The Marvel Series On Hulu That Does One Superpower Better Than Any Other Adaptation

By Jacob VanGundy | Updated

legion

Some superpowers, like flight or laser vision, are fairly easy to translate from page to screen. But more cerebral powers like telepathy and reality-bending are much more difficult to put on screen in clear and visually interesting ways. My favorite version of these types of powers outside of comics is the series Legion. 

Legion Was An FX Series

dan stevens legion

Spinning out of the X-Men universe, Legion was an FX series that followed David Haller, the son of Charles Xavier. David and a group of fellow mutants deal with threats like an anti-mutant task force and the Shadow King, a powerful telepath living inside David’s psyche.

It deals with heavy themes of mental illness, childhood trauma, and identity all within a world I still consistently find fun and exciting.

Non-Conventional Super-Powered Battles

marvel legion

Many of the characters in Legion use psychic powers, creating conflicts in the astral plane and non-conventional super-powered battles.

The series uses various techniques to visualize these battles, including fairly direct fights between giant CGI versions of the characters or swords and tanks manifesting out of thin air. But my favorite fights use metaphorical contests such as dance-offs, rap battles, or clever mental traps instead of actual fights. 

Reality-Bending

Legion frequently uses the reality-bending powers of David and The Shadow King as an excuse to abandon realism entirely, giving the series a music video aesthetic.

Corpses floating in space sing Pink Floyd, and the entrance to a secret lair is accessed through a choreographed musical sequence.

In addition to its musical moments, the powers in the show are used to experiment stylistically with silent film techniques and increasingly unsettling documentary segments narrated by Jon Hamm

Break With Realism

aubrey plaza

It’s this willingness to break with realism and embrace experimentation that I want other adaptations to borrow from Legion.

Telepathy is often simplified into characters staring each other down or voice-overs to let us know a character hears a voice in their head, the main methods used in the Fox era of X-Men movies.

Wanda Maximoff’s powers in her early MCU appearances were equally disappointing CGI displays and psychic illusions that lacked a distinct visual style. 

Marvel Exploring This More

Recent MCU ventures have taken a more interesting approach in series like WandaVision and movies like Dr. Strange: Multiverse of Madness.

The sitcom-inspired setting of WandaVision was a great way to visualize Wanda’s powers, but it was hampered by the final confrontation using much more conventional and uninteresting visuals.

Similarly, Xavier entering Wanda’s mind in Multiverese of Madness was a step up from the previous films but still lacks Legion’s experimental visual style

Stream Legion

As the MCU prepares to introduce some of its most powerful psychics through the X-Men and DC reboots its universe, potentially giving characters like Raven a more prominent role, both universes will likely have to visualize abstract powers soon.

I want to see more adaptations lean into the weirdness of those powers like Legion did by ditching realism and playing with different visual styles. Watch the criminally underrated, wonderfully surreal series Legion on Hulu to see it’s awesome take on psychic powers for yourself.

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