Working as a separate entity within the X-Men universe, Legion is a well written show with some very nice cinematography. Unlike its flashy, loud cousins, Legion is more methodically paced, deliberately hedonistic and at times slightly convoluted. Its not afraid to push the boundaries as displayed in its impressive pilot episode, but for all its confidence, it does feel a little too pretentious at times with the artistic vision sometimes conflicting with the overall story arc.
The story follows David Haller (Dan Stevens) who’s telekinetic powers cause him to be locked up in a mental institution alongside fellow inmate Sydney (Rachel Keller). As the episodes transpire, the situation becomes more complicated and engaging as the characters explore David’s troubled past and dive deep into his mind where they discover a monster lurking, threatening to destroy David. Whilst its beautifully shot and at times breathtakingly framed, there are also times where Legion becomes a little too self indulgent, with a plot that complicates and confused more than it possibly should. Its still an enjoyable watch, but its one that requires full focus at all times in order to follow the story in its entirety. Even then, it can become a little difficult to follow every plot point.
The characters are engaging and well written too, with a solid performance from David and an intriguingly shy yet warm performance from Sydney. The rest of the cast are good but the real focus here is the plot which has plenty of twists and turns throughout. It is a very different experience from the other X-Men related material and for this reason, Legion stands out.
Its worth noting too that the pilot episode is very well constructed and for that alone its worth checking out. With some slick editing and some impressive camera effects throughout, the episode is definitely up there with one of the best pilots of a TV show in a long time. Slow motion effects, clever editing that jumps seamlessly between different periods of time, echoing sound effects and more, Legion is a show that flexes its artistic muscles from start to end. Whilst the rest of the series doesn’t quite hit the same majestic highs of the first episode, its still a decent watch even if it is a little too complicated for its own good.
Overall, Legion is a more artistic interpretation of the superhero genre and for that, its certainly an interesting watch. It doesn’t always hit the mark, with a few episodes a little too convoluted and there are times where the show drags a little but on the whole, Legion is a fascinating watch. Its competently written, has some great characters and its pilot episode is one of the best in recent memory. For all the positives, it does feel unnecessarily complicated at times and for all the great cinematography, it feels overdone, a little self indulgent and pretentious as it artistically shows off a number of different tricks through the episodes. The artistic vision does sometimes conflict with the story but Legion definitely stands out as one of the better shows to emerge this year and is absolutely worth a watch.