SUPERHEROES come in all shapes and sizes, but Downton’s Dan Stevens doing downers as a drugged-up mental patient with uncontrollable telekinetic tendencies? The extraordinary Legion, the latest twist on the Marvel canon, is all about turning the superpower genre on its head.
Casting the smoothly handsome Stevens as the disturbed David Haller is a masterstroke by writer/director Noah Hawley, the gifted talent behind the brilliant TV adaptation of Fargo. Stevens is the polar opposite of your typical trippy anti-hero, so seeing him all twitchy and googly-eyed plays sweet games with your mind. Which is what Legion is all about.
There’s a voice in my head saying I should get to the story. Which is where things get tricky: we’re in a world where everything is real and not real at the same time, where events may or may not be happening in David’s cross-wired brain and where we might be in the middle of a Good v Evil conspiracy super-theory. Or not.
Yes, it’s a head trip. It’s the TV equivalent of a mind-altering drug experience, a psychedelic-style ride that plays like a video game set in an asylum, finds room for interpretive dance set to French pop music, tosses in Pink Floyd jokes (David’s ‘don’t touch me’ girlfriend is called Syd Barrett) and, whenever you think it’s settled into a groove, the needle jumps out of the tracks.
Will David learn to control his powers? Will he ever kiss a girl without literally blowing her mind? We may (or may not) find out and Legion could turn out to be a madcap mental maze with no way out. For now it’s a perfect world to get totally lost in.