Now-Streaming: The Summer Blockbuster We’ve Been Waiting For

Welcome to “What’s Good,” a weekly column where we break down what’s soothing, distracting, or just plain good in the streaming world.
Photo: Courtesy of AIMEE SPINKS/NETFLIX.
What’s Good? The Old Guard on Netflix
Who It’s Good For: Fans of Gina Prince-Bythewood, the visionary director who gave us Love and Basketball and Beyond The Lights. This time, Prince-Bythewood is taking on a big ol’ live-action superhero adaptation (she’s the first Black woman to direct one) of the graphic novel of the same name. People who know this tale of immortal mercenaries will dig this fresh take, but even if you don’t, you’ll be riveted by 6,000-year-old warrior Andy (Charlize Theron oozing sex and swagger) and rookie to the undying squad, Nile (If Beale Street Could Talk's KiKi Layne). If you loved Theron in Atomic Blonde or Mad Max: Fury Road, this movie will be extremely your shit. 
How Good Is It? Summer blockbuster season is supposed to be on hold. Highly anticipated titles like Wonder Woman 1984, No Time To Die, and Black Widow have been pushed to the fall leaving us thirsty for thrilling fight scenes and ass-kicking heroes on the big screen. I’ve resorted to rewatching the Fast and the Furious franchise from the beginning. (What? I figured it would take me all summer.) Enter: The Old Guard. Charlize Theron and her hot badassery (she’s quickly becoming the seminal action hero of this generation — I said what I said) are here to save us. Her character Andy (aka Andromache of Scythia) is just as brave, compelling, and conflicted as the superheroes we’re used to, except she’s also serving intimacy and charisma in ways only Theron can. Layne’s Nile balances out Andy with soft determination and an unwavering moral compass. They are outstanding together. 
Early into The Old Guard, as we watch our scruffy, grittier version of The Avengers succumb to a firing squad, the question becomes: How do you make a high-stakes, still-captivating movie about a bunch of heroes who can’t really die? Prince-Bythewood manages to do that by delivering intense, gory action sequences where the stakes feel just as high as when our leads’ lives are on the line. She is so damn good. By depicting the physical toil of the squad’s resurrections, Prince-Bythewood shows that pain, even with recovery, can sometimes be a fate worse than death. That’s the inner conflict for Andy, a mercenary who has been trying to change the world for centuries. She’s fed up, but when her team is in danger, she steps up. The Old Guard is a superhero movie, yes, but it's also a sweet, tender take on friendship, life and its fragility. The emotional depth of this film and these characters is what separates it from Netflix’s other action movies. And it’s what happens when you put women in front and behind the lense. 
The fact that this film is helmed by and stars women should not be something we still have to point out, but since it’s still so rare on screen, especially in this genre, we do. As Kiki Layne said in a recent interview with Wonderland magazine, “Women kick ass every day; women are in the armed forces and there are amazing female directors,” she said. “Hollywood is just so slow with representing the real world… yes, I got to portray a young Black female kick-ass hero saving the day and being the leader.” PREACH. Here’s to the day when we don’t have to make a big deal about women doing their jobs in Hollywood because it will be the standard. 
There are some men in this movie too, as a treat. Rounding out the cast are Matthias Schoenaerts, Marwan Kenzari, Luca Marinelli (the latter two play Joe and Nicky, soulmates who will make you SWOON), and the always-formidable Chiwetel Ejiofor. 
The Old Guard dropped on Friday and if it were a theatrical release (remember theatres?), it would have had a massive opening weekend. It’s so good there are already talks of making it a franchise. Yes, please. Turns out summer blockbuster season is still here. We’re just enjoying its splendors on our couches with wine instead of in VIP seats, also with wine. 
Things that are also good:
• I don’t have the words to describe how good Netflix’s reboot of The Baby-Sitters Club is — I just regress to my 10-year-old self and squeal uncontrollably at my TV
Wearing a mask like a considerate human being who cares about the safety of others
• The fascinating documentary Mucho Mucho Amor: The Legend of Walter Mercado, a love letter to the beloved Latinx hero
• Remembering that summer’s not cancelled
• Brené Brown’s Unlocking Us podcast, specifically the episode with Austin Channing Brown, that every white person and every wannabe ally needs to listen to
Defunding the police 

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