So far, so standard sci-fi action thriller, but in fact Lucy has an awful lot more going on than that. Compared by many to the proliferation of superhero movies that currently dominate big budget cinema, the lead character in this is a lot less Marvel and a lot more Doctor Manhattan (of Watchmen fame). As the action jets from Asia to Paris, Besson is not content to just give her abilities such as telepathy and superior reflexes; the car chases are present and exhilarating, but the aim is something far more audacious. Soon, we're delving into the nature of existence and time itself culminating in a bold blockbuster finale undeniably riffing on Stanley Kubrick's 'Star Gate' sequence at the end of 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). If that doesn't sound barmy enough, just wait until you see the shimmering universal equivalent of the 'Star Child'.
Johansson is on fantastic form here, playing a hybrid of her two other standout sci-fi roles of the year - she combines the ethereal quality of her performance in Jonathan Glazer's Under the Skin (2013) with the transcendent progression of Samantha in Spike Jonze's Her (2013). Morgan Freeman provides ample tongue- in-cheek support as walking exposition provider and the knowing tone keeps things amusing even when its shooting for lofty and spouting cod scientific theory. The philosophical leanings of the final act may not be to all tastes, but Lucy's success thus far would suggest that audiences are happy to take a ride on Besson's breathlessly grandiose roller-coaster - and who can blame them?