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Legion

I've wanted to see "Legion" since I first saw the trailer back in August, so I wasn't going to let a little thing like a complete lack of any reviews (usually a VERY bad sign) stop me from seeing it Friday, but I did lower my expectations a bit. And overall, it didn't suck. I wouldn't say it was a great film, but the current metacritic score is somewhere in the 30s, whereas I would put in maybe in the high 50s myself. Extremely formulaic, yes, but good performances and entertaining enough, and interesting angelology. I highly expect other SPN fans to appreciate a lot of the plot parallels and the central role of Adrianne Palicki. In fact, I am very much hoping to see a lot of SPN/Legion fusion fic based on the film.



So the basic premise of the film, if you're not aware of it, is that God has gotten pissed off with the world and decided to destroy it. Apparently he's given up enough that he's not even going to wait and see if the new Christ figure who's about to be born will fix things; he's just going to have angels wipe out the whole planet. Except Michael, who in the film was the very first angel to bow down before Adam when God commanded it, refuses the command to kill the new Christ figure's mom (Adrianne Palicki, called Charlie in the film) and instead sets out to protect her, fighting against the entire host of heaven, who are led by Gabriel. Gabriel just can't understand how Michael could be unfaithful to God, but Michael is convinced that someone has to give God not what God wants but what God needs. (It's all a giant test, or something).

Anyway, we don't find most of that out until about 2/3 into the film. It opens with Michael falling from heaven, and promptly going into a filthy warehouse to sew up the holes where his wings were, and to steal massive quantities of guns from the warehouse. He is confronted by some cops who end up turning into demons, but of course he escapes.

Then we move to the location where the rest of the movie is set, the somewhat anvilly-named Paradise Falls, which consists of an old gas station/diner in the middle of nowhere in the desert. We are told several times that only the lost end up there. The main character at the diner is Charlie, the tough-talking waitress who is 8 months pregnant and still smoking. Presumably she doesn't care too much, at the beginning, about her baby since she doesn't know who the dad is and she's giving him up for adoption, despite the wishes of Jeep, the laconic son of the diner owner who wants nothing more than for Charlie to settle down with him so they can raise the kid together. (Jeep is played by Lucas Black, which made me feel old, since I still associate him with American Gothic. When did he get old enough to play leading man?) Of course these two, being our modern day Mary and Joseph, are the only ones to survive the movie.

But since we need to round out the cast with lots of people to die heroically, we get Jeep's dad, played by Dennis Quaid--the embittered diner owner whose marriage tanked when they built the mall a county away and the diner never got successful; Charles Dutton, the one-armed fry cook whose religious background will help him convince the diner crew to listen to Michael (He of course is the second one to get killed off, but at least he dies heroically); Kate Walsh, playing a spoiled rich bitch with a long-suffering husband and rebellious teenage daughter, who of course is first going to get schooled in real love and then die, though in her case not heroically, and not before she gets Charles Dutton killed in a futile attempt to save her already dead husband; and Tyrese Gibson, as the mysterious and semi-menacing urban black guy who carries a gun (but saves the white people's lives with his scary gun and then dies heroically trying to save the life of a little kid. Who turns out to be a demon, of course).

It is all extremely formula, but the performances are pretty good, and I have to say, the demons are pretty fucking creepy. Especially the old lady who crawls on the ceiling like a spider. I'm not a big horror fan, but I thought the horror scenes were pretty effective, and yet didn't pass my gore tolerance mark.

They left Michael and his motives pretty opaque for the first half of the film, which probably would have been very effective had I not known the basic plot from the trailers. He basically just shows up with guns and somehow gets everyone in the diner to trust him that they're at war without really explaining anything, which was somewhat impressive. Or stupid. I couldn't really decide. The special effects weren't very high budget, but they were quite effective.

I think I did like the theology of the film, insofar as it turned out Michael was right: God was effectively testing the angels to see if they would think for themselves instead of mindlessly obeying. That, plus the angel v. angel thing, plus Adrianne Palicki being the new Mary (and not remembering who the father of the baby was) just made this whole thing seem very fusionable, and I probably was able to enjoy the movie because I spent the whole time thinking that of course Sam was the dad and maybe somehow the angels whisked Jess away before she died and wiped her memory or something, and the reason why Michael isn't pressing Dean to become vesselized is he's too busy protecting Jess. Though honestly I would kill off Jeep and have Jess end up back with Sam, because Jeep didn't really do a lot for me (even though it's Jeep's hope and faith in humanity that is supposedly driving Michael to rebel against God. But that was too much telling and not enough showing, I thought. Though in a fusion Jeep could theoretically be Dean, which would certainly complicate the romance plot).

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Comments

( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
svilleficrecs
Jan. 25th, 2010 08:11 am (UTC)
I just can't get over naming your kid Jeep. Why would you do that to a child?
norwich36
Jan. 25th, 2010 03:35 pm (UTC)
Hee! I was working under the assumption it was a nickname--he does fix cars for a living--but if it is a real name it is cruel and unusual punishment.
jeannev
Jan. 25th, 2010 02:39 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the review. I wanted to see this movie, but when there was absolutely no fanfare when it got released, I thought Uh-oh! But now, after reading your review, I think I'll give it a shot.
norwich36
Jan. 25th, 2010 03:37 pm (UTC)
I think as long as your expectations are significantly lowered, it's worth watching, especially if you like angel apocalypsy storylines. It's a very good cast, that's for sure.
(Deleted comment)
norwich36
Jan. 25th, 2010 07:27 pm (UTC)
Somehow I am not actually surprised that my taste in movies is different than MR's.
roxymissrose
Jan. 25th, 2010 04:47 pm (UTC)
Thanks! this is the kind of review I like! I might take an afternoon and catch it at the matinee--popcorn and a movie for slightly less than it costs for a kidney, heck yeah.

norwich36
Jan. 25th, 2010 07:27 pm (UTC)
Glad you found it helpful.
ciaan
Jan. 25th, 2010 10:18 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I wasn't expecting much, but I thought it was reasonably solidly done, a predictable plot yet I definitely liked the way they portrayed the angels. The visual coding of them, and the things they said and did, were so unremittingly monstrous, it was great. I don't exactly know why Michael and Gabriel were so separated from the rest in portrayal, but whatever, I can totally overlook that because they had cool sharp wings and Michael's slave collar came off when he fell, and they were very slashily incestuous.

I agree, it would be very different to go into it not knowing those were angels versus knowing they were. One of those things where the hook is a spoiler.
norwich36
Jan. 25th, 2010 11:45 pm (UTC)
Yeah, it's really too bad Michael couldn't really be mysterious in the film. But wow, he and Gabriel were completely slashy, I agree.

My favorite thing about the angel portrayal, I must confess, was that bullets bounced off their wings. That just seemed cool to me. I missed the slave collar thing, though--damn!
ciaan
Jan. 28th, 2010 04:15 pm (UTC)
They were awesome metallic wings. And that moment when Gabriel stabbed his mace through himself to get to Michael was homg. Their little talks were like, seriously, can anyone film this without realizing what they are doing?

When Michael first fell, I think right after he cut off his wings (maybe right before?) there was this blue glow that sorta coalesced and then faded and the collar fell off his neck. I forgot to check at the end though to see if the collar came back when his wings did.
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )

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