You know who I bet is really watching the Box Office returns of this film? Kevin Feige, the guy in charge of Marvel Studios. When considering a potential Black Widow film, this is a great way to test the waters. Take the potential lead actress, and see how she does when she has to support the entire weight of the movie on her shoulders. Should this movie do well, one can theoretically expect a Black Widow film to be announced in the not too distant future. Should this movie bomb... well... don't expect a Black Widow movie anytime soon.
I should start out, by saying that when I think of Luc Besson's directorial efforts, my mind immediately goes to "The Fifth Element". Sure, "The Fifth Element" can be a little cheesy, but it is honestly one of my favorite sci-fi films to fall back on if I need something to watch. With that in mind, I came into this movie expecting... I suppose, the Sixth Element. I was expecting a fun escape movie, with some comedy, and a little bit of action to spice things up a bit.
Is that what I got though?
Conceptually, the movie has a lot going for it, a little bit of science-y talk, and a whole lot of science fiction postulating. It seemed like a great idea. Then, they take a young-ish actor, pair them with a well-established professional, and toss in a magical drug that unlocks 100% of your mental capacity. The possibilities seem Limitless, right? Except, we already saw that exact same movie, 3 years ago... It was called "Limitless" starred Bradley Cooper, and Robert De Niro, and had the same basic magic drug unlocks your brain's full potential scenario.
The movie takes a high concept, (for the sake of argument, drug-induced super powers), and frames them in a giant web of pseudo-science mumbo-jumbo, that might very well hurt the scientifically-minded in the audience. The "Humans only use 10% of their brains" tripe has been debunked, yet still manages to flare up in popular culture like a bad case of herpes. Hell, at points even Morgan Freeman's scientist character seems to be fumbling with the pseudo-science, trying to lend credence to utter bullshit.
Ignoring the preposterous premise (as I did when I went into the film) it is mostly just a decent sci-fi film. There is almost nothing exceptionally awesome. The story unfolds well enough, although the first 25 minutes or so, seem to have been spliced together with various nature documentaries, and such. Seriously, in that time, there is about a 2:1 ratio of the movie to nature documentary. Granted, the clips that they put in seemed to have a direct link to the mental status of the characters, it was still mildly off-putting. It felt like art for the sake of being artsy, or more precisely, it often felt like filler.
I was fairly happy with the overall movie, despite my complaints above. There are gross-inconsistencies in the character of Lucy. She goes from confused college girl, to sexual predator, to confident killing machine with almost no real transition. Once the new characterization has been going for a bit, I came to accept it as the current Lucy, and just rolled with it.
It was a fun choice to attempt to incorporate the concept of Lucy (Australopithecus afarensis) into the story, but in the end offered up a bad effect, that offered up nothing substantial to the movie itself, and acted as a huge detriment instead.
RECOMMENDATION: If you watched "Limitless" and said to yourself "Man, I wish they'd replace Bradley Cooper with a hot chick." Then this movie was practically made for you. If you want your films to have the narrative to back up their pseudo-science, you might want to avoid this one.
IS IT THEATER-WORTHY: In all honesty, not really. There is very little in here that won't play out just as good on the small screen. The sole exception, in my opinion, is the car chase, which was pretty awesome. Other than that, it has small screen written all over it. That being said, the part of me that is horribly biased and really wants to see a Black Widow film in Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe really wants to beg everyone to go see it...
FINAL THOUGHTS: All in all, it was an OK movie, and I think I would like to see it again. While I doubt it will ever gain a spot on my list of favorite films of the year, it was not awful. Unlike some of my fellow theater patrons, I didn't find this film "retarded" or a "total waste of time". Rather it was an interesting attempt to delve into a tired trope, and breathe some much-needed life into it.
FINAL SCORE: 6.5 out of 10