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Why I Won’t Be Watching ‘Lucy’ (The Scarlett Johansson Superhero Movie)

I rarely delve into negative articles about avoiding movies. I usually like to talk about all of the things I love and find interesting about movies, both good and bad. And then movies like Lucy pop up.

The film, starring Scarlett Johansson and Morgan Freeman, is about a woman who is accidentally exposed to a street drug that allows her to “transcend” her brain’s normal limitations. This gives her incredible psychic powers that eventually progress to become capable of bending reality itself.

There are some cool things the movie has going for it. Scarlett Johansson is a fun actor. I won’t say she’s great, because I hesitated when I considered that (which is a sign that an actor probably isn’t that great).

I’ll say that I enjoy her performances for the most part, especially in Woody Allen movies. Seriously, have you seen Match Point?

lucy match point

Another positive for Lucy is that even though the film is yet another superhero movie coming out in a year crowded with superhero movies, it at least seems fresh because it’s a French film directed by Luc Besson (The Fifth Element). It’s not Marvel. It’s not DC.

But then we get to what the movie is actually about. And it’s terrible. For the millionth time in the history of pop culture, people are trying to tell us that we would gain superpowers if we could just gain access to 100% of our brain’s “potential,” but we’re cursed with only being able to use 10%.

Great TV shows and movies have gone down this road, including Fringe and Limitless. But before we get into it, here’s the trailer (in case you haven’t seen it yet or need a refresher):

The entire premise is a laughably dumb fallacy, and the trailer flaunts it, giving us progress reports of where the main character falls on the brain percentage scale. Johannson at one point actually says something along the lines of, “I just hit blah blah percent” like it’s her Twitter feed.

The worst offense of all? They dared to involve the great Morgan Freeman in this mess. Hearing him give a lecture in a college about this actually caused me emotional pain.

Because no, you don’t only use 10% of your brain. The weird thing is plenty of people know that this is a false concept, but it’s still purported like it’s true, anyway.

To be more accurate, you’re only using around 10% of your brain’s functions at any one time. It’s like how you don’t use the full capacity of all of your muscles at any one time. Because you don’t need to. Using 100% of your brain’s functions goes by another name: a seizure.

But not according to Lucy. It causes you to have wicket hand multiplication powers.

lucy movie

Plenty of people have given a pass to shows and movies that try to shove this misconception down our throats. I’m one of them. I still enjoyed Limitless, mostly because the movie didn’t base its entire story around the idea. Unlike Lucy, it was more about the main character. At least in the trailer.

And even though Limitless was a silly premise, we had a good time watching it.

Movies are about escapism, after all. They don’t have to be scientifically accurate in order for us to enjoy them. But I’m going to point out that there’s a line. When you have a movie that’s being this blatant about its flawed premise, I just can’t get behind it. I’m going to pass on Lucy.

Could I change my mind? Maybe if it looked like a better movie. Maybe if it wasn’t another superhero movie that would push me further to a state of mind in which I’m actually sick of this genre (which I really hope won’t happen).

lucy movie

To be clear, I don’t discourage anyone else from going out and enjoying this film. I’m sure it will make plenty of money and entertain millions. I just know I wouldn’t be one of them. I’d rather watch a movie about talking apes.

Thanks for reading! You can subscribe to this blog by email via the prompt on the sidebar. Otherwise, be sure to stay connected with me on Twitter (@JonNegroni). I’ll follow you back if you say something witty and awesome.

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62 thoughts on “Why I Won’t Be Watching ‘Lucy’ (The Scarlett Johansson Superhero Movie)

  1. Right? Right?! I was shaking my head through the whole trailer. Morgan Freeman is better than this. He seems like an intelligent dude and you’d think that he would pass on a movie with such a flawed premise. I’ll stick to watching Through the Wormhole, which I actually find very interesting and not cringe-inducing.

    • I totally agree, Mariah. I mean come ON Morgan! YOUR WORTH BETTER THAN THIS CRAP!

