If you're checking out Professor Marston and the Wonder Women looking for a fun little film about the creation of comic book icon Wonder Woman, you may be in for a surprise in the Rated R biopic. The famous Amazonian Warrior Princess does play a part in the project, but this story puts the focus on the relationship between the trio of individuals who created and were the inspiration for the first lady of the Justice League. Luke Evans, Rebecca Hall and Bella Heathcote star as the three people in a committed relationship, which was deemed sinful and perverted for the time forcing them to stay guarded with their personal lives.
Professor Marston and the Wonder Women covers quite a bit of time starting in the prohibition era up until the 1940s post WWII. At times the film seems to be in a big rush to cram in all the personal details of the trio's unorthodox courtship and lives that followed. There are some interesting details covered with Professor Marston's work outside of the comic books, but other times the pace does seem to drag. Professor Marston and the Wonder Women is a character study that takes its time fleshing out these unique humans rather than a docudrama about the process of creating Wonder Woman and the controversy surrounding the superhero.
Luke Evans plays the Professor Marston and continues to proves he is one of the most underrated actors in Hollywood. He stole the show earlier this year as Gaston in Beauty and the Beast and commands your attention when he's on-screen defending the images in the pages of Wonder Woman that serve as metaphors for his own personal life and beliefs. Marston's lifestyle may not be for everyone, yet you understand there is a deep love in this unusual family situation that is hidden by shame and fear due to the time period and opinions of others.
Evans work is solid in Professor Marston and the Wonder Women, but he's not the strongest performer in the film. Rebecca Hall is excellent as Marston's wife Elizabeth who is the emotional core of the project. She's brash, funny, sad, embarrassed and unable at times to cope with her feelings or the scrutiny of her life choices. Hall is the most relatable character realizing this uncanny life Olive and the Professor think they can manage is almost impossible to make work openly without living a lie or putting their family at risk for ridicule. Hall's work is so strong that it overshadows Bella Heathcote's role as Olive who doesn't really deliver the impressive performances that Evans and Hall are able to do.
One thing is for certain in Professor Marston and the Wonder Women is you will never look at Wonder Woman and her golden lasso the same way again. The film is quite racy at times and does shed a light on the conservative nature of the time and the views concerning non traditional relationships. The acting work of Luke Evans and especially Rebecca Hall are worth the price of admission with an unknown story about three progressive adults that managed to turn their personal life into the greatest female superhero of all time.
Overall, I give Professor Marston and the Wonder Women 3 out of 4 stars.
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