The X-men series is a story that on many levels is close to my heart in the form of comics, games, and the 90s animated TV show. In the movieverse though, there have been some triumphic downfalls and surprising successes in Fox studios’ telling of the mutant force. This weekend, Logan attempts to breathe life back into the series, with what looks to be a different take on the hero genre. What’s the verdict? Unless you have clairvoyance as a super power, you are going to have to read to find out.
- Fresh Twist
- Comedic Relief
- Strong Character Development
- Strong Villain
- Action we Really Wanted
Summary: Fox seems to have realized that twists can be a good thing (Deadpool) and have decided to integrate the anti-hero switch-up into the mix. Logan’s (Hugh Jackman) journey dives into the darker corners of the X-Men world, to a place where allies are few and hope is practically nil. This more forlorn setting opened up avenues for greater storytelling, primarily in developing Logan as a character (which seems to have been the goal for most of the X-men movies). One will get to dive into his inner character, facing the specters that haunt the supposedly invincible Wolverine from media past. It is in this regard that X-Men finally got the villain quality right in regards to Logan being his own worst enemy. Logan’s inner doubt is perhaps one of the strongest villains this universe has known, and provides a constant challenge to the development and well-being of not just him, but the other characters of the film. And it is thanks to this that Logan has a lot more emotion packed in than other superhero films have had in the past. To my surprise, Logan has a nice balance of comedy to relieve the darker moments, timing most jokes perfectly to emphasize the simple dialogue.
Biggest relief from the “darkness” though comes in the form of the action, which finally delivers the promised fights we’ve been waiting for. That five-minute clip in Apocalypse was a sample of the high-adrenaline fights in this movie. Logan traded flashy CGI light shows for a choreographed chaos that involved blending martial arts with classic Wolverine claws. The intense dances of death, mixed with the exciting score and sound effects, will make up for much of the lackluster fights of the past and match the expectations are imaginations set all those comic books ago. And while I wanted more action (because I always do), Logan does a nice job spacing the fights out to be mostly relevant to the plot of the story. A small side note, I wished there had been a little more diversity to the fights, but it’s a small critique.
- Boring at Times
- A Weak Villain
- Language at times
- Animal Grunting
- The Psychic moments
- Unnecessary Gore?
Summary: You’re probably laughing at my contradictory statements, but Logan is a movie that is kind of boring at times. Character development takes time, dialogue, and more “peaceful” moments of not tearing someone’s throat out to do right. Unfortunately, Logan’s dark atmosphere mixed with these dialogue rich moments can drag at times. Their cross-country journey has more than a few unnecessary sequences, where detailed tangents added little benefit other than a few whimsical jokes or build up to a fight down the road. It’s not that these scenes didn’t need to be deleted, just shortened to be more relevant (and time efficient). But much like a Western, which this movie feels like, these slower, moral filled moments are the deserts that span between oases.
What also didn’t help was how the villains in this film were still kind of lame. Inner Logan is deadly, but the ranger with the metal arm and his employer’s other “elite” projects still fall into the lame category. Pierce (Boyd Holbrook) is all bark and little bite, barely doing anything but making threats and occasionally firing a gun, when his more effective lackeys were spent. It’s fortunate these bad guy roles are limited, including the mediocre twist to the mix.
The other biggest dislike is the unbalanced aggressiveness this film has with it. I know, Wolverine is an aggressive character. Does that mean we have to reduce his normally clever dialogue with an unhindered use of the F word? Apparently in this film it did, and the lazy dependence on the cursing still remains a tiresome ploy for me. In addition, this film really dipped into the animal grunting and roaring of not only Logan, but Laura (Dafne Keen) as the two continuously (and at times annoyingly) scream. Also overdone were some of the aggressive psychic moments that became drawn out sequences of torture that is both fulfilling and unnecessary at the same time. And as for the violence, Logan steps this game up (which is why the fights rock), but the level of gore involved has been upped as well. Those thinking of taking younger audience members need to note the R rating, because you’ll be subjected to maiming, decapitation, and other blood filled moments that for me really didn’t need to be to that level.
Logan is an improvement over many of the X-men films in regards to storytelling, action, and character development. Yet it’s failings for me come in the form of some editing quirks, unbalanced dialogue, and overly aggressive gore. It matches the themes of the modern graphic novels, but I felt with some balancing the movie could have been even better. I feel the movie is worth a trip to the theater though, but please think twice before taking kids to see it.
Movie Overall: 7.0