Going into Legion, I just knew that it was going to be awful. But it was one of those movies I just HAD to see. When you go see movies with that mind set, one of two things can happen: 1) It’ll be great. Or 2) It’s just going to be so bad, it’s bad. I’m happy to report that Legion did not fall into category #2. While it didn’t quite make it into category 1, it was, never the less, a surprise.
To bring you up to speed, Legion tells the story of a fallen angel, Michael (Paul Bettany) who comes to Earth to ensure the survival of mankind from annihilation after the Man upstairs sends out the order to end it all.
Going against the wishes of his boss, he falls to Earth and makes his way to a desert diner to ensure that the diner’s waitress lives to bring her unborn baby to term, and is able to deliver. With only the owner, employees and a few unlikely patrons, they all must work together to fend off the impending doom that is coming for them.
If you’re familiar with my reviews you know how I hate to give anything away, so I’ll say once again, I’m stopping there as far as the storyline goes. So let’s talk about it in other terms.
With a run time of 1:40, it doesn’t feel too long or too short. The pacing seemed to be a bit slow in parts but overall, I’d say it was paced properly. I didn’t feel bored and I didn’t feel the need to check my watch. There were some cringe worthy scenes, especially the one involving the old lady. If you’ve seen the trailer, you know what I’m talking about. But really you should see the scene in it’s entirety to really appreciate it.
The effects were decent, but nothing really to write home about. Same goes for the scenery. At times you could really tell they shot on a lot, and some of the CG shots weren’t quite up to par, but it didn’t really bother me like it does in other films. Perhaps it was due to my mindset. I didn’t expect a lot so I wasn’t disappointed.
The showdown between Michael and the angel sent to finish the job he refused, Gabriel (played by Kevin Durand) was intense, but a bit choppy. There were parts where it was difficult to see exactly what was happening. You got the jist of the battle, but I would have liked to have been able to actually see more. It was a combination of editing as well as lighting.
The main reason I was interested in this film was because of Paul Bettany. I just couldn’t visualize him in this type of role. I have, up to this point, only been able to visualize him as he was in either Wimbledon or The Da Vinci Code. I didn’t think he’d be able to pull of playing an ass kicking angel that packs a lot, and I mean A LOT of heat. He executed his role very well and at no time did I think that he didn’t fit.
Kevin Durand was also a good choice for Gabriel. He’s got the stature and menacing presence to pull it off. While the character was a chunk of the story, his role was mainly confined to the second half of the film.
The rest of the cast includes Dennis Quaid, Charles S. Dutton, Kate Walsh, Tyrese Gibson, Lucas Black, and Adrianne Palicki. While they may not have been stand out performances, they were effective. Quaid’s character, Bob Hanson, is the owner of the diner, along with his son Jeep (Black), his cook (Dutton) and the pregnant waitress (Palicki). Walsh and Gibson are both unsuspecting patrons.
Not all of the characters stories are told thoroughly, but they really didn’t need to be. The film didn’t spend too much time focusing on each character, which can be both good and bad. You don’t feel too attached, but at the same time you do have a basic idea of what brought them to the diner.
Overall I was pleasantly surprised and ended up liking Legion. It’s got it’s flaws, but none of them were enough to ruin the film for me. It’s not a movie that will change the world, but it was entertaining. And really, isn’t that what going to movies is all about?