*Spoilers Ahead For “The Old Guard”*
Describing this movie feels like a Stefon sketch of everything I want because this movie has everything: butch Charlize Theron, gay immortal power couple, found family trope, critique on the military industrial complex, CHIWETEL EJIOFOR? “The Old Guard” has it all and more.
The Old Guard already stands strong as a fun, well-made, action-packed film. But what truly sticks with me, not to mention what inspired an immediate rewatch, was the LGBT representation and how it is handled. Helmed by “Beyond the Lights” director Gina Prince-Bythewood, it follows a group of immortals being tracked by a medical corporation that wants to study them. Greg Rucka wrote both the screenplay and the graphic novel on which it’s based.
Rucka’s work in the comic book world has a track record of LGBT representation. He notably is responsible for Renee Montoya being a lesbian, created the bisexual detective-led Stumptown, and wrote my personal favorite Batwoman graphic novel, Elegy. His fleshed-out LGBT characters shine again in “The Old Guard.”
One of the standout scenes in the movie is when the aforementioned power couple Nicky (Luca Marinelli) and Joe (Marwan Kenzari aka Hot Jafar from the live-action Aladdin) are captured. When Joe tries to check on Nicky’s well-being, one of the guards sneers, “What is he, your boyfriend?” And oh boy does Joe have a rebuttal built on a thousand years of being asked that question by homophobic assholes. What follows is one of the most beautiful declarations of love I’ve seen in a movie, followed by them kicking ass together.
We also get a glimpse of a deeply close, albeit never explicitly romantic, relationship that Andy had with another woman. Quynh (Van Veronica Ngo) is a ghost from Andy’s past. They spend hundreds of years by each other’s side in battle and life only for Quynh to meet a fate worse than death. The way Andy grieves for her to me gave off some major vibes that this was more than just friendship.
Plus, Andy’s weapon of choice is literally a labrys. Come on.
Perhaps this reading came from an internal bias of Charlize Theron based on credentials in LGBT cinema. I wore my prized Furiosa as Rosie the River shirt to my Queer Theatre class and the lesbian professor I had a huge crush on lit up and asked if I’d seen “Atomic Blonde”. This led of course into a discussion about “Monster”. The next time two lesbians share an impassioned conversation over Charlize Theron movies, I guarantee that “The Old Guard” will be in the mix.