD from anywhere, the two find their energy centred and re-focused with the introduction of Olive - not to mention, an attraction as well.
Professor Marston and The Wonder Women is a curious film, one which takes the time to build up the central relationship and dynamic of the trio, but falters at anything else outside of it.
Beginning with Marston facing a 1940s panel chaired by Connie Britton's Josette Frank who's unhappy about the content of the Wonder Woman comic, the film flashes back to the development of the relationship and as a result, the film's raison d'etre seems to slightly suffer in the process.
Perhaps it's due to an expectation of the Wonder Woman side of things garnering attention, but in truth, the germ of the idea that comes late in the piece feels a little rushed and the outrage which sees people collecting and burning the comics feels piecemeal and under-developed.
Far more successful is the examination of the trio, the introduction of bondage and the embracing of the polygamy side of things (even if questions from the children don't appear and a stereotyped neighbourhood brawl feels more perfunctory than anything) serves the film better.
Central to proceedings is Heathcote's mix of innocence and desire. Her Olive, even if she does appear to be channeling a younger Heather Graham in looks, adds much to the yearning among the learning atmosphere that writer / director Robinson seeks to build.
The societal clashes rear their head late in the piece, and as the comic house of cards begins to collapse and the relationship falters, you genuinely feel for the trio and feel the accusations sting that others hurl at them.
Ultimately, Professor Marston and The Wonder Women is beautifully shot and offers up some stellar performances from the central trio, but its lasso of truth tends to loosen when it casts itself wider and tries to latch on to anything else which isn't related to them.
Society may have the ties that bind in Professor Marston and The Wonder Women, but the way the stories loosens itself from the shackles of Hollywood's more traditional trysts and tropes gives it a sensitivity that's hard to ignore, an eroticism which is occasionally contagious and a narrative that intrigues deeply.