We Are Not Legion, Actually

I saw Legion today. Boy, where do I begin? Oh, yeah. I know.

1) Book of Eli

2-5) Anything else, really.

6) Again, anything else.

1 jillionty-five) Legion

Spoilers ahead! But I shouldn't bother warning you, because you're not going to see this film. Sure, you may think that this movie had a lot of things going for it -- Paul Bettany, for starters. Throw in some zombie apocalypse tropes, and then some regular apocalypse tropes. Now add some re-interpreted Judeo-Christian mythology... it could prove to be an interesting film, right?


I shall now endeavor to tell you exactly where this film erred. Mistake the first -- the filmmakers are pitching a film to audiences they apparently don't understand. Most True Believers will take offense at the concept of a changeable, bitter God. Non-believers will be annoyed by an unseen, unmotivated, cardboard-cut-out antagonist. Atheists will just see the whole thing as a parable for how stupid religion can be. None of these groups are going to love this movie. The idea that God might wipe us all out because we made him mad (again) is an interesting one, but in order to sell it you really have to SELL it. 

Mistake the second -- somebody forgot to figure out who the Hero is.  See, we've got the fallen angel Michael (played by Paul Bettany), and we've got the good-hearted, faithful slackwit Jeep (played by Lucas Black), but the Hero should be making us stand up and cheer at some point, maybe by overcoming impossible odds or personal weakness. Michael doesn't fit this because they never really ratcheted up the pressure. He's up against ONE angel, not millions. Oh, and he dies. That's okay... he can be the Mentor character. Unfortunately, that only leaves us with Lucas, who doesn't fit this because right about the time the odds are impossible, and he's stretching past his own weakness, Michael comes back from the dead and saves the day. In short, deus ex machina. Lucas gets robbed of his heroic moment, and when Michael returns he's changed God's mind so Everything Will Be Okay Now.

Mistake the third: Can God really do no better than B-movie zombie tactics? All He needed to do was kill ONE BABY. He's GOD, right? People have been blaming him for sudden and unexpected deaths for thousands of years! And even if the mythos of the film didn't explicitly say that God can't personally kill babies (note: it didn't), the film did explicitly credit him for creating the earth. Is a meteor strike too much for the Hands that Shaped the Heavens? It's a plot-hole the size of, well... all creation.

Mistake the fourth, and this is a grievous one, if perhaps a little bit audience-specific: never, ever name the first guy to get eaten "Howard." Not if you want me to like the movie. And unless you're really gunning to be in a jillionty-fifth place, don't name dead Howard's snotty wife "Sandra."

That's right, I went to a movie in which Howard and Sandra die, and die poorly. Not. My. Favorite.

The film did have some redeeming factors. There were a few cool visuals, good performances by several (but not all) of the actors and actresses, and a couple of interesting character arcs. But these factors were, per my tweet from just after the curtain dropped, insufficiently redeeming. Maybe a bad movie that can't be redeemed by the good to be found in it is the sort of parallelism the filmmakers were shooting for, but that's giving them too much credit. So... one jillionty-fifth place. I'll probably move it up to an actual number long after I've barfed, brushed my teeth, and then forgotten about the barfing.