It’s about dang time I reviewed an X-Men movie huh? There is a perfectly reasonable explanation for this: I don’t care about the X-Men (the comics, the characters, and the films). Ok, “don’t care” is a bit much. For what they’re worth, these characters have a huge following, and their films (which range wildly in quality) have started many careers and had a major influence on the superhero industry. They maintained a darker tone than most other superhero flicks (largely due to complex characters and clever social commentary), and they persisted through many ups and downs in the genre. However, I was never that engaged with the films, especially the horrid ones. For me, the tone isn’t dark enough (like The Dark Knight or Watchmen) to dive into the really gritty stuff; or it was never lighthearted enough to be an enjoyable action flick (Doctor Strange or Captain America: Civil War). Considering that this is Hugh Jackman’s final outing as the character, they have to do something phenomenal. Something that will keep the audience on the edge of their seats. Ladies and gentlemen, I bring you Logan; one of the best superhero movies of the 2010s.
Logan is directed by James Mangold and written by: James Mangold, Scott Frank, and Michael Green. Stars-Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Stephen Merchant, Dafne Keen, and Boyed Holbrook. Premise-Set a couple decades in the future, an aging Logan is trying to take care of a crazed professor X in the Mexican border. By a twist of fate, he finds a young mutant running from unknown evil who desperately needs his help.
James Mangold also directed The Wolverine, which was a major improvement over its predecessor, but I can’t help but think he was held back by studio demands. One of those demands being a PG-13 rating. The first thing I have to bring up is the: tough, no holds barred, brutal, not at all for kids, R rating. Thank you Deadpool for being a faithful adaptation that grossed over $700 million. Companies are finally growing a pair and can bring us proper portrayals of comic book violence without the fear of poor box office returns (note, I am aware Deadpool is not the first R rated comic book film). It only took 17 years for us to see the Wolverine chopping up people with the realistic amount of gore and blood. Yes, the action scenes in Logan are incredible. Flawless stunts, kinetic (without being annoyingly shaky) cinematography, gruesome sound design, and violence that makes Deadpool look tame. One scene in particular… oh my gosh. It takes place in a hotel and is a Triple M. Basically, I have not come across a scene that kept me suspended in anticipation for over 3 minutes! You’ll be able to tell what scene I’m talking about by the editing, sound, and Marco Beltrami’s awesome score. By the time it was over, I didn’t notice I was holding my breath! That never happens! This movie is worth watching, twice, for the action alone. Not to say that the story is lacking.
There is a surprisingly large amount of emotional depth in Logan. It’s no secret that this character is the most developed out of all the movies, is the most popular, and has been a major source of drama for the franchise. I’m impressed with how personal this movie gets with the character. This may be Hugh Jackman’s best performance as Wolverine since the first two films. There are many scenes with no dialogue, just Logan. We see the wear and tear on his body and how emotionally conflicted he is. It makes for one heck of a protagonist I’ll tell ya. The supporting cast also shines. This is Keen’s first film, and she’s fantastic. Most of the time, she doesn’t speak, and she has great chemistry with Jackman and Stewart (who is also top notch). This is probably the best child performance I’ve seen since Raffey Cassidy in Tomorrowland (hey look at that, strong female characters that are not remakes, who’d have thunk it?). Sadly, this film is not perfect.
There are a few “characters on the run” clichés that take you out of the experience. Particularly a decision (an obviously dumb one) that happens during the second act that you can predict the end result of. It’s a shame because that is a seriously important/dramatic part of the movie, but they used a boring cliché (one that was used in X-Men Origins!) to set it up. The next problem the sheer amount of question marks I had when I left the theater. There’s about 29 unexplained plot points (regarding the past, supposed atrocities characters committed, secret locations) that I’m sure will be explained in future installments. But, I’m left clueless as to what is going on for most of the time. Honestly, I’d prefer if they left all the details to the wayside so they could focus on one specific conflict rather than try to tell 15 stories at once (looking at you Apocalypse). The biggest problem is the villain(s). There are two of them, and they are both clichés. I’d tell you what tropes they are, but that would spoil the film. Just know that these guys are forgettable and largely unimportant.
There is no doubt about it; Logan is not to be missed. If you want action, it’s here, if you want character development, it’s here, if you want a dang good cinematic experience, it’s here. Logan gets Guy’s Guru Grade of an A-. On a side note, I may not be producing as much content for the next month or so. Basically, I have some major college decisions to make this month, and my emotions are in utter turmoil trying to figure it out. I’ll still be getting at least one review published a week (as doing this allows my mind to focus), but the projects that I wanted to finish last month are being delayed so I can sort other things out. Thank you.
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X-Men Movies Ranked
X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)-B-
X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)-D-
X-Men: First Class (2011)-B
The Wolverine (2013)-C+
X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)-B+
Deadpool (the X-Men contribute enough to the story to be called an X-Man film) (2016)-A-
X-Men: Apocalypse (2016)-C+