Legion(2010) – Scott Stewart

More heavenly trouble arises in the next title up in DK Canada’s oh so enjoyable, Monsters in the Movies. This time, hell comes to Earth, as an apocalypse is brought about by a war within the ranks of god’s army over the fate of humanity.

That just gets my mind churning, so allow me this tangent for a moment. The god in this film is very much the one depicted in the Old Testament, jealous, spiteful, very much not in keeping with their New Testament makeover. And the concept of an army of angels is not a new one, the early depictions of angels suggested they were not pleasant beings to encounter.

And god had an army of them. Why? That suggests they needed some kind of peace keeping force, or an offensive/defensive weapon in some kind of continuing battle.

Sure, you could suggest the devil. But they were, according to myth, a fallen archangel, and couldn’t be more powerful than their creator – especially if everything they did was done in accordance with god’s ultimate plan.

So… why the army? And less this divinity wasn’t as all-powerful and omniscient as their press would suggest…

These are the thoughts that started circulating in my brain as I settled in for a film that plays like a cross between Maximum Overdrive and The Prophecy.

Paul Bettany stars as the angel Micheal, who comes to Earth in violation of his orders, to lend a hand to humanity to in the coming war (which went on to inspire the television series, Dominion, which was set twenty-five years after the film’s events, and ran for two seasons).

At a remote, desert bound service stop, a group of strangers gather, and are trapped, by what is coming. An army of angel-possessed humanity is closing on them, and one specific target amongst them the pregnant Charlie (Adrianne Palicki) whose child may restore the hope of humanity and their creator. Something the divinity has given up on, along with the human race. Last time that happened they sent the Great Flood, this time…

With an instantly recognisable cast joining Bettany and Palicki, Dennis Quaid, Lucas Black, Willa Holland, Charles S. Dutton, Kevin Durand and Doug Jones(!) this one had lots working for it, but just never found its audience. The story is interesting enough, but I think it would have worked so much better as a television series, which apparently it did (I never saw it), as there is so much mythology and world building that could be done.

Everyone in the film wants it to work, and there is some really great moments in it, but Legion never seems to find its footing, and consequently stumbled at the theatre and on home video.

Still, I tend to enjoy films that explore, and play with religious mythology and iconography, and while not completely captivating, this one had some fun ideas that were definitely worth exploring, had the film taken its time.

I can’t wait to see what else DK Books’ Monsters in the Movies has in store for me. Pick up a copy for yourself, and find something monstrous to watch tonight!

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