Set in 140 A.D., the adventure finds Marqus Aquila (Channing Tatum, just as good-looking as your girlfriend says and just as bad of an actor as you think), an officer in the Roman army, out to cleanse the tarnished legacy of his family’s name and late father, who was last to hold the cherished (and titular) standard when his legion went missing 20 years earlier. So Marqus, after some words from his uncle (Donald Sutherland), with his slave Esca (Jamie Bell) by his side, seeks out the eagle in Northern Britain.
What follows is a lot of trudging through filthy streams, forests and fields. Eventually Marqus and Esca track down the eagle, held now by the Seal People, and launch a chase that culminates in a finale with lots and lots of swordplay but very little bloodshed (remember, PG-13).
Few people, especially those under 14, likely went to see The Eagle for anything other than the grand action that the trailer emphasized. But the camera gets so close to the blades and armor during the battles that the choreography--which we can assume great effort went into--can’t fully be appreciated and so excitement is lost.
If the story sounds vaguely familiar, it turns out that Kevin Macdonald’s The Eagle is sort of an accidental companion piece to Neil Marshall’s Centurion (2010), which told of the Ninth Legion’s disappearance that pushes the plot here. Neither is worth the time, but an uninspired 9th-grade history teacher may find them useful when it comes to covering that section of the textbook.
The Eagle: The Making of a Roman Epic (12:12): This is a standard promotional piece that uses interviews, clips and on-set footage to provide a look into the story and making of The Eagle.
Alternate Ending (4:38): Here, the eagle standard is given a much different sendoff.
Deleted Scenes (6:23): There are two here: one with a chariot race and the other a moment between Marqus and Esca.