Netflix’s The Old Guard is one of the streaming services best original outings of the year. Directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood and written by Greg Rucka (and adapted from his comic book of the same name.) Rucka has done a lot of great comics work. His indie stuff is particularly awesome. Lazarus, Whiteout, Stumptown. Etc. Queen and Country is amazing even if it is a Sandbaggers pastiche/rip-off. Anyway, The Old Guard stars Charlize Theron as Andromache (Andy), the leader of an immortal group of mercenaries trying to fight for good over the centuries. When they discover a new immortal soldier named Nile (KiKi Layne), they risk exposure, which also draws the attention of individuals who are willing to go to any lengths to replicate their immortality.
I can’t help but wonder of the magnitude of their immortality or regenerative powers that allows them to be immortal. If they get eaten by sharks or crocodiles, do they regenerate and explode out of their stomach? If there’s a nuclear strike and they get disintegrated will their molecules regenerate them back into physical form? Do they have Deadpool level kind of regeneration powers? Couldn’t they have done just one more clunky info dump explaining some of this?
The other thing is, if you found out you were immortal this year or in the last ten years, would you really want to hang out with a bunch of sad sacks as The Old Guard? I’m sure many will fall into a bottle listening to Queen’s Who Wants To Live Forever or just walk around sunset staring out into ocean waves listening to Dust In The Wind. But I for one would say, “I’m Immortal? Cool! Peace out!”
I mean clearly The Old Guard’s mission had their hearts in the right place, but they got nowhere with it. If people today found themselves immortal, what would they do? Merchandise and brand themselves? Star in a reality show? Be the ultimate stuntman? Gamer? Influencer? Use social media to show off that they can travel anywhere without worrying about Covid.
Maybe I’m jaded. Or maybe that the concept in the book is a romanticized idea of being human. Looking at today’s human behavior and human history we are at the very least a walking contradiction paradox of a species. Bound by limitations depending on social status, country location, wealth, and position of authority/power. Immortality would probably take away those limitations and today’s immortals character growth wouldn’t be most likely Thor. Today’s immortal growth in character would most likely lean into Loki. OK. Most definitely Loki.
I’m sure some would want to change the world. But there has to be just as many that would be satisfied being the ultimate slacker. Beach bum. Underachiever. At least for a decade or two. Let the stereotypical drama that comes with immortality be a problem for future you. Embrace your inner Deadpool when you first wake up after a gunshot to the head. You’ve got plenty of time before you become a sad sack Wolverine.