Professor Marston and the Wonder Women ★★★★★
Dir: Angela Robinson. With: Rebecca Hall, Connie Britton, Luke Evans. 108 mins. Cert: 15
As well as showcasing the blandest three-way sex scene in history, this movie spreads an odd pall of sentimentality and period-glow nostalgia over a fascinating real-life story. DC Comics’ sensational Wonder Woman character was created before the war by a former psychology professor called
William Moulton Marston, his academic wife Elizabeth and former student Olive Byrne, who all lived together in a lovingly unconventional menage. Marston had a fascination for bondage, dominance and ecstatic submission to a loving authority, and it all went into the crypto-feminist inspiration of Wonder Woman herself. The movie is written and directed by Angela Robinson, for whom it is evidently a passion project, but the passion never quite surfaces in the performances or the action. It is as if the movie isn’t quite sure how to acknowledge the obvious role of male porn in Wonder Woman’s creation and popularity, or exactly how to match this with celebrating Wonder Woman’s feminist credentials, and the fact that it was, after all, aimed at kids. This creates a forced sweetness and celebratory earnestness to the tone. Luke Evans plays Marston, preeningly vain in his three-piece suit, lecturing to simpering co-eds. Periodically, the movie will show frames from the comic itself, and these absolutely pop: they are fierce, smart, funny and weird. But then we are back to the ponderous drama itself, which always insists on a kind of deeply felt solemnity.