Lucy is about 10% as smart as it wants to be, which makes it about as dumb as an average audience; after that its main job is to keep things moving fast enough that the average audience won’t go “Hang on, that doesn’t make any sense.”
This is one of these days when Luc Besson finished doodling on the beermat, held it out at arm’s length and said “Nah, I’m going to keep this one.” It never struck me until I saw it in another article about the movie, but most of Luc Besson’s own movies, as opposed to the stuff he jobs out to Olivier Megaton and the like, have got a strong woman protagonist. Nikita, The 5th Element, Léon, The Messenger; even Adele Blanc-Sec. Let’s not go crazy here; I’m not saying they’re great women characters or anything. But they’re fun and they’re strong and they’re not just eye candy getting kicked around by the plot till the hero shows up.
Scarlett Johansen has to pretty much carry the whole movie; none of the men have anything much to do than be interchangeable cops and bad guys, except for Morgan Freeman, who’s there to explain the science. Not even Morgan Freeman can sell the science, not that Besson’s making it any easier by making the science a constant cutaway from the action. Scarlett is having the worst day of her life, and we keep cutting to Morgan Freeman desperately trying to sell us on the idea that we only use 10% of our brains and that we could rule the world if we used all of them. The action’s great; the biggest weakness of the movie is that the more it turns into 2001 a Space Oddyssey, the less space there is for Scarlett being a stone cold badass. Luc Besson taking time out from badass heroines is like Michaelangelo laying carpet in the Sistine Chapel.