      • I believe you meant to say, “You’re better than this” or “You’re worth more than this.” If you’re going to aid in the criticism of a complex movie, at least use propper grammar.

        • Funny….that. ‘Proper’, not ‘propper’

    • Funny how he talks about imagination and stuff, he discusses talking bears and stuff, but brain usage is suddenly scientifically relevant to a flick. If he applied the same criteria to all movies, talking cars and superpowers from drug induced brain whatever should all be in his shopping cart.

      • Fair enough. But still, there’s a stark difference between suspension of disbelief in fantasy animation, and straight up using gimmicky pseudo-science to market a movie. When it’s blatantly transparent, I can’t be immersed into a film to temporarily accept its flawed premise. This is also the difference between Limitless and the film we’re talking about. At least in Limitless, the film wasn’t throwing fake science in our faces to make us think it makes sense. It was more concerned with telling a cool story.

        • It seems you missed the point entirely. You’re the one being pseudo talking the movie down just because the deeper concept went riiiiiight over your head. Lol pity really it was a very thought provoking movie to those who are awake.

        • If you like Woody Allen movies, you’re not fit to comment on entertainment.

    • I understand your point of view, but when you think about it and go back into the history of “Hollywood films”, you see Hollywood mix a lot of fantasy with realty. Which in turn is done in front of our eyes our whole lives, even by our own imagination in our youth. But throigh the mixed media outlets this is done on a monumental scale. They mix reality with fantasy- they condition our minds through the use of these media outlets because we as the consumers are easily manipulated- we take in whateber ideas are spoonfed that sound conceivable which most of them sound moronic our minds just bend to the silver Spoon… Hollywood, derived from the term “holy wood”, is a monstrosity. The entertainment biz is an entity all of its own- such ideas of using only 10% of our brains is a misconception widely believed in societies that teach these ideas to their people through the faulted school system, musi movies etc. considering this movie as somethig that isn’t an escape from reality is dull to say the least, it peaked my interest and I enjoyed it beginning to end.

    • Did anyone ever think that the reason why these movies are so unbelievable is because we do only use 10% of our brain. Like the movie I Origin where the scientist’s future wife talks about the worm. She asks “how many sense does a worm have?” The scientist replies. “They have two, smell and touch. Why?” She says. “So, they live without any ability to see or even know about light right? The notion of light to them is unimaginable?” “Yeah.” “But, we humans, we know that light exists, all around them right on top of them. They cannot sense it but with a little mutation they do, right?” “Correct.” She then talks about herself having a spirit sense or a sixth sense. I did not really like the movie but it did peak my interest at that part. So back to the topic. What if we cannot believe in a movie with a super power theory because we are just to stupid to comprehend what might be possible at higher brain functions. To think that something like this movies is not possible is the way people thought before the age of enlightenment. Believing that everything is already known and so called super powers do not exist and never will is ignorant. They may very well exist like they did in this movie and we just cannot comprehend them or invent them because we just simply do not know enough. I personally thought this movie was excellent. It could be 100% wrong but how would we know? We cannot even seem to figure out what goes on in the nucleus of an atom, we can only theorize because our brains are not smart enough and our technology is not good enough.

  2. Wow, another one huh? This might be irrelevant at some point but when you stated how if the brain used all its function at a time, it can lead to seizure. By that I got reminded by the “Butterfly Effect”. The main protagonist has used up more than what our brains can normally handle which caused him to damages that can lead to seizure as well, the director really executed the movie well on how strong the brain can be on the parallel worlds (been a while since I’ve seen it). I think movies like those are scarce nowadays and the concept of brain usage is being exploited to the point where the audience, while watching the movie, stop using their own brains.

  3. I like ideas of this movie, like at **% she can control her cells, change her DNA, ect, but stop time? Control matter? What’s realistic about that? It would be a cool concept if she could control things like her body’s involuntary functions, but this is so unrealistic it makes me sad.

