What happens when a new guard stirs the pot.
If, like me, you're obsessed with the Netflix Original superhero film The Old Guard, this great Indiewire article by Anne Thompson lets us in on the secret sauce ingredients that has us so hooked. It's also a lesson in what can happen when a new set of chefs are allowed to stir the pot.
First, take one visionary Exec, in this case Dana Goldberg Chief Creative Officer of production company Skydance, who insisted that a woman director be hired to bring more "authenticity" to this new comic book adaptation. Add another visionary African- American director Gina Prince Bythewood who proved herself worthy of the task by testing styles and flavours on another comic book franchise. Add in a new fleshed-out young black woman lead and cast the worthy Kiki Layne as Nile.
Add a soupçon more diversity in an international supporting cast including a Dutch-Moroccan, Belgian and an Italian and the first openly gay superhero relationship. Side note: actors Marwan Kenzari (who played Nicky) and Luca Marinelli (Joe) signed up precisely because they wanted to play out this relationship. Et voila. One sincere action-packed film with real heart. Good riddance to that bloated ironic swagger that you often get with boyzy action films. No fear of tasteless objectification of these kick-ass women even though Charlize Theron, as Head Immortal Andy, and newbie Nile are especially hot.
There's an undertone of sweetness thanks in part to the tender love between Joe and Nicky. We can only dream that one day someone professes their love for us like Nicky does for Joe in that one outstanding monologue after they are captured and awaiting their fate.
The fight sequences turn up the heat thanks to that in-your-face handheld camera action.
And the story has genuine depth. How to live with, not one, but many lifetimes of loss and regret ?
If the runaway success of Michaela Coel's I May Destroy You doesn't have you convinced that fresh eyes refresh old formulas, The Old Guard certainly will - and has for the 72 million who have so far tuned in. The film currently sits on the Top 10 most popular Netflix Originals ever.
New ingredients, new chefs, awaken new tastes and I can't wait for the next course in this franchise.