District 9. Where the Wild Things Are. Avatar. The upcoming Wolfman. It’s a great time to be a sci-fi, horror, and fantasy fan. Last night I caught Legion in celebration of my sister Cristal’s birthday (Happy B-day weekend, sis!) and it was a blast. I’ve heard some reviews have said it’s to slow at times, but I’m not sure what they were talking about, because I thought the movie was well-paced, and had a fine balance of characterization and action for an action/horror flick.
Paul Bettany was superb as the rogue Archeangel Michael, and Dennis Quaid had another turn as grizzled, world-weary diner owner Bob Hanson (though I preferred his turn as grizzled world-weary spacer in Pandorum). It’s always great to see Charles S. Dutton, and he steals his share of scenes here. If only Lucas Black were as dynamic an actor as Tyrese Gibson, because although Lucas is our everyman, Tyrese is the one you find yourself rooting for, and want to know more about. Adrianne Palicki plays Charlie, the waitress expecting the child at the center of an oncoming war between Heaven and Earth. She’s hard to like through most of the film, especially since she can’t seem to quit smoking, despite her growing belly, but she does convey a sense of inner turmoil and confusion that draws you in. I could have done without Kate Walsh’s character, socialite Sandra Anderson and her family, but she continues to portray that character you love to hate. Kevin Durand plays Gabriel, one of God’s most notable angels, but here the antagonist, and so stoic he seems impenetrable.
So many films come to mind in reference to Legion: Dogma, the Kevin Smith flick about two angels (Bartelby and Loki) trying to subvert the will of God by manipulating a loophole in a New Jersey Cardinal’s newly handed down dogmatic law to re-enter heaven; Highlander, which deals with immortals instead of angels; and most closely, The Prophecy, in which the angel Gabriel (Christopher Walken) comes to Earth to collect a soul which will end the stalemated war in Heaven, with a former priest-turned-cop, Daggett (Elias Kotias) hot on his trail. So admittedly there are a few more angel-iconic films than Legion, but I have a feeling that this is just the first installment of a franchise that will have more resources, casting power, and hopefully more consistent writing (Legion Director Scott Stewart also is co-writer) than any of the franchises of its kind.? I was satisfied with Legion, and it left me wanting the sequel it hints at throughout the last quarter of the film, so I’m giving it three out of five Forsaken Stars.