Technically, Scarlett Johansson already plays a superhero in the Marvel Film Universe, where she portrays the character Natasha Romanoff, a.k.a. Black Widow. However, in the upcoming sci-fi action/thriller Lucy, ScarJo will get some honest-to-goodness super-powers, to go along with the ability to kick butt and chew bubble gum at the same time.
Johansson headlines as the namesake in Lucy; as revealed by the film’s official trailer reveals (see above), one night the title character is kidnapped, has some kind of mysterious substance (definitely not the FDA-approved kind) surgically placed into her stomach, and is forced by the shady people responsible to transport the material into the United States. However, before that happens, Lucy inadvertently absorbs some of the mystery drug (we’ll just call it MacGuffin) and is able to escape – rather calmly too – thanks to newfound heightened physical/mental capabilities.
At first, the trailer indicates that the sci-fi elements of Luc Besson’s screenplay for Lucy may be something of a Limitless knockoff, when Morgan Freeman’s character – an expert in the field of neurology – starts talking about being able to access “100% of the human brain.” It appears that Besson’s film goes in a different direction than the aforementioned Bradley Cooper vehicle, though, as Johansson’s protagonist – once she begins using more and more of her brain’s “full capacity” – starts evolving into someone with the powers of X-Man Quicksilver and some of Charles Xavier’s abilities (with Black Widow’s hand-to-hand combat skills as the cherry on top).
When Besson merely co-writes and produces a film the results can be shaky (see: From Paris with Love, 3 Days to Kill, etc.), but he directed Lucy from his own original script. As was mentioned before, Besson’s influences on this project seem to be fairly transparent, though he also looks to offer some innovative variations on those familiar tropes here – similar to what I felt he accomplished with mobster genre elements in his last directorial effort, The Family (and yes, I know that’s something of an unpopular opinion to have).
If nothing else, Besson’s directing efforts - Léon: The Professional, The Fifth Element, Angel-A – generally have a real cinematic flavor to them. That much once again appears to hold true with Lucy, based on the sharp editing pace, intriguing visuals (see: Lucy’s transforming eye sequence), vibrant color palette, and on the spot comedic timing of the footage in the trailer. Besides, it’s ScarJo as a genuine superhero; that sales pitch alone should be enough to get some butts in the seats when this film hits theaters.
Lucy opens in U.S. theaters on August 8th, 2014.