James Mangold’s follow up to 2013’s The Wolverine has been garnering huge critical acclaim. I’m just not sure why.
Logan, is a dark, violent tale of an older Wolverine, in a dystopian future, devoid of mutants who are now largely extinct. The story is as deep as a puddle, Wolverine and Xavier have to take a mutant kid across the country,to keep her away from evil scientists. That’s it.
Hugh Jackman reprises the role he is most famous for, with Patrick Stewart as Charles Xavier, Stephen Merchant as Caliban and a woefully underused Richard E Grant as Zander Rice. Boyd Holbrook as Donald Pierce, leader of the Reavers was great and I now really look forward to seeing him in Shane Black’s The Predator.
It’s not that I hated Logan. It’s just that I found it bland and uninteresting. It was a retread of better films and better stories. It wanted to be The Last of Us, Mad Max, Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns, Children of Men and about fifteen different Westerns. Wearing it’s influences so blatantly invites comparison too easily. Why should I care about this movie when I’ve already seen, read and played the things it’s copying?
A lot has been said regarding the R Rating and Hugh Jackman’s paycut to ensure the gore and violence stayed in. This certainly is a brutal, more visceral affair than we’re used to from an X-Men film, something more akin to The Punisher or a Tarantino film, unflinching shots staying on some serious carnage.
I also found the constant digs at brightly costumed adventures and slating comic books to be a bit daft especially in the age of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Those jokes were ok 17 years ago. But we had a comic accurate Spider-Man take down Giant Man last year. Hugh Jackman with grey hair and a black jacket is hardly going to wow us now, especially knowing we will never see him in a real Wolverine costume.
The cast were superb and deserved a better story. Jackman as Logan is iconic and remains the best screen portrayal of any comic book hero, he simply is Wolverine. Young Dafne Keen as X23/Laura is brilliant too, giving a Millie Bobby Brown level Breakout performance and surely ensuring herself a career in the process.
I did like elements of the movie, the direction was brilliant and the film looks gorgeous. The rumours of a black and white cut would definitely add to that. I also really enjoyed the scenes of Logan and Charles, playing off their history. The family meal with the Munson’s particularly hitting home.
One thing I really didn’t like, was the attempt to saddle Logan with a child. Charles Xavier tries to get across how Logan has never been able to have a family or love anyone, and he needs to learn to love Laura. This would have been fine if that wasn’t Logan’s story arc in: X1,2,The Last Stand,(Jean/The X Men), Origins (Kayla), The Wolverine (Mariko/Yukio). You get my point. He finds it hard to love. Oh wait, hes found out how to open up to people. Every damn time.
One thing that I found funny is that Donald Trump’s Mexican border wall is fully in place in this film. Trump hadn’t won the election yet during production so a funny nod turned into a sadly ominous future.
Entering spoiler territory, I found the ending to be a bit of a letdown. The climactic battle came across as an empty remake of X Men The Last Stand. Logan in the forest fighting faceless villains. I also couldn’t stop thinking of Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, with Mel Gibson and his gang of Lost Boys style kids. X24 was basically a repeat of Weapon XI from Origins too. I get the whole thing of symmetry and showing a progression, but it didn’t work. It tries to elicit an emotional response based on films you’ve seen before, which is lazy.
All in all, Logan is a letdown. It’s not boring, but it is hollow and just didn’t connect with me. I didn’t expect Old Man Logan, but I certainly didn’t expect a poor riff on Children of Men.
Logan is in Cinemas now.
For Fans Of
Children Of Men
Mad Max Fury Road
The Last of Us (PS4)
Batman V Superman