Feels like it’s been a lifetime since we saw a young Hugh Jackman fight in a cage, doesn’t it? If you don’t feel the same, the first X-Men film will apprise you. Forget and forgive everything you know about the X-Men movies, for the latest installment in The Wolverine trilogy Logan does so too. Starting off on a clean slate, it exposes the woes of a troubled and isolated man who seeks to run away from his past.
Let’s just say Logan isn’t the superhero film we thought we needed, but the rather westernized on-the-road intense drama we deserve!
Pulling a familiar ‘The Dark Knight’ quote, it goes unnoticed that the two films bear a great resemblance: like Christopher Nolan’s film did to the Batman series, Logan stands tall as the franchise’s resurrector.
With nowhere to go after revisiting the past three times in the prequels, the film takes a leap into the future, all the way to 2029. Age proves it’s past being just a number and has caught up to the former X-Man. He finds himself dissolving into a world that has left mutants in the past while living a life with booze and a chauffeur gig. All that for a retirement plan with the former fatherly figure, ex-Professor Xavier, who has become more senile over the years.
Interrupting their supposedly happily ever after is the deadly X-23. Also named Laura, the familiarly fan-loved child mutant holds a similar personality and a gene pool to Logan. With her in the picture, his instincts not only kick in, but set himself on a path of which there’s no return. Based loosely off of the infamous comic book ‘Old Man Logan’, the film takes us on the hero’s journey to see things through, on one last ride.
The story fleshes itself out on a road trip you wouldn’t want to find yourself backpacking on. Finally playing fair is the degrading world around the dynamic duo. Bloody and cruel intentions, you better watch out if you have hemophobia, children or if you are under the age of 15. That and the characters’ newly found filthy mouths, their actions are justified as and when they cross paths with the people responsible for mutant extinction and try playing God in the name of monetary gains.
The idea with this final chapter was to give this overly used, loved character a send off like no other. Like all of us, director James Mangold understood that, and gave Logan one last shot at redemption. The R rating allowed them to the break ground rules and explore uncharted avenues, focusing on his pure rage and seclusion. Logan’s fearful reputation gave his opponents a reason to walk in the other direction. Moving forward
to a time where there’s more to life than “snikting” things up, he tries to find his way back into the light. Mangold also uses that same shot at redemption wisely for himself, after making a mess of things back with The Wolverine.
In the wake of this tonal shift were the expectations that come along with any action blockbuster. With the film’s budget being more than marginally lower than its predecessors, we are barely exposed to stylish cinematography and action settings that have lifted many blockbusters and aesthetic films today.
The unembellished feel works in the film’s favor but costs our excitement on occasions with outdated fist fights that probably were a thing a few years ago.
Logan still has time, and Mangold knows it. His adversary in The Wolverine said immortality is a curse, and how true it is. Facing real loss over the course of nearly 200 years, the bearded devil gives up on himself and the prospect of loving again. But his mind and spirit aren’t the only things that are slowing down his ticking clock. (That’s it on that, a reminder that this is a NO SPOILER review). Where there is hopelessness and despair, lies the will to do better and Logan goes full throttle towards what’s most precious to him as he travels with Laura and Xavier.
The X-Men’s winning pitch was mankind’s fearful fascination with mutants. The idea of dreading our own kind who are a little more extraordinary paved way for more comics and eventually, more films. Logan builds up on that and takes everyone to a place where they are almost extinct, apart from the remaining few. One of the best things about the film was seeing them as more of an endangered species that needed to be marveled at.
It only takes two films to realize that James Mangold is a director who uses his past films to levera ge his current stuff. Logan is the movie-child of 3:10 to Yuma and The Wolverine, an epic collection of the best moments in the western and swashbuckling action film. As unfavorable as that may sound, there will be times where you are going to forcefully enjoy some of it, especially if you’ve seen those two films.
With the characters taking themselves more seriously as the plot thickens, Patrick Stewart’s Xavier occasionally clears the air with his one-liners. These infrequent laughs put the reputation of his character at risk unless you have a taste for such acquired comedy. Fortunately, the same cannot be said for the others, especially 12-year-old actress Dafne Keen’s silent Laura, who delivers more through her eyes for nearly two-thirds of the film. Beating the number of onscreen portrayals of a superhero character is Hugh Jackman who has been seen slicing things in 8 films over 17 years!
Through thick and thin, the Oscar-nominated actor has seen things through even when the directors of these films couldn’t.
Being kept out of Marvel’s reach for almost two decades, 20th Century Fox has called finally come to terms with the outcome of its overly milked franchise. The money builder needs a replacement and Ryan Reynolds’ Deadpool is the perfect fit, for now.
Logan has paved an emotionally rocky path for our beloved character that proves to be most fitting. With an emotional farewell to someone we’ve enjoyed watching growing up, writer and director James Mangold has proven that superhero films are worth more than just being action blockbusters. Holding itself amongst other greatly acknowledged film dramas, you best brace yourselves right now if the film wins an Oscar for something other than special effects.
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