Wing and a prayer
IF THE US really is as uniformly Christian as editorials in liberal newspapers argue, then Legion would surely have been driven from every cinema in the Union. It’s one thing for Hollyweird stars to parade their atheistic non-beliefs on chat shows; it’s quite another to release a film in which the chief villain is God himself. Yet here it is.
Legion takes place on the eve of a coming Apocalypse. Appalled at some class of worldwide turpitude (the awful decline in horror films, perhaps?), the Big G has, once more, turned to the locusts and the whirlwinds. Happily for humanity, the Archangel Michael, in the wiry form of Paul Bettany, is on hand to resist the nasty old three-personed deity.
As it happens, the religious stuff is skimmed over in perfunctory fashion. For most of its duration, the picture leans towards that blend of western and horror so beloved of John Carpenter. Holed up in a desert diner, Michael and several, archetypically disparate humans, including Dennis Quaid’s crinkly cynic, resist the onslaught of possessed citizens and various supernatural entities.
This part of the film is actually rather good fun. Director Scott Stewart, formerly a special effects man, organises the mayhem with some discipline, and the growing personal tensions develop in impressively organic fashion.
Sadly, it all turns absurdly silly when other archangels turn up. It goes without saying that Legion’s supernatural characters are no closer to their Biblical models than Marvel Comics’ Thor is to the Norse god of thunder. But I refuse to believe that you can defeat an archangel simply by hitting him over the head with biggest iron bar in your toolbox. Aren’t these guys supposed to be God’s superheroes?
Guess who’s coming for dinner