‘The Old Guard’ (Review): The Dark Side of Being Deathless

‘The Old Guard’ (Review): The Dark Side of Being Deathless

This Netflix adaptation of the Greg Rucka comic book is impressively directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood with some thought-provoking outlook on the lives of fictional superheroes. Led by the character of Charlize Theron, this new superhero team has a lot to share that goes beyond a usual comic book fare. 

‘The Old Guard’ is indeed an action ride but then we have enough drama and few appealing characters, especially Theron’s Andy that is more human than any ultra-human individual, who is destined to never die. The portrayal of immortal warriors, fighting through centuries with a purpose and that too for humanity is indeed great. In doing so, certainly, they pay a huge price with their sacrifices, pain, and sufferings for a larger cause.

As published earlier, ‘The Old Guard’ is based on a graphic novel from author Greg Rucka and artist Leandro Fernandez. The story follows a team of immortal warriors who have secretly protected mortals since ages, fighting in wars and conflicts, but they have been targeted for their mysterious power to heal themselves, and now fighting to protect their identity and freedom.

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They are immortals, they have a purpose, but that has a price 

We have watched quite a few female-centric films in the recent past, however, in terms of superhero films, ‘The Old Guard’ has two interesting characters, Charlize Theron, as Andy and KiKi Layne as Nile, and both have justified their parts. Thearon is incredible as always with similar strong-headed character as in Mad Max: Fury Road or Atomic Blonde, in which we see her bearing emotional scars for centuries. Yes, multiple lifetimes, living through centuries, ask for a huge psychological cost, with the constant pain of losing loved ones.

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KiKi Layne as Nile, on the other hand, is an amazing addition to the superheroes we already have in the cinematic universe. Nile is young, volatile, yet has the superhuman like characteristics with a sense of sacrifice and compassion for fellow human beings. Is not this something we need in the present time, more than ever, as we battle several global crises? Like Andy – the oldest in the gang, Nile has the same purpose to fight for what is right, and effectively live and fight forever.      

‘The Old Guard’ very swiftly takes the story forwards, keeping everything simple and grounded. The question of immortality is there, and in the modern medical science context, it is coming back now and then with an effort to find a cure for many diseases. However, from the philosophical sides, there is indeed a price we pay for something that great we ask for.

In the film also, we see a character named Quynh who is locked inside an armor and then thrown to the sea to suffer for centuries, suggesting to a punishment worse than death. We are yet to learn more about the character, probably in a sequel to ‘The Old Guard.’  

It is indeed a story of immortals, at the same time, it is also the fact that these immortals are not always deathless, as several of them have died in the past, and they can also die. The film is a complete package of entertainment, and if there is anything lacks then it is the absence of a strong antagonist character. Hopefully, we will see one in a sequel, as ‘The Old Guard’ is just the beginning of a much engaging franchise.

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‘The Old Guard’ is now streaming on Netflix

Another plus point is the soundtrack of the film. Starting from Madalen Duke’s ‘Born Alone to Die Alone’ to ‘Going Down Fighting’ by Andrea Wasse x Phlotilla, to  Elle King’s ‘Baby Outlaw’, the soundtrack of ‘The Old Guard’ is simply amazing. These tracks are carefully chosen and naturally go well with the characters and narration.

All in all, ‘The Old Guard’ the old guard feels different from any other superhero film, and Gina Prince-Bythewood has done an amazing job in bringing together the band of immortal soldiers living through centuries and fighting for humanity.

This post is written, edited and published by the Cinecelluloid staff.

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