When watching or reading the stories of Wonder Woman, one may think that the character was simply meant for fantasies of male comic book readers or, if one has seen the most recent adaptation, that Wonder Woman stands for female empowerment.
However, as shown in “Professor Marston and the Wonder Women,” the Amazon was not intended for either of the aforementioned purposes. It is revealed during the film that her creator intended the “Wonder Woman” comics to educate children about the progression of the best way to be in a relationship with another person.
The movie details the inspiration behind Wonder Woman’s creation. The plot follows William Moulton Marston (Luke Evans), a professor of psychology, as he navigates his polyamorous love for both his wife, Elizabeth, and his student, Olive Byrne, while developing a new theory for healthy human relationships. Marston then presented that theory in the form of a comic book.
The actresses playing Elizabeth (Rebecca Hall) and Byrne (Bella Heathcote) both did a phenomenal job portraying Marston’s two lovers. Although the two characters had drastically different aspirations outside of their relationships with Marston, Hall and Heathcote successfully communicated the love they had for their respective studies, their love for Marston and their love for the other woman.
Evans did not deliver as dynamic a performance as his co-stars but still convinced the audience to care about the outcome of his story. He especially shined in scenes with Marston’s children, where Evans conveyed Marston’s desire to live with his children and also his understanding that they must be separated.
One gorgeous aspect of the film was the cinematography. In one scene, Elizabeth and Byrne enter a hospital room single file and then, just as Marston looks up from his bed, the women split while surrounded by a halo of light, effectively conveying the equal impact the two women have in the story.
One problem with the film, however, was that it never fully resolved the issue of Professor Marston’s fetishization of bondage or the sexualization of Wonder Woman.
Although the film tells the audience that Marston simply wanted to draw parallels between the practices of sexual bondage with the psychological aspects of human relationships, it ignores the fact that Wonder Woman has been viewed as a sexual object and used for the sexual consumption of men for years.
Despite this, the film brings to light many facts surrounding the creation of Wonder Woman with great cinematography, a compelling plot and great actors. Anyone interested in the story behind Wonder Woman should definitely give it a chance.
Movie: Professor Marston and the Wonder Women
Director: Angela Robinson
Release: Oct. 13
Rating: 3.5 out of 5