Professor Marston and the Wonder Women
This is the second of three Wonder Woman-related properties set to premiere in calendar year 2017, although it comes with far fewer CGI explosions than Patty Jenkins’ hacky Wonder Woman or Zack Snyder’s dreaded Justice League. Instead, Angela Robinson’s Professor Marston and the Wonder Women tells a period story of the comic book character’s creator, William Moulton Marston (Luke Evans), a professor and psychologist who based the Amazon superhero on his wife and colleague Elizabeth (Rebecca Hall), as well as their long-time mutual lover Olive Byrne (Bella Heathcoate). Marston spent his career dissecting themes of dominance, submission and powerful women, finding the perfect expression in a polyamorous relationship with Olive and Elizabeth, and also finding the perfect propaganda machine in comic books. Hall and Heathcoate both do strong work, but Evans’ performance feels strained and false, and this otherwise smart and savvy film gets handcuffed by a weak framing device. D.B.