TV Review: “Legion” Season 1 – What A Marvel

Written by Danielle Sing May 11, 2017

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Marvel is dominating Netflix and the box office, and with the Cloak & Dagger TV series slated to premier in 2018, it’s time we look at the Marvel series you probably didn’t even know was Marvel. Maybe it’s too weird, confusing, or has no connection to other Marvel series or films, seemingly. But Legion is one of the best Marvel series. Moving past the insanity of first three episodes, you’ll see Legion for its brilliant writing, stunning visuals and well-rounded characters.

Living in a psychiatric hospital to an unknown government division, David Haller (Dan Stevens) receives interrogation about his past with schizophrenia. He speaks about his relationship with another patient, Syd Barrett (Rachel Keller), who refuses physical contact. David’s entire world changes as nearly everyone in the hospital, including his friend Lenny Busker (Aubrey Plaza) is killed. David tries to convince the government officials that these events are true when Syd, along with Ptonomy Wallace (Jeremie Harris) and Kerry Loudermilk (Amber Midthunder), rescue him to take him to Melanie Bird’s (Jean Smart) safe space for people like them – mutants.

“All I’m saying is, what if your problems aren’t in your head. What if they aren’t even problems?”

To be honest, I almost stopped watching Legion after the first three episodes. It’s so chaotic. The timeline is absurdly non-linear, and you have no idea how you are in the sixties but also in modern times. But trust in Noah Hawley, Legion creator and writer for the Fargo TV series. If you continue watching, everything starts to make sense, as if you’re putting together a million piece jigsaw puzzle. David narrates the series, and in the first few episodes, he’s still struggling with medication and schizophrenia. It becomes understandable that the plot is chaotic and non-linear. David is the unreliable narrator. But as David finds clarity and truth, the plot becomes straightforward. It may seem confusing and off-putting at first, but it’s really a small piece of brilliant writing. But you need to watch the entire series to get the full effect.

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Legion’s visuals are quite beautiful, whether it be special effects, set & costume design, use of colour, or cinematography. SFX stand-outs include any slow-mo sequences (specifically the climax of episode one) or David’s visit to the astral plane. The set & costume design go hand in hand with the use of colour. The minimalist sets contrast with the loud colours used in costumes and lighting, leaving a visually appealing balance. The cinematography fits the narration as a tool to show chaos or calm. To distract and redirect our attention, or just to play with our perceptions entirely. In general, it’s just good camera work.

“So much power. It wears a human face. Be careful, he wears a human face.”

Legion is a Marvel title, but it’s a wholly original series. The storyline doesn’t come from any comic and all but two characters are original. This is why it doesn’t fit into any other Marvel property. There’s the occasional “easter egg”, such as David’s biological father being bald (in the comics, his father is Professor X), but nothing significant. But the characters Hawley creates for Legion feel as if they could be from the comics, and that’s a sign of a good original series with source material. Each character, even secondary and minor, is given time to develop and show who they really are. Thankfully, this never distracts from the main plot.

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While the first few episodes are off-putting and confusing, if you can get past that you will see the brilliant writing, stunning visuals, and excellent character development of Legion. Also, you should just watch for Aubrey Plaza, she steals the show with some of her best acting to date.

My Rating: 9/10

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