We are very pleased to bring you this review of LOGAN by Brandon Troy, co-creator of the Movers and Shakers Unlimited public access show on Cox 11. He also writes film and pop culture reviews for Reel Film News.
17 years ago, there were few people who knew of Hugh Jackman; flashing forward to 2017, there are few who don’t know who he is, thanks largely to his impressive stint as Marvel character Logan, a.k.a. Wolverine (or James Howlett for the hardcore fans). While 2013’s THE WOLVERINE, the previous installment of Jackman’s solo run, split fans and critics in terms of supporters and detractors, few can deny the dedication Mr. Jackman brought to the character and the influence the actor has wielded upon the superhero movie genre at large. With all that said, is the third time a charm for Hugh in his third (and “final,” according to his interviews) outing as the Adamantium-laced character in LOGAN? Let’s find out, shall we?
Adapted from a character who originally began his career in Marvel Comics as an Incredible Hulk villain (that’s right), Wolverine arguably became the face of the superhero team known as the X-Men, especially after the movie franchise kicked off in 2000. In this third entry of the character’s spinoff solo franchise, we learn that the year is 2029; in a dystopian future, the mutant population (remember them?) is all but extinct. Logan is holding down a job as a chauffeur while living with ailing X-Men founder Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) and fellow mutant Caliban (Stephen Merchant). Hints in their interactions tell us not only how Xavier has tragically come to be in Logan’s care, but also why the typically indestructible, rapidly regenerative Logan is in such bad shape. To make matters more complicated, Logan and company also unexpectedly find themselves looking after young fellow mutant Laura (Dafne Keen), currently being pursued by dark forces. At first glance, it may not be clear why she is being hunted; the evidence presents itself after a particularly brutal action sequence displaying her abilities.
First, the good. There are so many things about this film that work – which, in hindsight, makes it incredibly bittersweet to know that some of the actors involved have gone on record saying they won’t be coming back. The performances provided not just by Hugh Jackman, but also Stewart and Merchant are top notch. The chemistry between these actors makes you believe these characters have been out in the desert for years, working together to “scrape by.” Despite the incredible performances provided by the cast, it is the young Dafne Keen who stands out against the veteran talent. Though she is provided with the least amount of dialogue of any character in the film, she speaks volumes using only her facial expressions and her movement.
In addition, thanks to an R-rating this go-round, the film is satisfyingly brutal in all the ways many Wolverine fans have dreamed about. Again, with Jackman saying goodbye to Wolverine, it’s hard to see the character so fully realized (even more than before) knowing he will likely never don the Adamantium claws again. That said, I hope Keen is kept on to continue the story of Laura, aka X23 (look the character up!).
Now, to the bad. As stated before, I believe that this film was incredible, but still – no film is perfect. My first issue came with the collection of villains pitted against Logan. While I understand it can be quite difficult to create an obstacle for a character with Logan’s abilities of regeneration, it’s still unfortunate to see actors like Boyd Holbrook and Richard E. Grant (who portray antagonists Pierce and Dr. Rice respectively) given so little to do. Additionally, it was frustrating to not only see the common plot device of cloning used to give Logan the necessary challenge needed (you’ll know what I mean you see it), but also to see a character’s story arc recycled (again, you’ll see) when it has been done before in the franchise.
All in all, LOGAN is definitely a must-see for those who have followed the character’s cinematic journey in the X-MEN movie franchise over the years, but also for casual fans who simply enjoy a great movie.
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