Movie Review: Logan

Movie Review: Logan

Director: James Mangold

Starring: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Dafne Keen

Release Date: 01.03.17

In the near future, a weary Logan cares for an ailing Professor X somewhere on the Mexican border. However, Logan's attempts to hide from the world and his legacy are upended when a young mutant arrives, pursued by dark forces. – Courtesy of IMDB
Logan.jpg

Big, bad, brutal but sad


Let’s be honest, the X-Men have had a rough break. Though most movies have been fun, they’ve always sank below the mighty weight of ‘real’ Marvel movies in theatres. Certainly, the majority of X-men flicks have left me unimpressed to say the least.

However, when the announcement trailer for Logan dropped, my bum squeaked with delight. I was, and still am, a huge fan in the Old Man Logan comic series that depicts an old, rough and beaten Wolverine in a damaged and villainous USA. As the title suggests, it’s not a story about Wolverine, he died long ago. Instead it’s a story about the broken man who is left, Logan.

The exact same dark and gritty feel from Old Man Logan seemed to be mirrored in Logan’s trailers and sneak peaks, and so, it was ‘all aboard the hype train’.

Logan isn’t an X-Men film, it isn’t a film about superheroes saving the day, and it isn’t even a film about Wolverine. Logan is the story of the ‘after’. The heroes have lost. Gone are the heroes that the world relied on and villains now run rampant. Pretty much everyone that we know and love is dead – all aside from a hollow Logan and his old dying friend, Charles Xavier.

The cinematography is nothing special, far from sloppy but I didn’t find myself staring in awe at the fantastic camera motion on screen. Perhaps the only exception is during fight sequences.

Logan is a film that shows Wolverine how he should be – brutal. With a hero who can detract foot long, unbreakable metal claws from his knuckles we expect to see the odd cranium being punctured. And boy, do we see some craniums get punctured…

If you’re squeamish I could suggest that you avoid the fight sequences in Logan, but I’m not going to – that would be criminal of me. The fight scenes are really great, and okay, cinematography is good, but I put the majority of the movies fantastic action down to the choreographers and the directing. I didn’t rate The Wolverine much, also directed by James Mangold, but Logan is a clear demonstration of his talent and lessons learnt.

”Acting sold the characters and in turn, sold a story that felt so real.“

Don’t expect a fancy superhero story here. Logan is a broken and completely shattered man. No comical sarcastic comments come from him. Instead, the perfect amount of comedy that genuinely made me chuckle comes from other characters, often the practically senile Charles Xavier. It sounds odd, like it shouldn’t work, but it does. It’s important to stress that the comedy is fun, but subtle, retaining the dark, gritty and almost hopeless tone.

Acting is spot on. Of course, we expect nothing less from Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart, but even Steven Merchin does a great job in his role as Caliban. I was also impressed with the acting of young actress Dafne Keen who plays a young mutant under the loose protection of Logan. The majority of acting sold the characters and in turn, sold a story that felt so real.

My only fault with the film is the slight predictability of the narrative. Don’t get me wrong, the narrative is great, but occasionally we understand how various film elements will affect the story. I felt as if some moments were dragged out – I know the bad men are coming so don’t act like it’s a big surprise. Although this sounds like a major flaw, I still found that when it eventually did ‘kick-off’ it was still engaging and my frustration instantly vanished.

Logan is a sad film. More emotional than other Marvel, and certainly X-Men movies. From start to finish we understand that Logan has frankly had enough. I totally understand why. This is a guy who has been through wars, been betrayed by his lover and his brother, the guy who killed the woman he loves for the greater good, seen all of his friends die and the guy who, after it all, is still alone and still unhappy – The first thing we hear him say is “Fuck”, that says it all. Logan never had a happy story or a happy ending and that’s a theme that runs throughout this film.

In fact, I find the story of Logan similar, in some respects, to the narrative of The Last of Us or Telltale Games The Walking Dead.

Logan is a gritty, dark movie that doesn’t hold back from gore or intense emotional scenes – A beautiful shot of Logan just simply crying is perfect, and shows us the extent of how broken the strong and powerful character that we once knew is. It’s a fantastic ending to Hugh Jackman’s time playing Wolverine. Emotionally raw, wonderfully told and beautifully executed, Logan is a film that is not worth missing.

Rating

90%

Highlights:

+ Immersive action sequences
+ Fantastic acting
+ Emotional, dark and funny

Let Downs:

– Some drawn out scenes
– Occasionally predictable

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