XCU Film Retrospective: Logan (2017) by James Mangold

logan.gif

  • Directed byJames Mangold
  • Starring:
    • Hugh Jackman as Logan | James Howlett | Wolverine | X-24
    • Dafne Keen as Laura | X-23
    • Sir Patrick Stewart as Charles Xavier | Professor X
    • Stephen Merchant | Caliban
    • Boyd Holbrook | Donald Pierce

Synopsis: 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. (IMDB)

The Good: (Where do I even begin?)

  • Perhaps my favorite comic book film ever: For years, that title has gone to The Dark Knight. Over time, I’ve come to realize that it was due solely to Heath Ledger’s performance. The rest of that film, while good, did not leave a mark the way Heath’s Joker did. Then 2017 happens and we get this film that transcends the genre. This is a road trip film, a western, and a post apocalyptic film. The writing is phenomenal. The cinematography is fantastic. The performances are incredible. I’ve seen this film three or four times now and I would gladly watch it a hundred more times. Honestly, this is my favorite comic book film of all time.
  • Hugh Jackman: he is giving RDJ a run for his money because he put so much sincerity into this performance and, I know it’s unlikely, but if ever there was another performance in a comic book movie to earn an Oscar nom, I think it’s this. A lot of this film is on his back. I felt every emotion he was conveying on screen as if they were my own. The scene where he has to bury Charles was particularly notable. This is a film that would not have worked if Hugh Jackman wasn’t a talented performer. He was compelling, captivating and powerful when he needed to be. Could not praise his performance more.
  • Dafne Keen: I’m unsure if this is her first role but she was fantastic as Laura! Admittedly, several of us comic book fans were expecting an adult Laura were we ever to get one. However, X-23’s introduction in “X-23: Innocence Lost” was amazing and she was introduced as a pre-teen so this makes sense. Dafne did a great job as Laura and this was not an easy job to do; especially for a child actress. She had to be fierce, violent and in the first half, she can’t use words. She had wonderful chemistry with Hugh and Sir Patrick Stewart and I really felt for her character. I’m really hoping we get more of her in another film.
  • Wolverine and X-23: I really like the dynamic we got between them. It’s an incredibly realistic take as it wouldn’t make sense for Wolverine to be 100% on board with being a parent. Seriously, he tries to leave her every chance he gets but eventually comes around to keeping/protecting her. Laura and Logan had the same issues with agency and being forced into violent situations and it was interesting to see Logan try to help her reconcile that aspect of her past.

    Laura: I’ve hurt people too.
    Logan: You’re gonna have to learn how to live with that.
    Laura: They were bad people.
    Logan: All the same…

  • Which leads me to:

    Logan: Take your friends and run… They’ll keep coming, and coming… You don’t have to fight anymore. Go… Don’t be what they made you. Laura.
    LauraDaddy.
    LoganSo… this is what it feels like.

  • The ending: This was the final send off to Wolverine and it was heartbreaking. Laura’s speech, Wolverine dying to protect mutant children, the X over his grave. All of these elements made for the perfect farewell and I think it couldn’t have been more respectful to the character.
  • Charles and Logan: This was both the funniest and the saddest film for Charles and Logan’s relationship. They’ve had their ups and downs with Wolverine often disagreeing with Charles’ more passive stance. In this film, Charles is suffering from seizures after a particularly bad one lead to the deaths of several mutants at the mansion. It’s an incredibly sad scene when he finally speaks out about it to who he thinks to be Logan. In this film, they have several comedic moments and you can see how much Charles means to Logan. It made losing him that much harder.
  • Fight choreography: Because Fox seems to think Logan is the only marketable mutant, we’ve seen hours of Wolverine fighting people. Honestly, it seemed the only way to change it up a little was to add more blood and give it an R rating. That being said, the addition of Laura made this something new. She has a completely different and more competent style of combat and it was something to see a tiny child taking down all of these grown men. The fight choreography, particularly in that scene where the Reavers come for Laura, was fantastic.
  • Cinematography: I have yet to watch the Noir version but it’s easy to see how the theatrical version lends itself to one. In a film that relied a lot on Logan’s silent contemplations, we needed this style of cinematography. There are several shots of Charles, Laura and Logan watching the world go by their windows. Even the shots inside Charles’ water tower were beautiful. So much effort went into making this a different film from the other X-Men films.
  • Laura: I said a lot of this in Dafne’s portion but Laura is a fantastic character. I love her in the comics and I was looking forward to seeing her on screen. She gets labelled “female Wolverine” all the time but they’re quite different. Laura went through experimentation, painful transformation and then she continued to be held as a weapon. Because we come into Wolverine’s story much later in life, we see him after he gained his independence with flashbacks to before. Laura’s story is told in a slightly similar way but Logan starts months after she was freed. Laura is independent, headstrong, protective over others and she’s a kid. Seeing her smile and laugh at dinner for what was probably the first time ever was amazing to see. I just wanted to protect her.
  • Logan: The decision to do Old Man Logan was a bold one. I think a lot of people expected yet another Wolverine film where she found bad guys and cut them up for reasons. Instead, we see Wolverine age. The reading glass, the illness, the pus growing over his claws… all of it made for an interesting insight into Logan’s future. Again, Hugh played this so well with the frustration, the growling, the Adamantium bullet. Logan was in such a low place at the start of the film and then we get the knowledge that Charles knew about the bullet he was carrying around and told Laura to keep him alive. The saddest thing is that Logan knew he and Charles would probably never actually make it to the Sunseeker but he spent years working to buy the damn thing anyway.

The Bad:

 

Is it a recommend?

Definitely. I literally have nothing bad to say about this movie. It made me laugh, smile and cry at the end. It gave us a unique X-Men story after years of repetition. I loved Laura and hope to see more of her soon (perhaps with Daken?). It was a wonderful send off for a beloved Marvel character and I could not say more good things about this film.

Score: 10/10

“A man has to be what he is, Joey. Can’t break the mold. There’s no living with the killing. There’s no turning back. Right or wrong it’s a brand. A brand that sticks. Now, you run on home to your mother… you tell her everything’s alright. There’s no more guns in the valley.”

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