Logan

logan-movie-poster

Release: Friday, March 3, 2017

[Theater]

Written by: James Mangold; Scott Frank; Michael Green

Directed by: James Mangold

Logan is a robust superhero film and probably the most violent one we have encountered since Deadpool(Lest we forget that that movie was more than a comedy.) But even in the context of superhero films that have been slapped with the dreaded R-rating, this, The Passion of the Wolverine as it were, doesn’t really feel like a “game-changer.” It just feels like a very angry Marvel spin-off.

Logan is undoubtedly the most masculine movie yet in a universe that’s decidedly male-dominant. The testosterone pumping in its veins is unleashed in lethal doses. Sir Patrick Stewart drops (a surprising number of justified) f-bombs, while Hugh Jackman does his best William Poole impression, butchering his foes with psychotic fervor combined with the anger of ten thousand suns. The film follows a familiar cat-and-mouse blueprint wherein the aging man of adamantium must avoid letting a newly discovered, young mutant fall into the clutches of yet another Very Bad Man, this time, Boyd Holbrook‘s genetically enhanced Donald Pierce.

Fortunately, gore and bloodletting isn’t the only thing the movie excels at. It’s not merely escalating violence that signals the end is nigh. James Mangold successfully elevates the stakes with the way he situates his characters in the narrative. The odious stench of oppression recurs and is reinforced through brilliant location scouting that takes us from one pocket of solitude to another, from the gritty southern US border to the thick pine forest of North Dakota. It’s all the more impressive how real the threat feels given how familiar such tension has become.

Jackman’s ninth and final appearance finds him hobbling and coughing and spluttering around in 2029, a time where mutants are near extinct. A virus produced by the Transigen Corporation, for whom Mr. Pierce works as an enforcer, has played a large part in the crumbling of Logan’s world (and to a less narratively important but arguably just as emotionally significant degree, that of Charles Xavier).

Gabriela (Elizabeth Rodriguez), a nurse from that very corporation, intercepts Logan in Texas and urges him to get a young girl named Laura (Dafne Keen in her first film credit) to safety. The destination is a place called Eden, where supposedly other young victims of Transigen’s terrible experiments are being taken. Logan is loath to cooperate when he discovers that everything he is being told can be found in the X-Men comics. It ought to be noted that in a film so dour, his cynicism is relatively hilarious.

Logan finds a little more levity in the semi-antagonistic relationship that has crusted over between Logan and Charles. Both are now textbook geezers, though Logan is far more gruff and more prone to fits of rage. Charles is suffering from seizures that wreak havoc on those unfortunate enough to be in the vicinity of his powerful mind. Arguably the biggest (and most welcomed) surprise is that the film manages to still find new depths to explore with these well-established characters. Though the hope and promise that once defined the apprenticeship is long gone, the sense of familial responsibility has never been stronger.

That’s a theme supported by Wolverine’s recognition of a new mutant who seems to be more like him than he would care to acknowledge. Laura, who bears the same aberration in her hands, regards Logan as a father figure of sorts, in part by design and in part due to a natural gravitation towards someone who shares in her own uncontrollable rage. The young actor is memorable in a role that’s all too light on dialogue, a role that requires a diminutive physicality to suggest echoes of a young James Howlett.

Perhaps it is this dynamic that makes Logan “feel different;” we haven’t yet considered the Wolverine as a potential father figure. Between that and the downright shocking violence (particularly the conclusion), something that I’m either not seeing or giving enough credit to has struck a chord with audiences and critics alike. I’m not quite satisfied that Logan‘s superior craftsmanship qualifies as wholesale innovation.

The struggle to stay one step ahead and to avoid becoming exposed (again) is the sum total of what Logan‘s plot has to offer. This is yet another glorified man-hunt. This is Midnight Special more than it is The Dark Knight. But sophisticated writing matters less when the film’s true appeal lies in the emotive, in the opportunity Logan provides both diehards and casual fans alike to say their goodbyes. After all, this is a character Jackman has spent the last 17 years molding into something he can proudly call his own. He will be surely missed. Why does that sound like an epitaph?

hugh-jackman-sir-patrick-stewart-and-dafne-keen-in-logan

3-5Recommendation: It’s a bittersweet send-off for an iconic character, but a game-changer this most definitely ain’t. You’re going to want to call a babysitter for this one. Because another thing Logan ain’t is kid-friendly. 

