Yesterday I was pissed off because I wasn’t able to see Legion.
Today I’m pissed off because I was.
Considering the rich tapestry of possibilities that exist in stories of wars between the denizens of Heaven and Mankind, Legion has no right being as much of a dumb mess that it is. But dumb and messy it is, which is surprising considering the panorama of reliable performers in the cast.
The brainchild of special effects guru Scott Stewart, the film tells the story of Michael (Paul Bettany), an angel who rebels against Heaven’s decision to obliterate humanity after we as a race have disappointed God to the point of Apocalypse. He retreats to Earth, cuts off his wings [which is dumb, you’ll discover], and grabs a whole bunch of machine guns to defend an unborn child from hordes of humans under control of the forces of evil angels led by the villainous Gabriel (Kevin Durand). Michael winds up at a shitty old diner in the middle of the desert where he and the patrons are besieged by the most useless villains I’ve seen in theaters for quite some time.
We’ll get back to that.
There are some interesting moments in Legion. Though it’s telegraphed and overused in the film’s marketing, there’s a really fun scene where an old woman with a walker becomes ‘possessed’ and walks on the ceiling. There are a few moments where Paul Bettany is able to deliver the oftentimes arch dialogue and sell the idea that all this could or would possibly happen. Charles S. Dutton tries his best to play the part of lovable redshirt. The Doug Jones Ice Cream Man character is cool, until…
…he’s gunned down immediately after his legs grow long. He shows up, looks cool, and harmlessly dies.
That’s the real problem here, a few decent visual ideas that are tied together with the loosest bit of narrative possible. So many elements of the story are ill conceived and threadbare, it’s impossible to give a damn about anyone. Our heroine is a pregnant girl who smokes cigarettes [the biggest sin of all!] and bitches. Our hero is Lucas Black, a pushover who doesn’t like to work and lets himself be bossed around by his dad, Dennis Quaid. He’s also a loser. Charles S. Dutton is a short-order cook with a hook for a hand. We do not know how he lost the hand but it’s a good bet it involved mistakes. Tyrene Gibson is a recovering thug trying to regain his child in a divorce. He’s a loser too! Jon Tenney, Willa Holland [hot!], and Kate Walsh are a rich family of losers. The film is populated with absolute deadbeats, all of whom get holed up in this diner with the loser angel as they face a boring onslaught.
If this is Armageddon, I’m not scared. How the end of humanity takes shape is that human beings get taken over, do the little Jacob’s Ladder thing with their heads, grow sharp teeth, and do absolutely nothing. There are many scenes of these empty people getting shot by machine gun fire, but for the most part they exist only to take up space and serve as squib carriages. There’s also a useless swarm of locusts.
It truly is a poorly realized amateurish mixture of The Prophecy and Preacher, but with absolutely no identity of its own and not enough depth to even warrant a ‘leave your brain in the car’ viewing. It’s not even very good eye candy, surprising coming from a guy whose work with the FX house The Orphanage should have provided some merit.
And the climax is truly rancid.
Yeah, skip this one. You’ll be thankful.