    • Because a guy coming from Krypton that has unlimited super powers and is killed by a rock from his own planet is soooooo realistic.

      The koolest thing about Lucy is it makes you think, and movies are about escapism not realism. Seriously….its fiction, its fun, get over it. IT WAS AMAZING, I WAS BLOWN AWAY. I definitely escaped while watching it, then had a philosophical discussion after, with profound thoughts. So there.

      • Except Superman actually somewhat tries to justify it, and he has the excuse of being part of an alien race, so of course writers can bullshit that. But Lucy is explicitly HUMAN. Suspension of disbelief is gone when you have a human character pull off this shit in a realistic setting. Comic book movies generally have outlandish settings, Dark Knight Saga aside, which is why they can get away with this stuff.

        Also, what PHILOSOPHICAL discussion? I highly doubt this movie was that deep.

        It doesn’t help your case that you spelled cool with a k…

        • The point it made was that everyone’s reality is subjective and that all time is NOW. She didn’t stop time for everyone else, it was her perception of stopping time. When she’s sitting in the chair she is literally perceiving everything that ever was. This film and the concepts contained within it are ahead of its time, seems too many people are stuck in this cold logical thinking and can’t grasp something deeper or think outside the box.

          • Read my post. I completely agree with you.

        • Why are people who haven’t even watched the film criticizing it?

          How do you know there isn’t a something in the film that explains how shes able to do what she does in more detail?

          • There is! She says she is colonizing her brain at some point in the movie. This makes me believe that not only is she unlocking it but making it more efficient at the same time.

        • The fact that you said ‘I highly doubt this movie was that deep.’ means you haven’t even seen it to be able to make any actual comments on it.

      • I never got why a superhero’s greatest weakness is always something from their home planet. It just doesn’t make spence cause they’d be dead before they got to earth

      • Are you retarded? Superman being harmed by kryptonite is completely viable. The fact that it comes from his own planet has nothing to do with its toxicity; if you were to go play with some Uranium or Arsenic you would feel much less alive than you do now, although it’s obvious your brain is not so. Superman’s “unlimited superpowers” are easily fathomable as well, seeing as he comes from an alien planet and every being of his species possesses the same capabilities, they only seem like superpowers to humans. It’s great that you enjoyed the movie, but the only positive I could find afterwards was the special effects. It may be fiction, but it was portrayed as if the roots were in reality, and that provokes “philosophical discussion” and “profound thoughts” from the gullible sheeple similar to yourself, and simply bores those of us that have a clue.

        • Hey Cbass, please refrain from using personal attacks with these comments. We’re discussing movies, not evaluating each others’ intelligence. If someone enjoys this movie, there’s no reason for you or me to get on their case about it. And your point was plenty valid without you having to call someone “retarded” or a “sheep.”

    • You too missed the entire point of the film. It isn’t a super hero movie. Read about quantum physics and quantum entanglement. The idea is that 100% of your brain capacity in use would make you the universe itself, god. When you learn about modern physics you will see how everything in connected and the premise behind this film is that the more power your brain has the more ‘in touch’ (literally) you are with the universe. This was explained several times in different contexts in the film and it’s a shame to see seemingly smart people missing the entire point because whilst perhaps being very logical and iellectual you have no grasp of philosophy or a deeper understanding of the universe, an understanding that can not possibly come through use of cold logic alone. Read about what I said and watch it again, you’ll see 🙂

  4. Yeah, it is pretty unrealistic. I think the biggest thing for me (and many others) is that it would be awesome to have those abilities. Whether it comes from an asteroid from outer space or just a drug from some gang, it still would be cool to control matter and stuff. But that’s opinions for you 😀

  5. I think that the movie sounds pretty cool. The concept that she could stop time with the flick of a hand? AWESOME! But why, why does it have to be about the brain? OH WE TOTES DON’T USE 100% OF OUR BRAINS. I know that. but we use more than just 10%! Come on people! And Morgan Freeman! Someone call 911 that the 2nd most amazing actor ever is IN THIS PILE OF CRAP. I mean, I know I’m only 11 years old. It sounds weird. But I mean, Morgan! WHAT THE HECK ARE YOU DOING?! YOU’RE BETTER THAN THIS!!!!

