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Legion And Bayonetta: What's Up With The Badass Angels?

sjohnson
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Posted January 20, 2010 - By Stephen Johnson

Legion

This Friday, theaters all over the country will be graced by Legion, an action picture in which God becomes so angry at humans, He sends legions of angels to earth to clean house, exterminate us, and kill the second coming of Christ. So a major motion picture posits that both Angels and God are down for murdering Jesus. 

I fully expect two things from this movie: 1) There will be some sort of "twist" ending where it turns out God isn't really behind the baby-murdering plot. 2) It will not be a good movie -- I don't need more than the release date to make that determination. Legion is nestled in the middle of the box office dead zone, too early for summer blockbuster, too late for Academy Awards.

This movie's existence raises a lot of questions, though, most of which can't be answered (If God wants a baby killed, why didn't He just not create the baby to begin with? After the attempted murder of His son, won't God's Thanksgiving dinners be awkward?) But the biggest questions Legion raised, for me, is: Why bad-guy angels? Why now? 

It's not just Legion. Bayonetta features different varieties of weird, birdlike angels as deadly foils to sexy librarian Bayonetta -- they're basically the opposite of Kid Icarus. And then there's the Hell's Angels Motorcycle (but I guess they've been around for awhile), and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim are pretty bad too. Am I forgetting any more evil angels?

Traditionally, angels have been portrayed as sitting on clouds, playing harps, and generally being smiley and helpful to all. I'm not sure why, at this point in our culture, we've decided they need to be outfitted with AKs and set loose to destroy humanity. Could it be that we've accepted moral relevance so completely that things we previously regarded as all-good can only be taken seriously if they're shown doing evil? Or is it just an attempt to do something different -- like the vampire hero of the Twilight series. Has the idea of purity and goodness in popular culture become hopelessly cliched and old-fashioned? Like, are there any modern equivalents to pure-hearted heroes like Superman, or must every protagonist be troubled, morally conflicted and all broody and stuff?

And speaking of angels with guns: We had a big argument this morning at G4 about this subject: Are angels with guns cool or lame? I say, "lame," because angels wouldn't need a gun, what with the supernatural power and all. On the other hand a baby with a gun is cool, because, I mean, where's he gonna point that thing?? What about you? Are you going to check out Legion? Do you have any thoughts on why angels are, all the sudden, turning into villains.

For more information about angels, read the Bible. For more information about Angels who carry guns, check out flash game Guns and Angels.

Legion And Bayonetta: What's Up With The Badass Angels?
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