Last Sunday my sister and I watched the latest installment of the X-Men series Logan in a movie theater packed to the brim with teens who seemed honestly fascineted for the entire 137 minutes. And yes, I know, I’m kind of late to the party, but let’s get into it, shall we? Spoilers ahead if you haven’t watched the film…duh!
As expected, the film starts out with a bang. The audience barely gets 30 seconds before the action smacks them off their chairs.
And that’s how we like it.
Being used to the bloodless PG-13 predecessors to the Wolverine story, I was surprised, to say the least, by the brutality and gore that infuse all of the film’s action sequences. Surprised in the best way possible. After all, how can you have a badass anti-hero with BLADES coming out of his hands but still not spill a single drop of blood? That just seems silly, doesn’t it? So I am very glad that finally superhero films have been taking the R-rated route. And while Deadpool remains the most famously R-rated comic book adaption Marvel gave us in recent years, Logan thankfully doesn’t resemble it in the least.
It wouldn’t fit either for our hero Logan to constantly run his mouth and throw as many (sometimes unnecessary) curse words into his speech. Logan is the epitome of no-nonsense after all. Instead the movie chose to focus on character and psychology – a refreshing take that I absolutely welcome being that recently every Marvel and DC film is disappointingly similar.
Our protagonist is dying; he knows he doesn’t have much time left. And while he has always been portrayed as a loner, these days he really doesn’t waste his energy on anyone but the people he loves. Unfortunately, only one of those people is still alive: Professor Xavier. But since domestic bliss – more or less – never seems to last for the X-Men, they encounter a Mexican lady and a girl in trouble and are consequently sought out and chased after by a section of the government. Logan learns that the girl, Laura, is actually sort of a test-tube baby mutant, a secret government experiment (called X-23) with genetic similarities to him. With the help of quite a bit of Los Monetos he is persuaded into taking Laura to the Canadian border in hopes of finding a safe haven for her and other children involved in this experiment.
Like I said, the action is brutal but exciting, well choreographed and well shot. The more quiet scenes that let the audience have a glimpse into character development and motivation are quite well written and, of course, acted. Brilliantly complementing each other, the fast-paced action sequences and the in-depth exploration of the characters ensure that the movie never feels boring or bland.
Not everything about this film deserves praise though. We know that Jackman and Stewart can act and Dafne Keen and Stephen Merchant surprised with their solid performances. The villains on the other hand just weren’t convincing at all. While the appearance of Dr. Rice, played by Richard E. Grant, seemed entirely unnecessary, Boyd Holbrook’s Donald Pierce was as one-dimentional as they come. He was little more than a dummy plot device, an entity for Logan and Laura to antagonize. I couldn’t care less when he was living it up as a C-grade villain and I couldn’t care less when he was killed (although, yay teamwork!). Plus the whole ‘I’m a government employee so I do what I’m told’ type of character motivation is SO. ANNOYINGLY. UNINSPIRED.
Many of us who have seen the film and are also into gaming do find quite a few striking similarities between Logan and Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us in terms of the story arch and the characters. Salt-of-the-earth kind of guy who’s heavily pushing the upper end of ‘middle-aged’ is tasked with safely transporting a girl (who is, for one reason or another, crucial to a group of people) to a safe haven across country, in both cases that means a dystopian version of the US in the not too distant future. Over the course of the story the guy starts to feel responsible for the girl and turns into a father-figure for her. In the end, she survives while those who dare to stand in her way meet a swift end delivered by the guy.
I thoroughly enjoyed this film from beginning to end. Never a dull moment, great story-telling and exciting action make it certainly worth watching on the big screen. 8/10