'The Old Guard' Review: 'Black Widow' and 'Wonder Woman 84' now have a new challenge to live up to
If it wasn't for the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, 2020 would have been the year of badass female superhero films. Unfortunately, we haven't had a single major comic book movie since 'Birds of Prey' came out in January (no, we're not counting 'Bloodshot').
But fear not, because Netflix's 'The Old Guard' is here now to end the drought with a bang. The Gina Prince-Bythewood movie is groundbreaking on so many levels, some of which are actually quite surprising when you think about it.
For one thing, this is the first superhero film to have a black woman in the director's chair, which is shocking considering how both Marvel and DC films have pushed for representation in all aspects of production. Secondly, this is one of the very, very few superhero films that actually sticks to the plot of its source material, for the most part at least. That's probably because the screenplay was written by Greg Rucka, the writer behind the original graphic novel, but it's still a refreshing change.
Part of the reason why the movie didn't feel the need to change the source material much (besides the fact that it is excellent and doesn't need changing) might be because 'The Old Guard' isn't as universally known as something like 'Batman' or 'Spider-Man'. For many, this is the first time they're encountering these characters and boy, are they in for a treat.
'The Old Guard' hits every beat perfectly, with great direction, great acting, and a beautiful soundtrack. Charlize Theron dazzles as the ancient immortal warrior Andy and KiKi Layne is a revelation in the role of Nile Freeman. Actually, all the actors put on a great performance and we have to give a special mention to Matthias Schoenaerts for his outstanding work in the role of Booker, one of Andy's old comrades. Luca Marinelli's Nicky and Marwan Kenzari as Joe are also an amazing duo with excellent chemistry.
In fact, to name all the good performances in the movie we would have to go through the whole cast list. So we're just going to stop there and take a moment to talk about what this movie might mean for the superhero film genre.
So far, the genre has been dominated by Marvel and DC projects, Valiant Entertainment's exceedingly valiant attempt with 'Bloodshot' notwithstanding. But now, that Image Comics graphic novel has entered the arena with the promise of a franchise and the game is about to change.
We were expecting 2020 to be a competition between Marvel's 'Black Widow' and DC's 'Wonder Woman 1984'. Now there is another contender in the ring and there's a very good chance she could become the biggest, most badass female superhero of the year. And we couldn't be happier.
'The Old Guard' releases on Netflix on July 10.