Rated: R

Running Time: 137 mins.

Quoted: “Nature made me a freak. Man made me a weapon. And God made it last too long.”

All content originally published and the reproduction elsewhere without the expressed written consent of the blog owner is prohibited.

Photo credits: http://www.impawards.com; http://www.imdb.com 

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20 thoughts on “Logan

    • I have had a similar bust with Kong lately haha. Still it’s been good because there’s been a bunch of good stuff on Netflix I’ve been sorting through, so that’s refreshing. Logan’s intense! I think you’ll dig it a loooot

  1. I really liked this (the review and the film), more than I was expecting to be honest. I thought the interplay between Jackman and Stewart was great, while the final few scenes were nicely handled.

    • a-HA! At least you admit you weren’t prepared to like this review! We appreciate your honesty Mark. 😀

      I thought the film was good. But overall I couldn’t tell you this felt much different than a Midnight Special with much more violence. But in the context of superhero films, that’s quite the honor, right?

  2. I think we are on the same page here mate. This: “It just feels like a very angry Marvel spin-off.” sums it up pretty succinctly I think. It has its moments emotionally, but yeah its just another man-hunt film to me.

    Also with you on the youngin’ who played Laura. She was fantastic!!

    • Yeah just read your review, and I have to say that jumping into the franchise this late in the game might be a bit weird. You certainly wouldn’t have the sort of emotional connectivity to the character as others would. But interestingly your experience offers a litmus test for Logan as a stand-alone X-Men film as well as a stand-alone film period. If it didn’t fully grip you or convince you it didn’t quite work 100%. And for me it all felt familiar. I wasn’t seeing this “game-changing” quality several top critics have been eluding to. But it’s whatever. I did think it was a step up in terms of general quality. But the violence was the most memorable, for better and for worse.

      • Yeah, I didn’t consider having connected with the characters in past movies. I just read that it was decent, saw the rating and thought I’d give it a shot. I’m sure I’d get a lot more out of it if I see the older films.

        Still not a fan of the action though =/ What I liked most though was the dark story. Its easily the most interesting narrative I’ve seen in one of these films, tho obviously my experience with them is limited.

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  5. Great comparison to Midnight Special! That’s totally what this movie reminded me of and I couldn’t put my finger on it.

    • Yeah it’s a man-hunt type thriller that just immediately came to mind. I can’t believe Logan is getting compared to TDK. That to me is silly.

  6. I opted out seeing this one Saturday. I would have gotten home way too late #oldAge and the film just didn’t really appeal to me at the time. I might get shot for this, but I’ve never been a huge X-men fan. That said Hugh Jackman is iconic in this role and it is sad to see him go. Great review as usual, Tom!

    • You’re younger than me! Your review nails a lot of what I feel. I wouldn’t watch it again. I really hope they don’t ever remake Wolverine as Hugh Jackman is him. I did like the comedic touches that Laura has. Acting like a young girl one minute and then getting all mad and violent the next.

      • Not sure if you’re talking to me or Natasha here, but I agree! Hugh Jackman has utterly owned the role since the day he stepped into it. Can’t believe that is 17 years ago…..

        Also, yeah, I’m with you re: not watching it again. It’s a good enough movie but to me, not a ‘fun’ one.

  7. I have to admit that even after 9 films I’m sad to see the character go. And what a boost to Hugh Jackman’s ego that he has managed to convincingly play a character who doesn’t age for 16 years.

    • I’m starting to think Hugh Jackman is more ageless than the character. It is bittersweet watching him bow out, I agree.

    • Thanks. Probably a good call. Theaters are gonna be overrun with Wolverine fans for the next little while I think.

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