Professor Marston and the Wonder Women and all the images you see in this review are owned by Annapurna Pictures
Directed by Angela Robinson
You know, if we’re gonna get biopics like that upcoming one about Charles Dickens that looks like a Monty Python sketch, we might as well start doing them about comic book creators too! The early years of Marvel with Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, watching Batman evolve from comic book hero to Hollywood star through the eyes of Bob Kane, heck The Alan Moore story could be a freaking twelve hour Netflix series considering how much comic book controversy he’s managed to find himself in over his career! What we’ve got NOW though is probably the most interesting story of them all which is about Wonder Woman creator Professor William Marston and his unorthodox relationship with his wife Elizabeth Holloway and a former student of his Olive Byrne. Heck, it’s not only a great story to tell about queer women (though there is some contention of that) in a time where that wasn’t even legal, it also has incorporates radical feminism, BDSM, and comic book scare mongering that eventually led to the Comics Code Authority in the 1950s. With such fascinating material to work with, can it be turned into an engaging and interesting biopic, or is this a whole lot of scintillating window dressing for yet another rote history lesson? Let’s find out!!
Our story begins in Radcliffe University (a women’s only branch of Harvard) where the brilliant psychology professor William Marston (Luke Evans) and his much more brilliant wife Elizabeth (Rebecca Hall) are teaching psychology while working together on some other projects such as a lie detecting machine which is actually true. They did invent the polygraph which is a significant event in this film. Anyway, William is teaching a course on DISC theory (Dominance, Inducement, Submission, and Compliance) when one of the students catches his eye. Her name is Olive Byrne and soon becomes a TA for the Marstons; helping them with their legitimate experiments and some that may just be for fun. Eventually, this precarious situation between the three of them has to come to a head at some point and… well that’s where things get kind of awesome but also REALLY stressful. Oh, and at some point the dude creates Wonder Woman off based on the experiences and he has with the two women in his life as well as his own theories on feminism and even some of his sexual hang-ups which are REALLY noticeable if you read the earliest issues of the book. Will this trio of likeminded misfits find a place in the world that is openly hostile to them and their way of life? What will happen when puritanical busy bodies get start to understand the radical subtext within the pages of the comic book that are becoming more and more popular with children across the country? Wait, is THAT why Wonder Woman has a lasso!?