Francis Lawrence’s I Am Legend had the potential to be one of the greatest post-apocalyptic action movies ever made, but the desire to send audiences home happy resulted in a painfully weak ending that undid all of the great work that the narrative had been building towards. The first hour in particular is phenomenal, with only a single character and his faithful canine companion on screen, and hardly a word of dialogue spoken as viewers adapted to the eerie setting of a deathly silent and overgrown New York.
I Am Legend would go on to earn over $585 million at the box office, reaffirming leading man Will Smith’s reputation as the biggest drawing card in the industry, but he also gives one of his best performances in the first two thirds of the movie before it devolved into standard action-driven histrionics characterized by the questionable visual effects used to bring the infected humans to life.
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The ending, in particular, is a bone of contention for many fans, especially when the one found in the Director’s Cut is vastly superior. In theaters, I Am Legend concludes with Smith’s Robert Neville sacrificing himself to save the cure for humanity. However, the alternate conclusion sees Neville realize that the infected have seen him as the villain of the piece after he’s spent so long capturing their kind and performing experiments on them.
Of course, studios aren’t keen on the idea of ending $150 million blockbusters on ambiguous conclusions that paint the hero in shades of grey, so the lesser version won out in the end. There were talks of a potential prequel or sequel for years, but neither has come to fruition just yet and as such, I Am Legend fans will have to make do with this new fan-made trailer for now, which comes from YouTuber Billy Crammer and is really rather impressive.