Not long ago, Extraction was a hit that proved mercenary movies are still more attractive than spy games and war movies. Maybe because viewers are more interested in personal issues and challenges more than national or international matters.
Old Guard is created based on the same cliché of Extraction. Like Christopher Hemsworth in Extraction, Charlize Theron is at the center of the story. A mercenary who is well-known all over the world and in the eye of her team, she is a super leader.
Again like Extraction, Andy (Charlize Theron) accepts a contract for saving some kidnapped girls by militias in Africa. Their employer, Copley (Chiwetel Ejiofor), betrays them and sends them to a deadly trap. It is still similar to the plot of Extraction, but Gina Prince-Bythewood, the director and Greg Rucka, the writer, have a bigger surprise for the audience.
In the trap, Andy’s team get killed without finding any chance to fight back. It is a shocking scene, and we expect the rest of the movie should be in flashbacks and their past stories, but another surprise again! After a few minutes, they get back to life and kill all of the opposite mercenary team.
Now we are watching a superhero film that has no relationship with the genres of war or mercenary. Instead, we see a superhero sci-fi with some flavor of myth and history as we can see in photos of Andy in various historical events.
But isn’t it boring to have immortal heroes?
Having undying superheroes who never die erases the chance of creating suspense in any movie, and as a result, the audience would not be fully engaged. To solve this problem, the creators of “The Old Guard,” added an Achilles Heel to their heroes. Their immortality stops at some point without any apparent reason, and their wounds would not heal anymore.
Andy is the one who loses her immortality in the movie, and somehow it happens at the same time that Nile, the group’s new member, discovers her immortality. Andy’s mortality time is a minor tweak that makes the movie different from the comics. Andy is immortal in most of the issues of the comics that match more to the nature of comics, but losing immortality amid their fight in the movie adds enough suspense for the audience.
After this, every battle can be the last battle of Andy, and it should have a significant impact on her decisions and actions, but she doesn’t change. It could be the best conflict of the story if Andy thinks about her new mortal life and tries to enjoy the rest of her life instead of messing around with some immortal depressed mercenaries.
But Andy is still a character from a comic book. She stops at the edge of becoming a real person with ordinary feelings. She only turns into a mortal leader of an immortal team without thinking twice about the goal and meaning of her new life.
Another tweak in the story is again related to Andy. In the movie, her love and sexual desires are towards Quynh. An immortal warrior who is placed into an iron maiden and thrown into the sea to continuously drown and come back to life for hundreds of years.
In the comics, she falls in love with an ex-slave, and they live together as outlaws until she gets old and leaves him to keep her immortality secret. It seems that in each and every movie and series of recent years, we should have at least a gay couple, and in The Old Guard, we have more than one.
Even though we accept Andy as a badass lesbian, having Joe and Booker as warrior gay men don’t fit in the story and look like an unnecessary attempt to normalize sexual diversity in the movie.
Losing this chance to create more conflicts in the plot leads the film to be like an episode of a superhero TV series. At the end of the movie, we are sure that it will have several sequels like Marvel’s superhero series.