Wild, Weird ‘Legion’ cuts loose
This has got to be Marvel’s most visually daring project yet—but the Fox series “Legion,” about a powerful young man thrust into a chaotic world of warring mutants, still manages to intrigue with its bizarre reimagination of less popular figures in the X-Men’s comic book universe.
The second season is even more trippy than its initial one, a veritable feast for the eyes and mind—the floodgates have burst open, transmitting hallucinatory and abstract imagery that no other Marvel show or film has actually dared to offer before. But, that doesn’t always translate to good storytelling.
If anything, this unleashed, “anything goes” quality can muddle things up, and can divert from the “real” scenarios, where things move forward considerably more clearly.
But, as a whole, the sci-fi series is undeniably entertaining, especially if one has gotten past the show’s quirky and often-pretentious storytelling.
The stakes are higher this time. David Haller (Dan Stevens), aka Legion, is back and searching for the destructive telepathic mutant, Shadow King, who has fled by possessing one of David’s allies, Oliver Bird (Jemaine Clement). Now out in the open after years of secretly plaguing David, the villain is plotting something grand and dastardly, and it’s up to a coalition of government forces and mutant freedom fighters to end the parasitic being’s threat.
During the mission, however, David encounters a future version of his mutant companion Sydney Barrett (Rachel Keller) and eventually meets his old astral tormentor, Lenny Busker (Aubrey Plaza), in the flesh, with a new body.
The Shadow King, whose original human form and identity are revealed this season, is made differently dangerous by actor Navid Neghaban. The cryptic antagonist, Amahl Farouk, is X-Men founder Professor X’s old archfoe, posing a menace that becomes one of the reasons for the formation of the superhero team.
David, who is clueless that his biological father is Professor X, is extraordinarily powerful but hobbled by multiple personalities in the comics. That’s retooled here, and it works well. While he’s a more centered character with mental issues, he still has awesome mind powers, often traversing dreamlike scenarios.
In any case, the deliberately weird and wild visuals are very comics-like, though the conflicts don’t involve spandex-clad heroes. From female-looking androids sporting Sonny Bono bowl cuts and facial hair, to a CGI mouse lipsynching Bryan Ferry’s “Slave to Love,” the seemingly nonsensical but mind-bending second season of “Legion” is utterly bonkers.
It’s a more distinguishable good-versus-evil saga, wrapped gleefully in phantasmagoric trappings.
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