Let’s face it, whilst the X-Men movie franchise has made a fair chunk of money, the films have been….inconsistent in quality. I’ve made my thoughts on how the films should have been done very clear already on this site so I won’t bore you with my disappointment again. We come now however to a place where we can finally take in a huge breath of clean, unpolluted mutant goodness. Legion is part of our lives now.
There will be minor SPOILERS below but I’m not going to ruin the show for you!
This is not a show for everyone. It has very dark themes running throughout, very powerful visuals and some of the scenes will stick with you for a while. I’m trying to think of a TV show to compare with Legion in order to give you an idea of what to expect, but the only thing I can think of is Twin Peaks. If you like strange, slowly unfolding stories, ending each episode with more questions than when you went in but still feeling satisfied with what you have watched, then you will adore this show. You definitely have to pay attention to each episode. You cannot just have this on in the background, you are more than likely to miss some hint at what is to come, or a single line of dialog that explains a whole bunch of trippy stuff if you aren’t glued to the screen! I had to re-watch certain parts a couple of times to fully understand them!
To summarise the show briefly, it’s centred around a man called David Haller (Dan Stevens) who has been told his whole life that he is mentally ill. We first meet him while he is resident in a Mental Health Facility where he appears to be relatively coherent. Things get turned on their head when a new patient arrives, Syd (Rachel Keller), long story short the pair fall in love. It turns out that Syd is part of a group of Mutants who rescue David from the facility and the clutches of the government ‘Divisions’ who seek to use him or destroy him. David learns that he is possibly the most powerful mutant on the planet, the problem is he doesn’t know what his powers are, let alone how to control them.
The first half of the season deals with David and Syd’s developing relationship and David discovering his abilities. We get an insight into his dark past where we learn that there is a dark force at work and has been manipulating him his whole life. His mind is a weapon of mass destruction and in the wrong hands could destroy the world. The Second half sees David begin to fight against his demons, physically and mentally and the rest of his new friends basically try to keep him alive. I won’t say much more about the plot as it would spoil what has been a fantastic show. It needs to be experienced to be fully understood but I will give you some of my thoughts as the show progressed.
Unless you recognise some of the names and visual references (a window with an ‘X’ in it for example) you wouldn’t know this was based on a X-Men property. There are more references later on in the season and one particular character that is very prominent in show that any X-men comics fan should have been rejoicing over and a tease of another well known character for the future. The show is amazing without these references. I’m pretty sure the showrunners have confirmed that it is set in its own universe with no real links to anything we have seen before which could explain the strange and inconsistent time setting (although the tease of a character to come makes me think it is going to be linked in some way).
Even the way the show visualises the various powers is brilliant. There’s no huge fireball throwing or laser vision, instead it’s a lot more subtle but in some ways more realistic. David’s powers are all mental based and he has a wide variety of abilities, more of which will appear in season 2. There’s a character who can travel into people’s memories, two people who live in the same body and a body swapper. Very little of the show is spent in the real world in fact as we are inside David’s mind a lot of the time in various places and times trying to learn about this character. It is literally ‘mind-boggling’ (excuse the pun) how this show was written and filmed. I couldn’t even begin to think of how some of the shots were put together! If you take nothing else away from this review, apart from my very obvious love for the show, it’s that it looks unbelievable, just stunning.
The cast is incredible too. Dan Stevens is great as the unhinged David, he even gets to use his British accent at one point too! Rachel Keller is a great on screen partner to Stevens, although I was never really sure what Syd was thinking or what her motivations were. I loved the performance but she was at times a little devoid of emotion. Aubrey Plaza was astounding. Her appearance starts out very similar to most of the characters she plays but she evolves into……..something else. I can’t really say too much without giving things away but let;s just say I have never seen a performance from her like this and it was brilliant!
The only things I didn’t really like were the performances of Jermaine Clement and Jean Smart. Their arc seemed a bit hollow and didn’t really resolve itself in anyway. I’m sure this will be built on next season but whenever these two were centre screen I started to lose interest. To this day I still can’t work out what Smart’s power was!
Before my excitement gets the better of me (any more than it already has) I’m going to sign off. Before I go please accept this piece of advice; If you don’t like the first episode, stick with it, it is only 8 episodes and I promise you won’t be disappointed. If you’re confused most of the time that means the show is doing its job. Just a quick note as well, if you’re squeamish you might want to avoid this show, there are a few moments which might shock but there are so many payoffs throughout the season and will definitely leave you thirsty for more.
I’m going to give Legion 9 of 10. It doesn’t get full marks only because I wanted more answers and less questions and some of the supporting case were a bit average. If you haven’t already, go check this show out now! Binge it if you have to, it will be worth it!
What did you think of Legion? Let us know in the comments below.