    • 11? Thank you for confirming my suspicion that your brain has not fully developed to the “10% capability” mark. Now, go talk about some nice PG movies. This conversation is for grown ups.

    • As far as I understand the science (I am not a neurologist!), we use all (or at least most) of our brains. We don’t use it all at the same time because, for instance, brushing your teeth doesn’t require the use of language or artistic skills, but that is not the same thing as not using all of the brain’s potential.

  6. I understand suspension of disbelief, pretty much everyone knows you can’t make bullets curve etc., but most of the world still believes the urban legend that you only use 10% of your brain, supposedly misquoted from a 1890’s Harvard psychology professor. I’m a huge Sci Fi lover, but there is a difference between suspension of disbelieve in something most people realize is not possible and perpetuating an ignorance that plaques most of the world when you are widely identified as a purveyor of truth. Like I said, I know he is an actor by trade, but it still agitates me on a deep level, lol.

    • Funny you mention a deep level within yourself emotionally but you have no depth of mind. Morgan Freeman says a line about us humans making scales and systems of measurement to attempt to put a scale on the unscaleable. You are limiting your imagination and mind by so strongly believing in this ‘fully automatic model’ myth of how the universe works. These scales, god and region can be grouped in along with them, help the less open minded deal with the universe. Any truly open minded person can fathom it in it’s totality and have no need to put limits on it. This is why this film is better than Limitless in my opinion, he was limited to cognitive functions. Lucy went one step further and literally became one with the universe, consciously aware of it too which makes all the difference. Meditate on the totality of life, you’ll see it goes far far beyond these petty scales we humans have so much faith and belief in.

  7. I wonder if we can create a scientific/logical-accuracy rating system and publicize it. This film is rated “R” for “Ridiculous” or “PG” for “Properly Grounded” or in extreme cases “EPC” “Egregious Pseudo-science Crime.” 😉

  8. I think it’s trying to say 10% of our brain’s potential, not literally the brain itself.

  9. I like the idea, even if it is based on a false concept. Morgan will add validity to the plot. Super hero movie? Good! Hey, I owned Ironman for 3 months before finally watching it – loved it. Loved Hancock the super hero too.
    Can’t wait to see Lucy (at home)

    • You go, Nick! I LOVED this movie, and though the concept is a little off, the movie was totally awesome. The idea was presented maturely, it does’t matter if it seems impossible. If movies were just ordinary things in our universe, what’s the point watching them, you just go outside.

  10. it’s impossible to walk like a light speed like jumper by using brains

  11. Well, I wouldn’t call Lucy a super-hero movies, she did nothing for the just. She’s just a lost young girl who believed in Morgan’s great legacy (if you’re dying anyway, pass on the MEGA UPLOAD premium account) and of course, pull some super-natural epic stun b4 she goes down.

    I think, the epic idea there was information is infinitely encoded inside of us and …. well, if u die trying, u might able to unlock it. The Korean gang IMO is just a random colorful setting for the story to take place; replaced with a dumb blonde nurse pumping wrong medication into a random patient and it would still work.

    However, being Asian and familiar with the whole Taoism philosophy, the closer you are to super-natural power, the further you are from having human-like emotions, eventually become one with the Universe. That I think could be exploit a bit further giving the fact that the story took place in an the far East.

