Lucy (2014) — Drugs power up a girl, gives her Morgan Freeman voiceover

“We humans are more concerned with having than with being.”

Justin’s rating: I only use 8% of my brain, mostly for dad jokes

Justin’s review: Luc Besson isn’t the kind of director and writer that I associate with masterpieces. He’s the kind of guy I go to for a fun and flashy ride without necessarily feeling good about the life choices that led me to that viewing. The Professional? Fifth Element? Taken? Yeah, that kind of stuff. I can watch one every so often and be reasonably entertained without growing as a person.

For a movie about the human brain expanding, Lucy might have set me back by three or four years. It’s OK, I have them to spare at this point. It’s an aggressively silly movie that pretends it’s actually smart and savvy, which is a weird combination you get every so often.

If in your head canon you want to see Lucy as the origin story for MCU’s Black Widow, feel free, because there are going to be a lot of tonal similarities. Scarlett Johansson plays the titular character, an unwitting drug mule who gets pouches of an experimental new drug sewn into her abdomen. A few ill-timed kicks from a lackey ends up rupturing the pouches and heavily dosing her with a fatal overdose.

Ha, no, of course not, that would be logical. Actually, she gets dosed with superpowers — so take them drugs, people! — that make her insanely intelligent, a deadly fighter, a telekenetic, and a mind reader of objects (among other things). So now we have what is, for all intents and purposes, a comic book character granted half of the powers of the X-Men roster — and she’s out for revenge against all of those bad people who were mean to her.

If it was only your run-of-the-mill action platform, Lucy would’ve been fine entertainment and probably completely forgotten in a year or two. What sets this apart — what will make it far more long-lasting — is just how gonzo this movie gets. You’ve got Morgan Freeman over here narrating about animals and human brain capacity, you’ve got special effects firing off all over the place to symbolize Lucy’s powers, you’ve got dozens of inexplicable smash-cuts of various animals from nature documentaries, you’ve got Lucy calling her mom during surgery (on herself) to share memories of being breast fed, you’ve got mind melds.

On and on it goes.

So Lucy is the kind of movie that you have to abandon yourself to, knowing that it’s just whackadoodle at the core. Johansson plays Lucy kind of like a Vulcan who trained for a long time as a martial artist (Star Trek fans: “Well actually, some did become experts in Suus Mahna, which is…” Me: “Shut up, nerds.”). It doesn’t make her very relatable, but hey, it’s a fun and flashy ride.

Didja notice?

  • Silly Lucy monkey
  • Is this movie half nature documentary?
  • Just in case you thought you were going to get out of this movie without seeing warthog sex or live pig birth
  • The special effects of the drug reaction
  • Drug overdoses make you defy gravity for some reason
  • Having surgery done on yourself is a great time for a phone conversation with your mom
  • You know someone is an amazing hacker when they open up 550 windows at the same time
  • Coughing out your teeth ain’t so great
  • Melty face!
  • Now she can knock out an entire room
  • The car scene is pretty great, admittedly
  • But the guys being tossed up into the air while slow-mo kicking is goofy

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