The Old Guard
With the likes of Wonder Woman 1984 and Black Widow being delayed due to the current global situation, there is a noticeable lack of big-budget superhero blockbusters to keep us entertained this summer. With Netflix releasing The Old Guard (based on the graphic novel of the same name by Greg Rucka and Leandro Fernández), we could finally have our comic book movie fix. But this is not the film to do that.
Starring Charlize Theron alongside Matthias Schoenaerts, Marwan Kenzari, Luca Marinelli and If Beale Street Could Talk’s Kiki Layne as a team of immortal mercenaries fighting for what they believe is right, this film had everything it needed to be an enjoyably silly, action-heavy outing. Disappointingly though, it falls victim to the same fatal flaws that led to the downfall of the likes of Batman v Superman, Justice League and Suicide Squad (though it isn’t quite as awful as the latter). Specifically, it tries too hard to set up more sequels that it forgets to be its own film. Add in yet another forgettable and blasé villain in the form of Harry Melling’s Merrick (the head of a cruel corporation more interested in profit than morality) and a script that goes on for half an hour longer than it needs to, and the result is rather unspectacular.
There is some good to be found here amongst the mediocrity, though. The entire cast does a commendable job with the material they’re given. Watching the main heroes interact with each other are some of the best moments in the film. Likewise, director Gina Prince-Bythewood handles the action scenes with remarkable skill, keeping everything fast and fluid while remaining in the frame. The main issue is that everything feels like it’s had its edges rounded out; there’s no sense of weight behind anything that happens on screen when there really should be.
The Old Guard is by no means the worst comic book film ever made, but it’s far from being a particularly good one either. Its fast-paced action carried by a talented cast may see you to the end of its overly long runtime, but with the action’s limited impact and without a unique identity of its own, this film isn’t quite able to rise to its potential. Hopefully, Netflix will be able to scratch our superhero itch with the second season of The Umbrella Academy.
The Old Guard is released digitally on demand on 10th July 2020.
Watch the trailer for The Old Guard here: