In a summer full of sequels, prequels, and rebooks, it’s nice to see something original. Lucy is certainly original, but also a lot of weird.
The premise is quite simple; what would happen if a human used 100% of their brain? Luc Besson starts with some decent enough science then blows it up with science fiction about mid way through. The result is a lot fun for the audience. Besson jumps right into the plot ten minutes in and doesn’t lose focus for the brisk 90 minute film. There is little character development, hero and villain alike, for the sake of showcasing Lucy’s powers as she opens up more of her brain. This makes the movie quite thin on the plot side of things, but a short run time negates scenes running along with nothing to speak of in terms of development.
The main thing to take away from Lucy is this: this is a weird movie. It constantly makes gigantic leaps in logic for the sake of a flashy set piece. This isn’t bad considering its fun to see Scarlet Johansson run around and treat people like rag dolls, but it borders on the stupid side at points. But these aren’t small leaps of logic we are talking about. These are massive leaps that make you say, “How the fuck did we get here?” This is where my enjoyment for the movie started to waver. I’m fine with not having to think much for a movie, but when I need to think because I don’t understand what the hell is going on, we have a problem. Most of these moments are near the end, so you have around an hour and fifteen before things start going downward.
The ending is really the big mind fuck. While the leaps in logic are great it’s possible to see the train of thought of Besson. If those are leaps of logic, then the ending is a plane ride so far from logic town that you can’t figure out where on Earth you are. Weirdly enough though, it works. The zaniness has been established enough that seeing Besson go nuts with theories is expected and encouraged. And then movie ends with little to no explanation and says, “Deal with it.” You have to respect a movie for doing that in a day where everything needs to be spoon fed to audiences.
The trailers made it seem like Lucy was going to be a complete badass along the lines of Haywire. I went in expecting her to be kicking ass and taking names. Instead she mostly uses her powers to make fools out of the villains. It created a lot of very funny scenes, but didn’t fit my expectations. The little ass kicking flows very well, and Johansson looks like a natural when the action heats up. The villain, a Taiwanese gang, aren’t exactly the greatest villains. They want their drugs back and you don’t develop much beyond that.
Scarlett Johansson keeps the movie’s wheels from coming undone. She’s a likable lead and her becoming more robotic as her mind opens up feels believable. Her deadpan delivery once she goes psedu-robotic becomes annoying and kills the little bit of seriousness this movie creates. What really impressed me was the opening sequence when Lucy was still normal, and terrified beyond belief. Scenes like this have been played out before, but Johansson brought so much terror and emotion to the screen that I feared for her life. Morgan Freeman seems to not realize what is going on around him as he’s quite a blank slate. His only real purpose is to give the insanely large exposition dump at the beginning of the movie, and then provide somewhere for Lucy to go.
Lucy gets 3/5.
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