Rob Reviews "Professor Marston And The Wonder Women"
“Wonder Woman” was highly lauded this year, proving that a female-led superhero film could be viable, entertaining, and financially sound. Many people (including myself) were happy with its success commercially, ushering in what could be a new era with the modern superhero film. But just like Diana Prince herself, there is a “secret origin” to her existence itself, and writer/director Angela Robinson brings that story to life in “Professor Marston and the Wonder Women”.
Taking place right after World War I, Luke Evans plays William Moulton Marston, a college professor of psychology focusing on his DiSC technique of personality analysis. Married to Elizabeth (Rebecca Hall), they are also working on the first lie detector as she is trying to get Harvard to give her a PhD of her own, which they refuse to do as they do not do that for women at that time. In one of his classes, they meet Olive (Bella Heathcoate), who becomes their aide and even more. From this unorthodox relationship, they deal with ridicule from their neighbors, colleagues, and more, which manifests itself into one of the most iconic female heroes in comic book history. Some of the symbolism comes into question as well as William is brought before a decency board in the parallel story that propels the main story, grilled by Josette Frank (Connie Britton).
Let me be perfectly clear on something, this is NOT a film to bring the kids to. There are some very adult themes and material examined here that will lead to some discussions in the car on the way home that you may not want to have. Do yourself a solid and do the homework before deciding to see this film in order to make the best decision on where your limits lie. This is an honest and at times out-in-the-open depiction of their lifestyles that is not as graphic as it could be, but may be a bit much for some people.
The performances here are very strong, with the three leads showing incredible chemistry. Hall is especially good here as the strong, opinionated wife that recognizes her insecurities but fights them every step of the way. Heathcoate is absolutely convincing as the wide-eyed young woman who is both a lady and a rebel who may just be a bit ahead of her time, and Bryan plays William in a way that conveys his eccentricities, intelligence, and Peter Pan syndrome all at the same time.
My hope here is that people that may not agree with the lifestyle of the creators of “Wonder Woman” use that as a platform to try to undo all of the good that the modern version of the character has accomplished over the years. It is important to realize that their story has no bearing on the modern version of the Amazon, who has inspired girls of multiple generations to be bold, courageous, and self-reliant. While it is auspicious that this is being released so close to the film that changed the game for female superheroes, I do not feel like it is trying to work against it. This is a film that is more for those that are curious as to where she came from more than it is about who the character is. Whether this prompts more stories about the origins of the origins of their favorite heroes remains to be seen, but this is definitely a film that is worth watching as long as its subject matter is one that you can deal with.