The Old Guard (2020) – Forever and a day
Bonjour and hello, long time, no see and no written material here. Well, I finally decide to rise myself from the comfort of my sofa, shed the what ifs and fears and return to my trusty keyboard in order to sum up my thoughts about The Old Guard, the new Netflix flick to hit our TV screens this week.
The Old Guard is based on a series of comic books and if there’s such a thing as luck and right numbers, if this first movie works in terms of viewings and finding a fanbase, we might get some new entries in this burgeoning franchise.
For some of you of a certain age and/or knowledge of pop culture old movies and TV shows, this movie (comics) has a strong Highlander vibe – you know, there can be only one, the Gathering of Immortals, sword fights and epic use of trench-coats. The Old Guard focuses on a group of four (plus a newb) immortals who are lending their fighting skills in a mercenary kind of a way (spoilers, later on, we realize there’s more rhyme and reason to the choice of fights they pick).
What I totally loved from the first moments was the camaraderie between these four old souls. They’re like the dysfunctional family you love and want to be part of.
What I hatted with a passion was the main villain played by once upon a time Dudley Dursley, Harry Melling. I haven’t read the comics on which this movie is based upon in order to give my full five cents about this character but there’s much more compelling action and fleshing of AnaMaria Marinca’s Dr. Kozak and the evil henchman, Keane (Joey Ansah) than with this mockery of pharmaceutical new rising star, Merrick – I’m not even sure if he has a medical degree, he comes like a wannabe Elon Musk type of guy and boy, the acting Melling delivers is horrible.
Some have felt Chiwetel Ejiofor is underused as Copley, I feel his part was to grow as the soon to be Fury like figure with less autonomy than the bad-ass MCU counterpart. And if you stick up to the very end, Copley ends up having a big role in the lives of our heroes. Thus in short and with a cute bow on it, I am one of those who enjoyed this character and how he was delivered and I am waiting for the next chapter.
I loved the chemistry between Theron and Kiki Layne who plays Nile, the new immortal addition to the family. Nile’s journey from newb to full member of the Gang is endearing, strong and heartfelt. Yes, we have the good old trope of teacher and student but when it’s delivered like it was in this movie, I want more.
Andy, as the eldest member of the Gang likes to be called,might feel like a cross between Xena and Highlander’s Methos at times but Charlize Theron knows how to flesh out the character and you end up on board with Andy’s painful journey of having had enough of humanity always pissing their chances away, having enough of the pain, enough of the dying, enough of losing those she loves, enough of fearing losing those she loves, enough of the penance of knowing she couldn’t help the ones she loved. The sub-plot of Andy and Quynh is heartfelt and tragic, offering the opening for the sequel.
I love moments like this in movies and TV shows, the way the actresses – Theron and Van Veronica Ngo’s Quynh – inhabit their character, the small gestures, the small smiles. Sometimes less is more and for me, it was just right. It spoke of a bond that transcended centuries and again, as one Claudia of IWRV once said, I want more.
The Old Gang family has blessed us with what the Internet has dubbed #ImmortalHusbands aka Joe (Marwan Kenzari) and Nicolas aka Nicky (Luca Marinelli). These two are precious and we must protect them at all costs. It’s very rare to get two characters, two men given a script in which they are this perfect, precious couple and the acting and the gestures are not over the top or simplified in order to bait the audience. The way the two look at each other, the way Joe swinks at Nicky when they speak, the way they reach for each other when they wake up from death’s grip and realize they haven’t died, checking to see if their loved one isn’t injured, the sass and familiar banter. Last night, these two have made their way into my all time favorite couples. There’s Hannigram, IneffableHusbands and now Joe and Nicky, ImmortalHusbands.
And there’s two epic scenes:
You’re a child. An infant. Your mocking is thus infantile. He’s not my boyfriend. This man is more to me than you can dream. He’s the moon when I’m lost in darkness and warmth when I shiver in cold. And his kiss still thrills me even after millennia. His heart overflows with the kindness of which this world is not worthy of. I love this man beyond measure and reason. He’s not my boyfriend. He’s all and he’s more.
This one is one is one of the most passionate scenes ever to hit the screen. And we had to wait until 2020 for a blockbuster to have the balls to show two men in love and an immortal romance of more than 900 years normalized and acted so effortlessly. Disney+ promises the Gaston and Le Fou series sensing they can capitalize, maybe, on the homerotic inuendoes of the two but The Old Gang flipped the bird at innuendos and went big, went as it should have and gave us one of the strongest couple on screen. Netflix, I say to you, give me more of Joe and Nicky, give me more on Andy and Quynh because I sense there’s so much untold history that needs to be exposed.
Also, give me more of Booker if you can. Yes, I left this immortal for last because up until the last half of the movie, I wasn’t very invested with
Matthias Schoenaerts, Napoleonic soldier but in come the last minutes of the movie and yes, in come the ImmortalHusbands and their adopted daughter, Nile, and that sort of an end credit scene. Yes, I’m a sucker for things to come and if they don’t come, there’s always AO3, the place where our tears and misery meet the well rounded fanfiction put together by fellow fans, where impossible couples live, were canon death is annulled and AUs live to make us smile. Yes, I ended up liking, Booker as well because families have their ups and downs, their betrayals and homecomings and this movie strongly got on board on what family is and means for all of these characters.
For some, this movie might not be what they have hoped for.
For others, it was everything they had hoped for when they opened Netflix on a Friday night and became engaged with this story.
Gina Prince-Bythewood, I want to see more from you.
You can watch The Old Gang here: