Since the usual superheroes abandoned theaters this summer, Netflix supplies new super soldiers, an elite band of indestructible warriors led by axe-wielding Andromache of Scythia (Charlize Theron).
Andy, as she’s called, has been covertly battling the world’s evil for centuries – and she’s weary. But when she realizes that Nile (KiKi Layne), a gung-ho U.S. Marine, miraculously survived having her throat cut by a terrorist in Afghanistan, Andy convinces her to join the immortal crime-fighters.
There’s Booker (Matthias Schoenaerts), a veteran of the Napoleonic Wars, along with Joe (Marwan Kanzan) and Nicky (Luca Marinelli), who were combatants during the Crusades. Over the centuries, they’ve developed various battle strategies that they can instantly implement.
“Throughout history, we’ve protected the world, fighting in the shadows,” Andy explains.
Their current nemesis is Merrick (Henry Melling), a mad-scientist who is determined to capture and experiment on the ageless mutants to profit from the production of Fountain of Youth drugs. Merrick’s aided and abetted by ex-C.I.A. agent Copley (Chietel Ejiofor), who has been tracking them for years.
Working from a timely script by Greg Rucka, based on his graphic novel series, it’s helmed by Gina Prince-Blythewood (Love & Basketball, Beyond the Lights), the first Black woman to direct a high-profile superhero film. Amplifying the diversity, she includes one of the most romantic expressions of LGBTQ love ever printed in a comic book.
When Joe is asked if Nicky is his boy-friend, he declares: “This man is more to me than you can imagine. He’s the moon when I’m lost in darkness and warmth when I shiver in cold. His kiss still thrills me even after a millennium. His heart overflows with a kindness of which the world is not worthy. I love this man beyond measure and reason. His is not my boyfriend. He is all, and he is more.”
And the conclusion, involving Quynh (Van Veronica Ngo), another female warrior, definitely sets up a sequel.
On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, The Old Guard is an edgy, exciting 7, filled with intense, action-packed skirmishes.