David is, bar none, the most likeable character in Prometheus, beautifully played by Michael Fassbender in a subtle and sensitive manner that makes his underlying intentions all the more foreboding. That is, until one realizes three-quarters of the way in that David’s underlying intentions make absolutely no sense — at all. It is revealed in the final act that Pearce’s Peter Weyland has stowed away on the ship and has been calling much of David’s shots while in dream stasis. However, this still doesn’t entirely clarify a few of the droid’s actions, specifically why he infects Charles and Elizabeth with black goop taken from the stolen ampoule.
Did he know they were going to have sex? Was he settling some kind of robot grudge against Charles (who, by the way, seems to be the most unimpressed scientist in the goddamn history of the world)? Did he know the engineer was going to freak out and kill Peter Weyland (he does say at one point, “Don’t all children want to kill their parents?”) and did he orchestrate the whole thing? Is he in love with Elizabeth Shaw? What the hell is with all the Lawrence of Arabia stuff? And, finally, why does David seem so far more advanced than Ash or Bishop, despite the fact he predates them by several years? (Actually, I’d like to apply that last question to all the advanced technology of Prometheus within the context of the Alien series, but I’m afraid the anachronisms would make my head explode.)
None of it is made clear, but Fassbender’s skills as a performer manage to override the inconsistencies, making me root for David to crush the puny, one-dimensional humans of Prometheus. Yes, even Shaw — Fassbender’s ability to add layers of meaning to a raised eyebrow or a sideways grin more or less make David the most multi-dimensional character in the cast. It is too bad his motivations are never, never once clear (his experiments on Shaw and Charles can be chalked up to “fucking around”), thus keeping him from entering the elite cyborg upper-echelon of a Bishop, Roy Batty (Blade Runner), or T-101 (Terminator). Thankfully, with Fassbender’s acting chops, I rest assured David isn’t lagging far behind. Perhaps his role in Prometheus 2 (it’s happening people, let’s just face it) will elevate him to the big leagues. Until then, David’s potential will be tainted by sloppy, all-too-vague writing.
The same can also be said of the Space Jockeys, or, as Prometheus dubs them, the “Engineers.” One thing I do admire about the film in context to the creatures is that Scott manages to keep their mythos within the Alien universe largely intact. Their LV-223 is a testing ground for biological weapons, just as LV-426 seemed to be one for the Xenomorph (itself, a biological weapon). In both cases, the weapons got wildly out of the Engineers’ control, crazy shit went down — I assume the Xenomorph rampage remains of the Alien derelict will be explained in Prometheus 2 (again, it’s happening people). But what the hell happened on LV-223 that killed all the Space Jockeys?
Did they kill each other? Did a biological weapon get out? Was it some sort of variation on the Xenomorph? Was it something in the ampule room? What’s the deal with the worm things? Why did that one engineers’ severed head explode? WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON!?!?
I kept waiting and waiting and waiting for someone, I don’t know, maybe the scientist protagonists or the super-intelligent droid, to come up with some sort of concrete explanation of exactly what went south for the engineers’ of LV-223. Instead, I get Idris Elba, the blue-collar ship captain, postulating out of the blue that the weapons got out of control. No shit, Sherlock, but how?