I came out of Legion with a smile on my face for all the wrong reasons. Presented with a final act that, through its sheer abominable poorness, somehow managed to make the first hour of this film seem almost passable, I could not help but laugh. I forgot (briefly) about the slovenly pacing, the rushed editing and the stale characters and embraced a finale as filled with holes as the film’s main set: an old diner in New Mexico.
Legion’s problems are too many to list here (some would say they are, in fact, legion), and frankly I’d rather not relive them at any length. Suffice it to say that Paul Bettany (whose natural charisma threatens to come through at times but is reined in by the script) is in the wrong film. His character Michael, an archangel disobeying God’s orders to eradicate mankind, finds himself surrounded by a cast of forgettable, one-note characters that the script does not know how to handle. Should we laugh or cry at these people? The script gives us so little chance to do either that the most common reaction will be yawns.
For a film that, at the very least, had ‘B-movie fun’ written all over it (angels with guns!) this is an experience painfully bereft of enjoyment. It is never scary, tense or exhilarating and never gets close. The aforementioned third act closes the whole thing in a blaze of frankly shoddy filmmaking with possibly the worst lines of dialogue you’ll hear all year (just wait for the car crash).
If it wasn’t taking itself so bloody seriously one could at least laugh with it, but as it stands Legion is a film that one can’t help but laugh at. As our heroine aptly surmises when recalling her mother’s words about why God is so angry with humanity: he’s simply “tired of all the bullshit”. One empathises.