Director: James Mangold
Writers: Michael Green, Scott Frank, James Mangold, and David James Kelly
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Dafne Keen, Patrick Stewart
A review by Stephanie Cooke
I’m going to start off this review of Logan with singlehandedly the best thing about it: X-23! X-23! X-23! LAURAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! How I’ve LONGED for the day when we would get to see Laura in an X movie of some sort. And boy howdy, I’m so glad it was this one, prominently showcasing her as the badass character that she is.
But let’s backtrack for a sec… although if you want, I could literally just write about X-23 for this entire review.
Logan jumps forward in time to justify Hugh Jackman looking more than a little rough around the edges since he first played the character back in 1927. KIDDING. Obviously. It was 1974. The year in the film is 2029 and some bad shit has gone down with the mutants. Wanda hasn’t said “No more mutants” in this continuity but nonetheless, something has happened and no new mutants have been born for a long time.
Logan is still as curmudgeonly as ever but MORE because he’s old now. He’s enlisted to help a young girl get to a safe haven… a girl who has some not so unique abilities *WINK*
As you can imagine, things don’t quite go as planned and there’s a corporation that really wants to get their hands on Laura and will stop at nothing to win. That’s where Mr. Robot Hands (aka the poor man’s Charlie Hunnam) comes into play. He’s the head of the team responsible for getting Laura back and is more or less pretty similar to Ajax, the villain that you saw in Deadpool.
The movie is at least 30 minutes too long. While trying to tell a story with a beginning, middle, and end, it wanders off the trail numerous times. It’s like when my parents used to take me on road trips (which is an appropriate comparison here) they would always take the scenic route and then somehow find an even MORE scenic route, which is basically just a lot longer and filled with numerous stops at craft stores. That’s what Logan was like. By the third act of the film, I was ready to scream out for my parents “ARE WE THERE YET?!” (spoilers: we weren’t)
The stuff that we get sidetracked with isn’t bad but it didn’t further (or quicken) the story along. It would’ve made for really good bonus content (deleted scenes and such) but within the theatrical version, it made the film feel like it was dragging.
The X-Men and Wolverine franchise films are movies that you associate with action and superheroes and it’s fine to slow things down a bit but this felt too slowed down. The pacing is just off a smidge and there’s too much nothing in between the excitement with not enough edge of your seat story to keep you from wondering how long you’ve been sitting in the theatre. The movie is 2 and 1/2 hours long and it feels like it.
Hugh Jackman has always been a fan favourite as Wolverine and I think he does a great job again in Logan. He loves the character and has strong ties to him and it always shows when he plays him (quality of the various movies not withstanding). In Logan, Jackman brings back that dedication and love to the role and nails it, although I’m not sure if he nails it because of his acting skills or if it’s because he’s just genuinely getting to be an older actor who’s getting a bit slower when it comes to action movies (like in the Assassin’s Creed games when you try to play as old Ezio). Mind you, the guy’s not even 50 yet so old here is relative but you know, he’s no spring chicken.
Now I get to bring this review back around to the part of the movie that you already know I loved the best: AHHHHHH X-23!!!! LAURA LAURA LAURAAAAA (picture this in a more excited version of Rocky yelling ADRIAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAN!!!). Dafne Keen plays Laura and hot diggity dog, she’s actual perfection. I don’t think I could’ve picked a more perfect Laura out myself and I think she suited the role just perfectly. Kids in movies can be hella awful sometimes (ie. Dakota Fanning in War of the Worlds) because I think people don’t always know how to write kids and directors don’t know how to get the right sort of reactions that’ll resonate with the audience. There were a couple small moments when I felt like they didn’t know what to do with Laura as a character but overall I thought she was brought to life on the big screen quite well and I hope the audience is curious enough about her to maybe even check out her rad comic books *cough All-New Wolverine cough* oh wait, coughing fit coming back *cough Marjorie Liu’s run on X-23 cough*
Logan isn’t a bad movie but it suffers very noticeably from two things: trying to be TOO EDGY (thanks Deadpool…) and taking itself too seriously. Wolverine swears way too much and I know this is a silly gripe but it was just unnecessary to have in the film and felt out of place given the times he chose to drop the F-bomb. Also, there’s one really stupid scene with a woman flashing her boobs that serves ABSOLUTELY NO PURPOSE WHATSOEVER like oh ok, that happened. It honestly just felt like they were shouting “comic book movies are FOR SERIOUS, take us seriously. Look, we show boobs!” but it really just felt like a throwback to the good ol’ days when the comic book industry catered to old white dudes. Oh, wait…
But really, related to that point, they’ve alienated a lot of their audience for no reason. Depending on how you feel about violence in movies as a parent, I would’ve said that the film is largely ok for kids (like say 8+ sort of thing) until they threw in the random boob shot and all the swearing. With that, it doesn’t feel like it’s very accessible to anyone but adults.
James Mangold both wrote and directed the film. You may remember him from Girl, Interrupted and Walk the Line and other such things that definitely fall into the more serious category as far as filmmaking goes, so it doesn’t shock me that following 2013’s The Wolverine, Logan is continuing to be dark and the most seriously serious.
I feel like Hugh Jackman is at his best in the role when there’s a Cyclops to his Wolverine or other characters to bounce sarcasm and sass off of instead of just him being broody. We have literally all of the DC movies for broody, we don’t need more.
See It! While I know my review hasn’t painted it in glorious, beautiful light (the pain in my old lady knees from sitting too long really affected my review), I still think that the film is worth seeing.
Wolverine is obviously the lead here in the film but Laura has an equally prominent role that could very definitely lead to more of the character down the line. Keen is a young actress and could potentially carry on the mantel of the character once Jackman is done with him *cough All-New Wolverine cough* for a long time and I really hope that the studio sees the possibilities there.
And with all that being said, Logan is my favourite of the Wolverine film franchise (so far).
Logan will be out in theatres on March 3, 2017.