The latest in the long line of X Men movies, Logan, has been touted as the final curtain call for Hugh Jackman in the franchise.
The movie has been one of the most eagerly anticipated films of the year. It tells the tale of a dystopian future where all the X Men are dead. Logan is staying in hiding with an ailing Professor X until a young mutant is revealed to them who’s being followed by a sinister organization.
Now it’s time for one final adventure for Logan during which he has to wrestle with his personal demons and the legacy of the X Men. Let’s see what the film has to offer to moviegoers.
The work of the entire cast is fantastic. This is Hugh Jackman’s swan song as everybody’s favorite mutant, and he gives it everything he’s got. It’s going to be very, very hard to replace Jackman in any future installments of the franchise.
Patrick Stewart as the aging Professor X is heartbreakingly fragile, but also wise and wry in equal measure. Both Logan and the professor get more to do as characters rather than superheroes, and the film adds new dimensions to both.
X23, played by a young Dafne Keene, is a complete scene stealer. She does the impossible in terms of matching Jackman’s screen presence and holding her own, even in the action scenes, in a movie filled with many interesting characters.
And B****in’ Eyewear
Speaking of action scenes, when those do crop up, they’re incredible. The creators make full use of Logan’s ‘R’ rating to show the side of Wolverine fans have been begging for since the first X Men came out.
Fights are brutal and bloody, and there’s an atmosphere of violence simmering just beneath the surface through most of the film. The movie takes its inspiration from classic westerns like Shane, and it takes that same grounded approach to the action.
Also, since the stakes are more personal instead of a world-threatening danger, there’s greater emotional heft behind the action as well.
I STAB BECAUSE I FEEEEL!!!!
The story allows for a wonderfully intimate look at the last two remaining X Men, and the world they inhabit. This film isn’t about saving the world, but dealing with your own fragilities and regrets. It’s rare to find a comic book movie which is willing to go into the ‘Why’ of that character’s motivations rather than the ‘How’.
The entire cast moves away from the one-note comic book movie archetypes we’re used to seeing and becomes flesh and blood characters thanks to the screenplay, which favors smaller, character driven scenes over loud action sequences.
Although sometimes, the two mix
Aesthetics-wise, this is possibly the best-looking superhero movie ever made. The entire movie follows a muted color scheme more suited to the desert-like areas it takes place in than the comic book panels of the usual superhero movie.
You can see that director James Mangold was allowed to bring in his own distinct vision for the way the film looks rather than being forced to follow a cookie-cutter approach to set design the way most Marvel movies have to.
There Goes our last Chance to see Jackman in the Yellow Spandex Suit
What Doesn’t Work
There’s lots of talky-talky bulls**t. I get that the director was going for meaningful dialogue over comic book-style exposition, but you can’t help but feel the movie should’ve been half an hour shorter. This is a very ambitious film, and the problem is it often seems to be in danger of crumbling under the weight of those ambitions.
It wants to be a character-driven drama. It wants to be a superhero action blockbuster. It wants to be a bloody western. It wants to act as a bridge between the old X Men movies and the next chapter of the franchise. There’s a subplot about a corn syrup conspiracy that… no, seriously, that’s actually in the movie.
The point is, Mangold is good with the small, intimate scenes, but the overall narrative often seems to be stretching beyond its reach.
And sometimes, the film goes all Terminator on us
This film is not for younger fans of the X Men movie franchise. That’s the trade-off for getting to make a bloody wolverine movie. In the past seventeen years, the X Men franchise has built up a massive fan-following in every part of the world and in all age groups.
But this film contains themes and scenes which are entirely unsuitable for younger minds. This means young fans of Wolverine will have to wait a few years until they are old enough to watch and appreciate Logan.
Yeah, those are X Men graves. Sorry, kids.
This is a grim film, and occasionally borders on being overly self-important. It’s trying so hard to distance itself from the superhero movie genre that it goes so far as to dismiss the actual source material of the X Men comics as made-up fairy tales in one of the scenes in the middle of the movie.
The result is several stretches within the movie which feel empty and joyless, and just not fun. That’s a problem when the vast majority of the audience expects a summer blockbuster film instead of an examination of the prospect of aging and losing the things you hold dearest.
Like the ability to go to the Bathroom on your own.
Logan serves as a fitting farewell to Wolverine and Hugh Jackman’s long association with the character. It’s a beautifully made film which has the best chance of grabbing an Oscar nomination since the Dark Knight.
It also marks a sharp departure from the way comic book films are made. The changes may not work for everyone, but no one can deny the sincerity of the effort that went into making the film.
In a lot of ways, this film is the spiritual sequel to last year’s Deadpool, in the sense that it manages to show how great and distinctive comic book movies can be once they’re freed from the shackles of a PG-13 rating and entrusted to the singular vision of an experienced director and cast without undue studio interference.
This is a guest post by Neeraj Chand Who blogs at Some Thoughts and Things.
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