WHO IS DAVID? No, really tell me. Who is David? Where did he come from?
Who are his parents? Is he crazy? Is he real? What is real?
For weeks now, I’ve been watching FX’s newest series Legion. Initially, I had no clue this series was tied to the X-Men franchise. I felt pretty stupid honestly; the X was right there in the title! I was raised on Marvel and DC Saturday morning cartoons, each and every Saturday was an excuse for me to spend time with my brothers. Sure they were much older and always chose the shows we would watch, but I grew to love superheroes. Batman the animated series is still one of my most beloved childhood favorites.
For me, despite it being a cartoon, Batman the Animated Series is my go to when examining a superhero show. Is there good action? Is the banter witty with just a hint of camp? Most importantly, is there a story, are there risks and consequences for our hero? Is he or she flawed with room to grow?
No one wants to watch a show about a perfect superhero. This is why Smallville took place during Clark’s high school years. This was before he was Superman. This gave him time to make mistakes but also learn from them. If one to watch a Superman series after he became the legend, the epitome of all these goods are right, there wouldn’t be much reason to watch after awhile. It would get stale seeing the perfect being be idealistic all the time. This is why we gravitate towards flawed heroes, we can relate to them. This is why shows like Jessica Jones and Green Arrow have such a strong fan base. This is also why shows like Iron Fist struggle…
We need a hero we can root for. With Legion, we get a hero we can sympathize and feel for with David. He’s a mess, struggling to understand if he’s really disturbed or something beyond rationality. Is he a schizophrenic man or is he a powerful mutant? Can he be both?
All season David has tried to make sense of his life, his memories, himself. This has lead him to question his relationship with his family, his friends, and his own girlfriend. Who can he trust now?
Legion is great at shrouding mystery in a beautifully wrapped package. Often it experiments with color and sound. The way the film is edited can be disorienting, giving us the feeling of anxiety and chaos that David is dealing with. It’s fast and loud. The action sequences reminded me of the recent Hardcore Henry movie that came out. It has a strong first person video game feel to it. This can come off gimmicky at times, but mostly it works with this genre.
The costuming and sets further work to make Legion an intriguing spectacle. For a good while I could not figure out the time period, this was due to the classic 70’s sci-fi setting within the show. The color pallet and the style can cause confusion, but it’s probably just used to further confuse the viewer’s ability to distinguish between reality and false memories. It works incredibly well with the institution setting.
Aside from David, the supporting cast are fairly interesting as well. Whether it is the mysterious yellow eyed man, his untouchable girlfriend Mel, or any of the other mutants, their backstories are just as curious as David’s foggy past.
Tonight is the finale for Legion’s first season, the question is: Will David be a tool for good or for evil? Will his powers destroy him and everything he loves or can he learn to control it?
8 out of 10 just tell me David is Professor X jr. already.