‘Professor Marston and the Wonder Women’ – Variety

These days, superhero movies have become so commonplace that audiences actually complain when the latest DC or Marvel blockbusters slows down to deliver a character’s origin story (which is one reason the latest Spider-Man reboot skipped the whole radioactive spider-bite setup and dove straight into the action). But when it comes to Wonder Woman, how the divine Diana Prince sprung into existence is every bit as interesting as her wildest adventure — and I’m not talking about her Greek god-parents or Amazon upbringing either, but the way the character was conceived by a Harvard psychology professor named William Moulton Marston.

Conceived as a feminist role model for young readers; dressed in red-white-and-blue fetish gear, complete with wrist cuffs; and armed with a lasso of truth that combined Marston’s own invention (he’s the brain behind the lie-detector test) with one of his favorite kinks (bondage, or so we’re led to believe), Wonder Woman was not just the poster girl of Marston’s personal agenda, but also the “love child” of a polyamorous relationship the forward-thinking intellectual maintained with his wife (also a psychologist) and his comely young teaching assistant (also their lover).

That’s the incredibly rich backstory writer-director Angela Robinson mines in “Professor Marston and the Wonder Women,” a rare glimpse into a functional three-way domestic relationship, the likes of which audiences seldom ever see on screen (where the ménage à trois is typically depicted as a source of competition and conflict). But juicy as all this ought to be, Robinson’s tweedy, sepia-hued approach is totally at odds with this alternately lurid and illuminating source material. As the portrait of a man (and his “wonder women”) so devoted to the pursuit of truth, this is arguably the phoniest film you’ll see all year, marred by clumsy direction, over-obvious acting and a wooden script that skews what was so radical…

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