Friday, March 3, 2017

Movie Review: LOGAN

Logan is the latest X-Men spinoff film featuring Wolverine and is the final film for both Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine and Sir Patrick Stewart’s Professor Xavier (or so they say). Set in 2029, we meet up with an aging and weakening Wolverine who has a job as a limo driver while attending to the ailing nonagenarian Charles Xavier. The conflict of the film arises when Logan (or James or Wolverine) encounters a woman and a young girl and becomes intertwined with their quest. James Mangold returns after The Wolverine to direct this film which stars Jackman, Stewart, Dafne Keen, Boyd Holdbrook, Stephen Merchant, and Richard E. Grant.

My overall takeaway from Logan was that this film was dramatically better than previous Wolverine films and a generally poignant conclusion to the storylines for Wolverine and Professor Xavier. However, it failed to really break the mold set in most X-Men storytelling and do something different to engage me as an audience member. What I think this film does most successfully is present an interesting concept (I feel like I’ve written this for each of the Wolverine films) coupled with some incredible performances, beautiful cinematography, and a generally emotional story.

Logan sets out an interesting premise meeting an aging Wolverine in a less vibrant (but not quite post-apocalyptic) future as he grapples with life and slowly losing his powers (or at least having them wear off). It also shows Professor X grappling with different struggles that are similarly caused by aging. We haven’t really seen the struggles of aging intelligently or effectively tackled in in a superhero film before. The way this film uses those to set up the basis for the story and works those issues into the broader narrative really worked. In the past, the Wolverine films have struggled to bring an interesting premise together into an effective final product and I’m happy to report that Logan does manage to use this effectively which made me a very happy viewer.

The next key thing that made this film what it was were the focal performances. Jackman and Stewart absolutely bring it in this film and give their characters the brilliant send offs they deserve. Hugh Jackman brings a lot of emotional depth and layers to his character that have ruminated as a result of his consistent work as the character for the past seventeen years. There is one scene in the film in particular that is one of the best Jackman has delivered in any film in his illustrious career and that was great to see. Sir Patrick Stewart, who has also been portraying Professor Charles Xavier for seventeen years, also brings a lot in this film. He has to present a massively different version of his character in this film and does so impeccably well. In addition to doing something very different, he also managed to maintain the core heart of his original character which made this work all the more and gave the film a quality weight that was significantly impactful.

In addition to the performances, Mangold and cinematographer John Mathieson bring stunning western-esque cinematography to the film. This looks very distinct from any X-verse film released prior to its benefit. I loved the way different shots are assembled and the starkness and richness captured as the moment called for it making the look as much a character as any character in the film.

Finally, the film managed to tell an emotional story. By pulling on simple plot points and plot cues, Logan managed to strike a chord with me as an audience member effecting me emotionally, particularly at the films conclusion. It also managed to use emotions to give character development to the newly introduced X-23 (or Laura) who might have been a really ridiculous introduction if done improperly. By finding all the right notes to hit with respect to the audience’s feelings (as opposed to their thoughts), Logan manages to get people to accept it on a deeper level.

Logan is a very strong film but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t leave this feeling a bit underwhelmed. Maybe it was the expectations developed by the trailers. Maybe it was my expectations due to the massive love I’ve been hearing for the past couple weeks. Maybe it was the fact that people keep saying this goes beyond the comic book genre (one of the most ridiculous statements in these modern times but that is a discussion for another day). I’m not sure exactly what the cause was but I think the film falls into quite a number of typical X-verse storytelling traps and, frankly, undermines itself with some questionable choices.

The first real problem is that it falls back into typical X-verse storytelling, especially with the villains. This is not, per se, a bad thing. However, in a film with as different a set up and design as this one, to do the exact same thing we’ve seen time and again felt tired and frankly depleting. I didn’t need to see something I saw in this film again (because I have seen it before) and I just felt so let down by a film that I thought was going to take a different route and that arguably should have taken a different route.

The other issue with this film is that it undermines a lot of what it does with some weird inclusions and moments. I can’t get into this without spoiling but there are several beats that are robbed of their impact by how they’re executed and different things included in or around those moments. I also thought that the way the main conflict works out similarly felt off-balance, especially with the tone set out in the rest of the film. Finally, the character of Caliban, though reasonably well acted, didn’t fit in this movie at all and really detracted from the film whenever he was around.

Overall I think Logan is a good movie and one of the better films in the X-verse. I don’t think it breaks the barriers many a critic and fan are saying it does. It delivers to us, for the first and last time, a good Wolverine movie and that is worthy of praise but to set this alongside the best in the comic book genre or say that it pushes beyond it would be, to me, incorrect.

Ryan’s Score: 8.5/10

Make sure to check us out and like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram for all of our reviews, news, trailers, and much, much more!!!

No comments:

Post a Comment