Review: ‘The Old Guard’ Is a Journey Through History Worth Taking


The Old Guard has officially made its debut on Netflix! The world of graphic novels is filled with incredible stories and worlds just waiting to be made into movies and television shows. The Old Guard is no exception.

The movie follows a group of immortal mercenaries: Andy, Booker, Joe, and Nicky. Throughout history, the small but lethal group has fought. Interestingly enough, they weren’t the only immortals, and you find out their immortality isn’t always a promise. Despite not knowing if every fight will be their last, they have always continued on to fight. Whether that fight is for good or bad, they will tell you it depends on the century. Now in modern times, a time where staying hidden isn’t so easy, the wrong people find out about who they are and their immortality. Now, their fight is for themselves.

If you have not seen the movie, there will be spoilers beyond this point.

Courtesy of Netflix

Andy (Charlize Theron), or Andromache of Scythia, is the oldest, and maybe the one who has dealt with the most loss. The second immortal to come into being was Quynh (Veronica Ngo). Their tale is one of friendship. Two people bound by a commonality, sworn to never leave each other. Quynh being liked in an iron coffin of sorts and tossed into a body of water changed that. Their separation is an integral part of Andy’s storyline, and something viewers will be left wanting more of.

There is Lykon (Micheal Ward), too. He was the first of them to actually die. While little is known about him, his death still serves as an important plot point. It turns out that their immortality can run out. They just stop healing. It makes for an intriguing take on immortality. Sure, you’ve got werewolves and silver bullets, vampires and stakes, Superman and kryptonite. But those are known variables. These soldiers go in to fight, not knowing when their time may run out. They just do it because it’s right.

Andy is jaded with the world. But when you’ve fought for centuries, seeing the worst of worst, and losing so much, how could you not be? That’s also what makes her character so relatable, especially in the world we live in. It can get tiring and frustrating fighting for good, but just like Andy, we can get back up to fight another day.

Nile (Kiki Layne) gives insight into what it was like for warriors when they first came back to life – the shock, the confusion, the questions. Immortality isn’t something people usually face. After 200 years, she becomes the newest immortal to join the group. She questions everything they do, including if she’s even capable of fighting. Nile, a Marine who is technically killed in the line of duty, is a strong warrior but has a hard time with the act of taking a life.

Courtesy of Netflix

Nile and Andy’s stories are intricately intertwined, despite being from completely different worlds and times. Nile is that reminder of why they fight, and why what they do is important. Her addition comes at a time they seem to need her the most, making you wonder about the fate of their immortality.

Copley (Chiwetel Ejiofor) is part of that story, too. He has done extensive research, discovering each of the group throughout history. His intentions are somewhat misguided, but he finds that every action they take has a positive outcome. Our world is better for every person they save.

Booker (Matthias Schoenaerts) is at first hard to read. In some ways, he’s a lot like Andy. Loss is a huge part of his story, but he doesn’t have as much fight in him. He’s less jaded at the world, just more tired of his immortality. Sadness and loss are such a huge part of everyone’s stories, and not just for the immortals. It drives every decision, every consequence. Whether it clouds judgments or just becomes intertwined in their souls and memories, the loss is always a factor at play.

Then you’ve got Joe (Marwan Kenzari) and Nicky (Luca Marinelli). Their story is one of enemies to lovers, admitting to have killed each other. Their story may be last in this review, but certainly not the least. I honestly would have loved to have seen more of their story. When faced with homophobia, Joe’s speech goes beyond love. It’s a type of love that seems unreachable and unimaginable. Something so true and pure, that hate could never even reach their depth. Through all the action sequences, that’s the scene that felt the most powerful.

The Old Guard is a wild ride rich in history, stories, love and loss, and a question of right and wrong. Every action, past and present, has a consequence. And those consequences may not be immediate. Like many tales, there’s always morals to find within.

It is something to note, as well, that both the cast and characters are widely diverse. The characters are so wonderfully different, yet connected. You’ll want to know more about everyone. This would’ve thrived as a series, focusing on everyone’s origin stories, or even focusing on past battles.

If you want a good, unique action movie, The Old Guard is beyond a perfect choice. Given the rating, expect violence and a wee bit of gore, but expected with the story. If you’re anything like me, you won’t just love the movie. You’ll want to rewatch it many times. You’ll invest in the characters and be left on the edge of your seat as you follow along. And just when you think you have it all figured out, something else entirely happens. Be prepared. It’s left on a gigantic cliffhanger. So, here’s hoping for a sequel!

The Old Guard is streaming now on Netflix, you can watch the trailer below.

When Melanie isn’t writing for Nerds and Beyond, she’s doing her best to make professional fangirl a thing. She loves writing fan fiction, drawing fan art, reading comics and binge-watching like it’s a professional sport. Her list of fandoms just keep growing, and will always cite Supernatural and Psych as her first forays into fangirldom. Though Nancy Drew will always be her first real fandom. Melanie works hard at making her art a career and has dreams of becoming a published author someday. You can find her on Twitter @FangirlLanie.

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