I knew what I was getting into when I went to see Legion. I’m not blind, I read the reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, and the 18% standing on the tomatometer had me nervous about shelling out $10. But Rotten Tomatoes sometimes gets it wrong – G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra was rated a mediocre 36% and I really enjoyed that movie!
Sad to say that in this case, they were right. Legion started out so good too, I mean I was excited to see it – it’s a pretty decent concept and Paul Bettany’s six-pack draped across billboards in Times Square was a definite pull. And then the pain came and didn’t stop until it stopped. I hate it when that happens.
Legion had so much unrealized potential which just got completely eclipsed by all the bullets and comatose, possessed, shark-toothed people. Oh wait, did I mention that said shark-toothed people were possessed by angels? Now I’m pretty much open to any kind of fantasy (oldies but goodies or far-out newfangled concepts) but seriously, angel possession? We’re talking black eyes and pointy teeth demonic-looking things. Again, I repeat, angel possession? Really??? Sorry, but I don’t get that.
So basically the short synopsis is that one angel, Michael (Paul Bettany), goes renegade when he disagrees with God’s supposed plan to wipe out mankind, and cuts his wings off in a stand-off to protect an unborn child prophesied to lead mankind out of darkness. Mouthful, I know! Anyway, this standoff takes place at a busted rest-stop in the middle of nowhere with a stockpile pile of automatic weapons big enough to level a small country. In the end, Michael does save the child and his mother, and is forgiven by God because Michael “gives him what he needed” as opposed to “what he wanted.” Bold words, you bad-ass, renegade angel, you.
Most of the good parts were shown in the previews, like the ice-cream man or the old devil lady, although she had some pretty choice lines just before she goes all praying mantis on the ceiling (way too R-rated for repetition here). Tyrese Gibson also had some well-delivered one-liners which gave a bit of ‘flavor’ relief to the otherwise drab and painful dialogue. Paul Bettany, while awesome to look at as the brooding, rogue angel, seemed too wooden and uninterested in his role to really make it believable. If he doesn’t believe he’s an angel, how the heck am I going to believe it? And let me not even get into Dennis Quaid’s acting which was more in line with a C-grade movie. He was definitely not as strong as he could have been. His best scene was when he died at the end.
From a plot perspective, I felt that many elements of the script and story were too unconnected. There were far too many holes – like what was the deal with the “instructions,” the tattoos that appeared on Jeep’s body which had previously been on Michael’s? Or who was the child? Or why do the crazies, um I mean angels, stop attacking right after Charlie has the child? Why can’t they attack the child? The list goes on…
There’s one other sliver of light in this whole 100 minute debacle. I will give them props for the two angel fight scenes in the end. They were definitely cool. The spinning thing with Gabriel’s wings blocking oncoming bullets was awesome and the overall special effects here were very well-done. The wings looked realistic…well, except for the flashback heaven scene with Michael and Gabriel where they look like giant pieces of carpet. But except for that, kudos on the wings, especially on the wing flex which looked pretty darn amazing.
Like I said, Legion had potential, but failed miserably on execution. I rate the first forty minutes of Legion a solid 2 out of 5 stars, but 100 minutes all in, probably 1 star.