Logan (2017)

9:27 AM

Stranger Things
 Logan is directed by James Mangold (Walk the Line, The Wolverine) and stars Hugh Jackman (Les Miserables, Prisoners), Patrick Stewart (Star Trek: The Next Generation, X-Men), Dafne Keen, Boyd Holbrook (Gone Girl, Run All Night) and Stephen Merchant (The Office, Extras). "In the near future, a weary Logan cares for an ailing Professor X in a hide out on the Mexican border. But Logan's attempts to hide from the world and his legacy are up-ended when a young mutant arrives, being pursued by dark forces". Wolverine hasn't really had a solo film that has done him justice - is Logan, his one last ride, about to change that?

Wow wow wow! I was not ready for Logan to be this good. Fox’s Marvel once again execute a different, R-rated and refreshing superhero film. Logan is certainly up there with Deadpool but for mostly different reasons – it’s pretty awesome. I will be paying attention to the month of March closely now because if Kong, Beauty and the Beast, Power Rangers and Ghost in the Shell all pull it off, it may be one of the best months in recent film history. Logan has kicked off March and (kind of) the summer movie season with a bang. Brutal, ruthless, fierce, gutsy and action-packed, Logan is not for the faint-hearted but I think it’s going to please comic fans and mainstream audiences alike.

This is going to be a very positive review so I want to get the few negatives out of the way first. I found the film a little hard to get into – the opening sequence is great but the editing and pace of the first 20-30 minutes is a little choppy and felt a little messy – it had me worried. Another negative for me was Stephen Merchant – I really didn’t get his performance at all. His character looked quite wacky and crazy but he just spoke like a normal Englishman – I feel like Merchant could have done more with his performance, he certainly felt out of place. The film also doesn’t explain everything thoroughly – there are twists and turns throughout that happen very quickly but it doesn’t really make sense how/why they happened. Finally, even though he was very good for the rest of the film, Patrick Stewart’s first scene was quite cringe-worthy and I was not sold on him – however, his performance was very convincing the rest of the time so I will let him off for this weird and bizarre moment.  

Deadpool was the first R-rated superhero film – it had lots of sex, violence and crude humour. Logan is the follow up and it’s intentionally not as funny as Deadpool but it turns the violence up a notch – this must be some of the most graphic and brutal superhero film I have ever seen – I loved it. I think Fox are picking the right characters to give R-rated films – it works very well for both Deadpool and Wolverine but I doubt it would work well for someone like Mystique. I haven’t watched the other solo Wolverine films but I haven’t heard great films so I think this final outing finally does the character justice. I won’t spoil the actual action sequences for you as they should be seen to be appreciated but heads will roll, claws will go through the head and there will be blood. The action was consistently entertaining – part of that down to the shock value of how far they went but also because it was extremely well choreographed. I was also stunned by how much of the violence came from X-23/Laura – seeing a kid do all this ruthless stuff was kind of crazy (But I loved it). Another development with the action was the clone of Logan (X-24) – this wasn’t really explained so was confusing yet shocking at the same time. However, I think this film is made for more active and intellectual audiences who can put two and two together and realize that they made the clone based on all the experiments they were previously doing.

So, the action may have been brutal but the story developments went a step further – this is where the spoilers come in. They went there, they killed off both Wolverine and Professor X in one film – I thought Rogue One had balls, Logan made me rethink that. I kind of had suspicions at least one of the characters would reach the end of the road but not both! Professor X’s death was probably the most shocking because it appears at first that Logan killed him – he is killed so graphically. I thought X-23’s monologue/eulogy to Logan was well written and executed as well – some of the words had some strangely timely qualities. The back story of the kids/young mutants was also dark and brutal – I really liked the way it was told via a camcorder effect which made it feel even more real. This moment hooked me into the story and made me really want to route for the survival of these kids. I think this is one of the best ways a film has ever introduced the main plotline – it felt like an idea out of a comic book and that’s exactly what it probably was.

I’ve touched on this already but the story for Logan is very good – it has all the elements of the typical road trip film but fits them into a superhero film. The story is easy to follow with interesting developments throughout and it moves at a pretty fast pace. There are some nice, small character moments that develop relationships which I felt were necessary and effective. Especially with Professor X as he was the first to die so I think this effectively reminded audiences of his relationship with Logan and how he was father like. I also really liked the final action sequence and how all the young mutants got to use their powers – it was very cool and the visual effects were done in a unique way so they actually looked realistic.

The performances in this film are very strong – Hugh Jackman wants Patrick Stewart to get an Oscar for his performance but I would actually be pushing Jackman. This is Jackman’s career defining role and he has consistently done a great job no matter whether the material is crap or whether it is amazing (like here). This is Jackman at his best as Wolverine and he has certainly done the character justice. Without Jackman, Logan wouldn’t be anywhere near as good as it was. Superhero films live or die on their characters and whether the actors truly become those characters – Jackman has become Wolverine just like Robbie has become Harley Quinn and Downey Jr has become Iron Man. Patrick Stewart is also very good and although I think his performance is outshined by Jackman, I certainly wouldn’t complain if this treasured actor received awards for this performance and character. I don’t have too much to say on Stewart other than the fact that he is very good. I was also a big fan of Dafne Keen – this is her first major role and although it’s very Eleven from Stranger Things esque, she makes X-23 her own character. The character was funny, sassy but also quite sweet – I really liked her. What I also liked was how she actually ended up being Mexican – this was a development I didn’t expect but it worked. Finally, I really liked Boyd Holbrook as the villain – his role dwindles as the film goes on but whenever he was on screen, he did a good job.

Marvel proper does the fun, popcorn films, DC does the darker ones and Marvel Fox has created a new breed of superhero films and they are two for two. Logan is up there with The Dark Knight for being one of the most realistic superhero flicks out there – the settings, the characters, the action – it’s all very realistic. It’s exactly how you would imagine superheroes to live and act if they did exist in real life. Logan is gritty, raw and very real – the action sequences take place in forests and yards not in the middle of a big city. I also liked how the stakes weren’t too high, the world wasn’t going to end, it was all to do with the characters and their lives.

So, as you do, after watching the film, I did some research and read what others had to say about it and many people felt some political undertones – especially in the final act. The theme is immigration which is obviously a big topic in America right now – the young mutants are trying to get to the border of Canada because America is no longer safe. I’m not sure whether the filmmakers shoe-horned this in recently or whether it was always part of the plan – but who know it would become so timely? I also really liked how X-23 was Mexican and I think that was a great development, especially for the type of world we’re living in right now.

Logan is well written, intellectual and almost a perfect film – it is definitely one of the strongest superhero films I have seen. I was worried it was just going to be Deadpool 2.0 but they found ways to be once again different in a new way. The performances from Jackman, Keen and Stewart are brilliant – especially Jackman and Stewart who leave the X-Men universe on an outstanding note. There are some possible political subtones but they’re not bold enough to get in the way of the film. The action is violent, entertaining and brutal, the story is pretty dark and it all just feels very real. The more I think about it, the more I love it – Logan isn’t just good, it’s great.


What did you think of LOGAN? What character should Fox go R-Rated with next? - COMMENT BELOW

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