In 2017, Greg Rucka and Leandro Fernandez created the comic book series, The Old Guard.
For fans who love superhero comics, there is a little of that genre here, but these are not superheroes. These are immortals that have walked the Earth for centuries and have possibly finally met their match.
Now, The Old Guard is on Netflix as a fantasy action movie adaptation and delivers in spades. Here is a look at our review of The Old Guard on Netflix.
The Old Guard review
Rucka and Fernandez created a comic book series that was a lot more than just seeing immortal warriors fighting bad guys. This was a series that saw the immortals saving people, yet wondering if what they were doing really mattered in the end.
More than that, it showed what being immortal did to someone’s soul. When it is time to give up? When is enough, enough?
The Netflix movie does a great job of delivering that message as well. What makes it even more impressive is that it does it with familiar tropes from the action movie genre, but also tweaks those tropes so what happens still surprises fans of the genre.
Charlize Theron is Andy, the oldest immortal on the team, and possibly the first in history. The Netflix series never reveals how old she is, or how long she has been around, but the comics show that she was from Greece, around the fourth century.
She has been fighting her entire life, first with an original partner and then later with her current team. This includes Joe (Marwan Kenzari) and Nicky (Luca Marinelli), warriors who fought on opposite sides of the Crusades but are now fierce lovers. The fourth team member is Booker (Matthias Schoenaerts), who joined up during the Napoleonic Wars.
When the movie starts, the team is brought back together by a man named Copley (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a former CIA agent who sends them to save a group of kidnapped children. However, it was a trap, and the team walks right into it and are gunned down immediately.
This is where we learn their powers. They have no powers, but they are immortal and cannot die. When they come back to life, they kill every mercenary sent to kill them and escape. There are two problems. The first is that someone wants them, and they are not the hunted.
The second problem is that at the moment they are betrayed, the first new immortal in 200 years is created.
This is a young United States Marine named Nile Freeman (KiKi Layne). She dies when she shoots a terrorist, and he slices her throat. However, she returns and has no idea why. Andy and the rest of the Old Guard have visions of this, and Andy goes to get her while the rest of the team searches for Copley to get some good old fashioned revenge.
The rest of the movie moves between the team bringing in Nile, who is rightfully freaked out, and trying to find out who Copley is working with.
Over years of fighting terrorists and other evil power brokers, the Old Guard might have met its match with a businessman, a pharma boss named Merrick (Harry Melling), who wants to profit off the immortals and will go to any length to get what he wants.
The Old Guard has everything that action fans could want, with shootouts, hand-to-hand combat, and explosions. It looks gorgeous and would have been amazing on the big screen if theaters were open right now. However, it still looks fantastic on the small screen, thanks to Netflix.
Gina Prince-Bythewood is the director, and she has proven her storytelling skills before with movies like The Secret Life of Bees. Here, she takes the action genre, and gives fans what they want, but is smart enough to set it up intelligently and creatively where people know what to expect but get it in very refreshing ways.
There are a lot of superhero movies today, and this stands alongside any of them when it comes to action. It is also just as action-packed as most action movies. However, this film has heart, and it is just as much about the oldest of them all, Andy, learning what it is like to be human again, as it is about Nile learning what it is like to be immortal.
This is a movie with explosions, but at its soul, its about people. It delivers on both fronts.
For fans of the comics, it seemed that The Old Guard could have been great for a movie, but there were concerns about how the film could tell the story that Rucka and Fernandez did on comic panels.
There is a scene with Nile and Andy talking by a car pulled almost directly out of the comics when it comes to composition. It was a small scene in the comics that delivered a lot of information, and it provided the same thing in the movie, and as with the rest of the film, the cast and direction never once made it feel boring or contrived.
This is because Rucka wrote the script, and he made sure to remain as faithful as he could to the ideals and beliefs he put into his original story while offering up anything a fan could want when choosing a movie to watch on a Friday night.
The Old Guard on Netflix: Final Thoughts
The cast of The Old Guard delivered in spades in this action movie. While the action is top-notch and will leave most Netflix viewers satisfied, the story is what will stick with those looking for something deeper than gunfights and explosions.
This is a movie that should have a long life on Netflix for people who want to revisit it because there are a lot of great things here for people who love morality tales and stories about old souls.
There is also a scene at the end that opens it up for a sequel, or maybe a franchise. Seeing these characters in action again would be great, and the table is set for more if fans give it a chance and if Netflix sees money in its future.
The Old Guard is highly recommended, and it is something that deserves a big audience and a sequel down the line.
The Old Guard is currently streaming on Netflix.