Professor Marston & the Wonder Women 2.0 stars

Movie poster


Suffering Sappho, it's a real-life superhero origin story! In her wildly successful star-turn on the big screen this summer, Wonder Woman was presented as Zeus' parting gift to humanity, a secret weapon in its struggle against the dark promptings of Ares, God of War. But her actual creator was psychologist William Moulton Marston (Luke Evans), who fashioned her to embody his ideas about human relations (erotic and otherwise, but definitely erotic), starting with the notion that people are happiest when they submit to a loving authority. (Happiness is his great goal, and if normality gets in the way, well then, it's time to change the meaning of normal. And the best way to do that, of course, is to win over the next generation.) Still, there's a reason that Marston and his wonder women — wife Elizabeth and their mutual lover Olive — get the title here. The comic-book heroine is presented as the fruit of their story and personas; what's onscreen is mostly what comes before: root, leaf, bud, flower. And for a film so frankly concerned with BDS(but not really M), it's fairly restrained, perhaps because the point is not sex, but love. Yes, it's glib in places ("Love is pain," coos a Greenwich Village fetish merchant), and broad in others. Yes, it's sometimes dumb in its presentation of the outraged opposition. But writer-director Angela Robinson is interested in both her subjects and their ideas, and that counts for something.

Matthew Lickona

Length: 1 hour, 48 minutes

Rated: R

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