Monday, March 6, 2017

Logan - Movie Review

The Movie: Logan

The Director: James Mangold

The Cast: Hugh Jackman, Dafne Keen, Patrick Stewart, Boyd Holbrook, Stephen Merchant, Elizabeth Rodriguez, Richard E. Grant, Eriq LaSalle, and Elise Neal

The Story: 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.

The Review:
Hugh Jackman has literally been the face of Wolverine and figuratively the face of the X-Men franchise for nearly two decades and now, after eight feature films, this will be his final turn as James Howlett aka Logan aka Weapon X. Fans of the character have been asking for a darker, more violent take on the character ever since the first X-Men film debuted so James Mangold, who also directed the previous Wolverine movie, was asked to come up with a story and to direct the eventual movie that would accomplish that goal. Yes, this movie is more violent and we get to see Wolverine using his claws to stab, chop, impale, and dismember just about everyone who crosses his path with evil intent. The bad guy this time around is a mercenary named Donald Pierce, played by Boyd Holbrook, who has no shortage of nameless henchman. These henchmen, called The Reavers, seem to be ready for a chopping spree either from Logan himself or from a young girl known as Laura, played perfectly by newcomer Dafne Keen, who has some very familiar special abilities, almost like she could be a clone of someone we know really well.

For me, the young Miss Keen is easily the highlight of the movie as her character is almost literally a silent killing machine which is made even more intense by the fact that she is only eleven years old and makes for a nice contrast against the much older Professor X, played one final time by the one and only Sir Patrick Stewart. While it was great to see him take on the character one more time, I didn't really enjoy seeing him barely clinging to what is left of his life and, for no other reason than the film's R rating, spews a constant stream of profanity that, for me, feels very excessive and out of place. Just because the film is intended and rate for mature audiences, that's no reason to have him dropping more "F bombs" than Andrew Dice Clay and this thought process seems to carry over to the rest of the film as well.

A lot of people have been raving about the story although, for me, it was pretty basic and, at times, seemed like it wasn't quite sure where it wanted to go or what it wanted to accomplish. Once Logan is introduced to Laura, a pretty clear goal is put in place to get her to North Dakota as quickly as possible so she can reach a secret safe haven called Eden although the path to get there gets muddled and sidetracked multiple times basically because Logan is angry about how far he is past his glory days. Apparently, what people have been wanting to see is Logan old, drunk, and losing his powers because that's exactly what we get which, for me, just wasn't that appealing. Sort of makes me glad I didn't read the comics that this version of the character is based off of.

At this point on my review, I have to take a step back to make sure I'm not being too negative because I really did enjoy watching this movie. Where the film truly shines is during the action sequences and fight scenes as things do get pretty intense and we get to see those famous adamantium laced claws do what they were intended to do. Even with all the high flying action, things never really get out of hand and it all makes sense given the context of the story and characters established in this world. Speaking of the world we see in the film, it is set in the year 2029 and supposedly in an alternate timeline than what we have seen in any of the previous X-Men films thus creating a sort of standalone story much like what often takes place in the comic books so I guess that makes it okay.

The Verdict:
Logan is a really good movie that isn't without it's share of faults, but fans of Wolverine and the X-Men should enjoy just please be very cautious about showing it to kids as there is a lot of profanity and the violence definitely helps to earn that R rating everyone is so excited about. Dafne Keen as X23, is a pure joy to watch on screen and I really hope we get to see more of this character in some fashion. Mixing a film noir style with the super hero genre didn't totally work for me this time around but I see what Jackman and Mangold were trying to accomplish in sending the character on one last ride into the cinematic sunset and I'm totally okay with it.

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