I posted about The Eagle before it came out because the trailer sent off a major ‘Slash Potential’ alarm in my head, and now that it’s been released I’m following up on it. Because I saw it. And it’s basically everything I wanted it to be (which includes being a good movie).
Here’s a couple of pictures so you know what kind of mmph we’re talking about, here.
So here’s the premise: An injured soldier hears a rumor about the location of The Eagle, the symbol of Roman pride, power and honor, behind enemy lines. Since Marcus’ (the solider) father led the Romans who lost it under mysterious circumstances, he sets out to recapture it and clear his family’s (and his father’s in particular) soiled name with the help of his reluctant slave, Esca.
This is most definitely a journey film. It gets off to a slow start, but to be fair the movie does have quite a bit to establish before they can really get going. The film itself is quite beautifully captured, meaningful (especially if your big on defending honor for honor’s sake) and hey did you know that Channing Tatum can act? Step Up may have fooled you, but The Eagle combined with a movie he did a few years back called A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints will change your mind. And yes, Jamie Bell, who plays the slave Esca, was Billy Elliot. He has grown up, ahem…really nicely. He’s also a damn good actor.
For those worried about bloodied Roman soldiers hacking people to pieces, no worries. This is PG-13 and they kind of go out of their way at times to spare us from blood. This bothered me because I’m a staunch supporter of realism, and when it feels like filmmakers are having to dodge content it means they’re also dodging honesty, but that is (almost literally) just me. However, there are a couple of moments where my face went O.O because they actually went through with a couple of things I was sure they would shy away from. Neither of those moments involve gore, though.
The only negative things I could say about the movie is that the dialogue clings to “passable” and stays there, the pacing is a bit slow for a movie like this, and the way some plot points are rolled out feel kind of awkward. But it didn’t really detract from the movie, and that’s worth something.
OKAY ENOUGH OF THAT, what about the gay? Answer: It’s not even March and I can already promise you that Marcus/Esca will be in my Top Ten New Slash Pairings of 2011*. I mean, seriously, from the moment Marcus sees Esca, and that whole scene, I was like “Mhm, yeah, you want him, Marcus, don’t lie. You’re not even hiding it. At all.”
In the grand scheme of AU-slash-that-feels-really-really-canon in movies (I’m looking at you, Holmes/Watson), this should earn a good portion of your fangirlish squee and for good damn reason. These guys struggle through harsh territory against insurmountable odds, saving each others’ lives even though they have no idea if they should trust each other. They are on very unsure ground for most of the movie, and for very understandable, complex reasons. Yet they also have this bond from the get go that is SO present, and neither of them can really get away from it. This lays the groundwork for some beautiful, beautiful scenes. In fact, they really could have given their relationship more emphasis in the grand scheme of things…but there’s a good chance I’m just spoiled by things like Sherlock and Boston Legal.
This type of Epic Slash pairing is a VERY rare breed, and I’ll be damned if it isn’t one of my favorites. Fighting, adventure, life/death consequences, serious dilemmas, trust issues…the fanfiction potential is off. the fucking. chart. Not to mention that what’s on the screen is just. plain. mmph.
If Sherlock is a 9 in terms of On-Screen-Slash, The Eagle is a 7. <—A verrrrry respectable number since the vast majority of main stream cinema comes in at a 1 or 2.
Oh yeah, and this will make a lot of people happy: THERE’S NOT A SINGLE HETERO LOVE INTEREST IN SIGHT. No random chick shoehorned into the plot just to confirm the hero’s sexuality, no obligatory cliched love scene, none of that bullcrap. Hell, there’s only one moment in the ENTIRE movie where one of them even acknowledges that women exist, and it’s ambiguous to the point of wondering if he wasn’t just returning a smile. No, really.
That’s it. That’s the extent of straightness in the whole thing. And can I just say how fucking lovely that is? Not that every het romance is annoying or poorly done, obviously, but to have a movie where you would have to create an original character just to write a heterosexual fic for it is quite the refreshing change. Not to mention it makes Head Canon wayyyyyy easier to establish.
VERDICT: This a must see for adventure fans, for male friendship fans, for pretty much anyone, but especially slash fans. ‘Cause something likes this just doesn’t come around that often for us. GO SEE IT. Then come back here and flail with me, because thanks to this movie’s release date I can pretty much guarantee that it will be criminally ignored.
It’s easily the best thing to come out during the Beginning of the Year Movie Drought in a looooooooooong time.
Film Rating: 6.75/10
AU Slash Scale: 8.5/10
And in case you think I’m too calm about this: DHJKDLFDKGLJDKFDKL I LOVE THESE TWO SO MUCH LIKE SERIOUSLY I HAVEN’T BEEN THIS EXCITED IN A LONG TIME AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHDJSKFDJKLGDJKGLJKL LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE!!!!!
*Yes, that list will actually exist.