I love apocalyptic thrillers, I love movies that take a look at Biblical characters, and I love a lot of things about movies that challenge one’s spirituality. So I was actually looking forward to what I had seen in the previews and early trailers of the new movie Legion. There was something unsettling about the concept, though. Legion appeared to be a movie displaying a civil war in heaven among the angels of God. It appeared to be a movie displaying a civil war due to God’s desire to destroy all of humanity. In some ways that is what the movie is, but instead of a civil war it is one angel’s rebellion against God, the rebellion of Archangel Michael who arrives to Earth shortly before God is to destroy it. Along the way, though, out in the desert is a little bar named Paradise Falls where a group of interesting characters are about to face their own impending doom.
Paradise Falls has a strange group of employees and restaurant patrons from various backgrounds and walks of life. From owner Bob Hanson, played by Dennis Quaid, to his son Jeep (played by Lucas Black) who has a passion for 8-month pregnant waitress Charlie (played by Adrianne Palicki) and others such as Percy Walker (played by Charles Dutton). We see a variety of characters that seem to have some promise. Some of the characters are somewhat likeable, yet we know so little of any of them that it is hard for the viewer to really care. Their experiences are varied, but so little character development takes place that what we do see may cause some to lose any interest in the characters of develop any likability for them.
Legion opens with the arrival of Archangel Michael as he leaves Heaven, rebelling against God, to come to Earth to protect humanity for some reason, which we are never given real clarity on. In his early arrival, we see the possession of two police officers, apparently by other angels who have come to act on God’s plan to destroy the earth. Shortly thereafter the angel Gabriel arrives and attempts to kill Michael, but Michael escapes to travel to Paradise Falls where for some reason there is the need to save the child which is to be born to Charlie. For the rest of the movie Michael is working with the humans at Paradise Falls in an attempt to save Charlie and her soon-to-be-born baby from Gabriel and the multitudes of angels that travel with him to carry on God’s work. Some angels maintain their angelic form, while others possess people, those that possess people take on horrific forms to destroy them.
Legion develops with sloppy editing and storytelling, and as confusing a plot and concept as I have seen in a major film in some time. It is all as sloppy and insulting to the audience as any movie I think I have ever seen. There are so many unanswered questions that I frankly can’t put together much of a story synopsis that makes any sense at all. How is it that one angel can supposedly defend and protect himself against the whole host of angels including the Angel Gabriel and multitudes of other angels that are attempting to fulfill the desire of God? Why do some angels possess people and some don’t? Then, for me, the primary question: If God exists as the film presumes he does, why does he need the angels to carry out his desire to destroy the earth? If one angel rebels against God, isn’t God capable and able to take care of his own business? While there may be some imagery that represents Satan, remember, in the story of Lucifer, there were multitudes of angels; the Bible says as many as 1/3 of the angels of Heaven went with him. Poor ol’ Michael goes at it all alone.
For all of Legion’s inadequacies, the use of biblical characters should have one presenting some interest to see what the Bible actually says about angels, especially Michael and Gabriel. Both of those angels are represented in the Bible, and God’s desire to destroy humanity (at one point in history) is there; but it isn’t this story. In fact, this story is a contrast to the God we ultimately see in the Bible, a God that loves humanity so much that he found a way to provide salvation for them.
Legion should cause one to reflect on the position that God, at one time, according to the Bible, wanted to destroy all of humanity because of their turning away from him; but while it appears to mirror parts of that story, it never delivers. A fair question would be: If God did this once, why wouldn’t he do it again, especially if we are to believe the street preachers and prophets? One of the confusing aspects in Legion is that even though there appears to be some good people left, people who believe in God, are willing to serve and protect others, God still desires to use his angels to destroy the whole of humanity, which (according to the movie) he created to be in a higher place than the angels.
The main thing I liked about Legion was the potential for what it could have been in the characters it explores. There are as many interesting characters as I have seen in a movie for a long time, from a little old lady who cusses like a sailor prior to turning into a demon to destroy an innocent for confronting her about her mouth, to a old salty cook who has as deep a passion and love for God as anyone presented in a movie in some time. Unfortunately, there are far too many open-ended questions allowing for a sequel that frankly insult the intelligence of the moviegoing audience. I don’t have a problem with sequels; Resident Evil, for example, did the same thing, but it respected the audience it played for. But Legion is so bad that I would like a refund for the $7 I spent for a matinee. Heck, I would feel ripped off if I had spent $1 at the Red Box DVD rental store on this one. If using a Netflix account to watch the free online viewing I would be disappointed for the waste of time as I could have found more value in taking a nap.
Now, for those who read my reviews, you know I am seldom this negative. I could talk about how the film insulted my faith, but I don’t need to. On the technical merits alone I believe Legion was a waste of time. It simply didn’t hold water within even its own variations of biblical characters and the role of God. While there may be some ways to view the movie as presenting ultimately a changing, or loving God, while the movie may show glimmers of possibility, it just doesn’t deliver on hardly any account.
I haven’t given this bad of a review in a long time, but I can’t help it; on a scale of 1 – 10, for the 3 folks who totally agreed with me whom I spoke to as I left the movie, I give a very disappointing 3.
This review, and the trailer to Legion can be seen by clicking here.