    • Nice to see someone with an open mind. It was an interesting theory they I happened to discuss with a friend the day before watching it. Where do ideas come from? You can sot alone and literally learn something using only your own body/mind and without using any external source. Where does that come from? You look at a problem and think, how can I solve this, I better ask someone. Luke how did you do that? Oh Paul told me how to do it. Ok so follow it to the source.. Paul how did you learn to do that? ..Well, I just looked at the problem and the answer came to me. We all know someone who has been able to solve something we couldn’t and the question remains, where did he get the answer from? … Lucy was one of the best, thought provoking films I’ve seen in a long time but without a truly open mind a lot of people will miss the point. It’s ahead of it’s time considering the majority of people are still slaves to either the cyramic (god,creator) model or the fully automatic model (we’re a fluke intelligence amongst a lot of stupid chaos).. shame really, to some who don’t go expecting a ‘superhero’ movie (the ignorance displayed in OP’s description of this film as a superhero movie is astounding) then it may be a real eye opener. Namaste

  12. Went to see it. It goes beyond the typical 100% of the brain concept. It’s actually theological in a sense.
    Of course there is the “hollywood factor” but these type of movies need this, at the very least to get more people to notice the movie.

    Loved the line “Ignorance brings chaos, not knowledge.”

    Thoroughly enjoyed it.

    • That’s good to hear, and I’ve heard mixed things about the film at this point. I won’t lie, it’s a possible rental.

  13. Well I have watched the movie it’s changed my thoughts there is a deeper concept it’s not about Lucy if u watch it it’s more than than that it’s about something more witch u have to figure out as I have

  14. It’s a movie. It’s fiction. Are we to nitpick all superhero movies too, which are absolutely farfetched? I wouldn’t call it a superhero movie anyway; to an extent, it’s a philosophical movie. It’s a fun escape from reality and offers a fascinating glimpse into a parallel reality if we are willing to suspend our disbelief. I just saw the movie a couple hours ago and I loved it. I allowed myself to just go with it. It’s better than most superhero movies in my opinion. If anyone else doesn’t want to see it because it’s too “stupid” or something, that’s their loss. Just saying 🙂

  15. i’ve read all the comments so far and i would like to reply to some people. it’s okay if you don’t want to see the movie. everyone has their opinions. BUT…. can you really criticise a movie without watching it? i already saw the movie twice and it become one of my favorites. what is the point of seeing a movie that can tell you about things that can be read on the internet? i personaly want to see movies that expand my imaginasion and make me think on the things and consept it provides. also it is not a superhero movie. and i can’t understand the need to see only scientificly accurate movies… as i said you can allready read what you want on the internet. and i also believe this post is without perpuse.go see the movie and then form an opinion.. you remind me of my friend. she does not want to see the movie and thinks it’s total bullsh*t because johansson plays in it… wth

    • i forgot.for the people who might find an opotrunity to point out their superiority in grammar , english is not my native language….

    • For me, it’s less about criticizing a particular movie and more about criticizing a movie concept. One that is annoying because it blatantly markets itself in a false way. It has nothing to do with movies needing to be scientifically accurate. This post is a callout to how this irritating trend has in fact prevented me from wanting to see a movie and yes, critique it.

  16. Guys ! chill ! That’s a show, a ride, a fantasy, everybody know it’s fallacy, man i saw the movie it’s awesome, Korean mafia, action, Surprises, crazy feeling that reminds me Akira !

    If you are smart enough to disregard the plot, then you must be smart enough to let it go and enjoy the show.

  17. i summurize everything about this movie: dont try to use ur brain more …. she escaped when she use 100% …. may be u will be escape after 1%…. sooo plz stay with us 😉

  18. Just watch it for what it is. I really enjoyed it. The power of the mind is incredible, this film just expands on that theory. It is a movie never intended to be fact but with real facts entwined.

  19. These days there are more movies than ever and yet, less movies that make you revisit your thoughts, your way of thinking, your view of things, update your questionable hunger. This one is from the Matrix category – you can choose to see an action movies or to see the actual movie.

