In the 2007 version of “I Am Legend,” Dr. Neville does manage to create a cure and successfully passes the cure to a survivor named Anna (Alice Braga) and a young boy named Ethan (Charlie Tahan), and hides them in a coal chute in the back of the lab after a group of Darkseekers tracks them all down. The Darkseeker alpha male breaks through the glass of the lab, and realizing that the cure is more important than anything else, Neville sacrifices himself, killing the Darkseekers in the process, by unleashing a grenade. The cure, Anna, and Ethan are able to make it out to safety because of his sacrifice and pass the cure off to the military stationed at a survivor’s camp, so a balance on Earth could ultimately be restored.
To put it kindly, the ending of this adaptation of “I Am Legend” is a pretty basic interpretation of a Hollywood hero’s ending. Neville is a flawed character with seemingly nothing left to live for who gives up his life to save the rest of the world, a means of somehow atoning for the mistakes he feels he’s made in his life. The individualist actions of one man were enough to completely change the course of humanity, which sounds great on paper but is ultimately a gutless ending compared to the intention of Richard Matheson’s original novel. Fortunately, “I Am Legend” did film an alternate ending a lot closer to the source material, which seems to be the route Akiva Goldsman is going to take with the upcoming sequel.