“Professor Marston and the Wonder Woman,” released on Oct. 13, arrives only five months after the box-office success of “Wonder Woman.”
Rather than being about the superwoman though, this movie focuses on the inspiration and personal lives of her creators: Professor William Marston, Elizabeth Marston and Olive Bryne.
According to the movie, Bryne is not only a student of Mr. and Mrs. Marston’s psychology class, but eventually an addition to their three-way relationship. The story follows the trio as they hide their unconventional liaison from the public, develop the lie detector (an invention not many would connect to a comic book author) and formulate their beloved Marvel character, Wonder Woman.
This film has many flaws, including a momentous, glaring issue that discredits the entire story. It’s one positive characteristic is its veteran actors, who give passionate performances. Other than that, it fails in everything else.
“Professor Marston and the Wonder Woman” spreads itself too thin, taking on the topics of a three-way relationship of the characters, feminism and Wonder Woman. It fails to have a proper insight or compelling depiction of any of these subjects, but acts as if these characters and their melodramatic conversations provide a wealth of wisdom on the issues.
Despite being centered on a relationship amongst the characters, their interactions feel ham-fisted and rushed. One minute, they’re irritated and baffled by each other. The next, they’re feverishly confessing their love.
Of the three, Bryne is the most annoying. She’s a bland, shallow character, who we’re expected to believe has any chemistry with the loud, brazen and analytical Marstons. Even more baffling is the flippancy of her character. She switches from a quiet, shy girl to a ridiculously impulsive seductress. Her naivety and quiet nature was clearly intended to make her seem innocent and sweet. Instead, she’s just irrelevant.
For a movie supposedly focused on Wonder Woman’s origins, she is barely mentioned. The story instead deciding that melodramatic conversations and awkward sex scenes take precedence over our iconic Marvel character.
However, none of these things compare in terribleness to the actual main issue of “Professor Marston and the Wonder Woman,” which is the total lack of historical accuracy.
The film begins with a black screen and large words saying “A true story.” This is a total lie. It is not true in the slightest.
Angela Robinson, the director of “Professor Marston and the Wonder Woman,” made zero effort to keep any realism, choosing not to contact the family and instead label her own “interpretation” as fact.
“Yeah. I didn’t actually talk to … It was a conscious choice because I really just wanted to have my own interpretation of the story,” Robinson said.
Making such assumptions didn’t go unnoticed by the Marston family. Christian Marston, granddaughter of the Marstons and close friend of Bryne, has been vocal about her rejection of the movie.
“This film has no relationship to Wonder Woman, other than using the name to sell to the public. They are riding the coattails of the very successful Wonder Woman movie — even to the point of copying the promo posters,” Marston said in an interview with Big Fanboy.
The main inaccuracies of this movie often connect to Bryne. Unsurprising really, as she’s the most unbelievable and thinnest of the characters. Robinson not only decided to make a movie about a relationship she knew nothing about, but also focused specifically on the fabricated romance of Elizabeth and Bryne. However, there is no evidence that the two women shared any attraction at all.
“Gram (Elizabeth Marston) and Dots (Olive) were as sisters. This, by the way, is not from a child’s point of view; I was very close to Gram as an adult. My grandfather died before I was born, so I only know him through family stories. No love triangle ever even hinted at —-and Gram was very broad-minded and very open, so if it existed, she had no reason to hide it — especially from me … we discussed all aspects of life and human psychology,” Marston said to Big Fanboy.
During the movie, there’s a dramatic breakup that occurs between the Marstons and Bryne , who’s sent away with the children she’s had with the professor. Despite this being the climax of the story, this also never actually occurred.
“Hollywood drama. At that point in time there were four children, and Dots (Olive) sure as hell did not take off and abandon them!” Marston said to Big Fanboy.
According to The Verge, various other plot points that moved things along also never happened. The film shows Professor Marston making a lie-detector machine that is regularly used throughout the story. In reality, the machine he created never actually work, but inspired the basic idea of a polygraph. The entire story is told through flashbacks as Professor Marston tries to defend his comic book to the Child Study Association of America (CSAA). In actuality, Wonder Woman was far too popular for any of its critics to have much power or influence. There was no hysterical burning of Wonder Woman comics and there was no involvement from the CSAA.
“Professor Marston and the Wonder Woman” is a deceptive movie that twists the stories of real people into melodramatic events for its own benefit. Yet such lies couldn’t save the film from it’s own bland dialogue and cliche story.
Release Date: October 13, 2017
Director: Angela Robinson
Stars: Luke Evans, Rebecca Hall