  20. @Snop1
    Hopefully, you will read this comment but, I must say that I agree 101% with you. First of all about thing you wrote up there I will quote it “what is the point of seeing a movie that can tell you about things that can be read on the internet? personally want to see movies that expand my imagination and make me think on the things and concept it provides.” Exactly. I watched movie Inception 21 times. Even though, I didn’t want to watch it on the first place, because my mother was actually been like, watch it, it’s good, and my mother and I do not have the same taste of movie(I don’t like recommendations). One day I watched it, and I stood like okay, this movie is nice, let’s see one more time the concept of it. And then again and again. Then, on the 10th watching, I used to think about concept, surfing the internet EVEN tried to do something with dreams (movie is about dreams) just because of the movie I watched. So, anyways I watched Lucy after everyone posting how “BAD MOVIE IT IS” and “The dumbest movie ever made” “And again Why I won’t Be Watching Lucy” ETC ETC ETC, it really made me think about our universe, i searched pretty much half of Google. I caught my self even thinking at least 10 times a day, WHAT IF ‘our brain was all the levels like in the movie’. Point is you can’t judge a bloody movie without watching it. If you don’t like it, leave it as is. Don’t go on every blog and say how stupid movie it is. People have different kind of Taste, one like Sci-Fi, one like Western Movies, one like Mind-Blowing movies, Drama, Thrillers & etc.. I also enjoyed every second of movie, but it’s just because I like things that don’t happen everyday, or actually does not happen at all. Epic idea of movie is, you don’t see everyday that guy kicks woman into stomach that has CPH4 in it and then spreads on her whole body, or crap, you don’t see it ever. The gravity scene in the movie is awesome, the one that everyone in the room falls, or the car drive.. it’s just amazing… so please if you people don’t like, stop flaming it. Find some other things to do instead, or go watch a better movie.
    By the way, half of my friends are exactly like your. They won’t even watch the movie, but it’s a bullsh*t to them. Even if it’s not a famous actor, or actor they don’t like.

    (TL:DR) Don’t criticise the movie if you didn’t watch it, movie concept is great, makes you actually think, if you are ‘common sense’ person.

  21. Really…? It’s hollywood … or universal. .. or sony… or paramount. .. The list goes on… I’ll admit that I find myself in the middle of a thought, of “well, that just doesn’t make sense” hmmm. Like, really… While I’m watching guardians of the galaxy? .. o wait…. daaaa, it’s ONLY a movie! HOW STUPID OF ME TO EVEN QUESTION ANY VALIDITY INTO THE MAKING OF ANY FANTASY MOVIE… … … … UM….. EVER. This happens to process somewhere in the right side of my brain, while at the same time as I’m watching this movie from the LEFT side of my brain. Nope… I missed my chance to see LUCY in the theater, but I am patiently waiting for Jan 20th to catch it on dvd. Regardless of any noses in the brown air of “too smart and perfect”, trying to prove something…. to who? Yourself? If you have to prove to yourself that you are better than this movie… you have way more issues than the “(opinion of) mistakes” that this movie holds for you personally. And anyone that ties yourself to someone else’s opinion… hmmm…. speechless I am… why can’t people just be happy for these actors? … they made more money than most people will make in a lifetime, on one job… need I say more?

  22. You misunderstood the movie, she was only able to access 100% of her brain because of the drugs that broke in her stomach. Hence why she didn’t have a seisure but instead gained superpowers you idiot.

    • I don’t think you understand what a seizure is, especially since you can’t spell it. The reason you have a seizure is because you have multiple brain functions competing at once. So if you use 100% of your brain’s functions, you start behaving erratically. If anything, you have to be an idiot to think that some drug would fly in the face of a scientific certainty like that, but whatever. It’s just a movie.

      • You actually telling me that people who get epileptic seizures are using 100% of there brain…

        • No, you don’t have to use 100% to have a seizure. The seizure is caused by competing functions, but not everything all at once. My point was that by definition, the 100% brain function thing is illogically presented.

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