A fitting send off to two of the most beloved mutants in the X-Men Universe.
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Logan is a 2017 superhero western directed by James Mangold, written by James Mangold, Michael Green, and Scott Frank and stars Hugh Jackman, Sir Patrick Stewart, Dafne Keen, Boyd Holbrook and Stephen Merchant. The film tells the tale of Wolverine and Professor Charles Xavier as they attempt to keep a young mutant safe from a severe external threat.
I am going to try to the best of my abilities to not spoil any part of this film for anyone. I made a conscious decision to watch only one single trailer before I went in to watch this film. I refrained from reading any reviews or watching anything else related to the film. I can strongly say, that the approach I personally took is the best approach to take before watching this film. The lesser one knows about the film, the better, as it leaves room for a few surprises and compelling plot elements.
Logan is a very well made film. The Wolverine movies began by being unspeakably bad and their last hurrah is much better than one could expect. The film deals with complex themes and characters. Explaining those themes, however, might ruin the impact they may have on the viewing audience. A conscious choice has been made here to not go as far as to mentioning what those themes might be. As the film has fewer characters to juggle when compared to your everyday X-Men film, it gives itself time to develop the ones it has. The trio of protagonists are given ample character depth and that is saying something when you remember that we have been watching Wolverine and Professor X since the year 2000. There are new stories to tell and room for characters to grow, as long as a sure-handed person is behind the camera.
The film plays out more as a western than a run-of-the-mill superhero film. James Mangold takes the route that The Dark Knight took and makes the superhero aspect of the film an afterthought as he attempts to tell a full fledged story which does not need superpowered characters to make it compelling. There are clear influences from everything ranging from Unforgiven to The Road. The superpowered characters only add to an already compelling narrative. The performances are great to serviceable but never go into the territory of being bad. The film has some brilliantly shot and edited action sequences which are primed to fill the audience with a sense of tension. The fight choreography can’t be called exemplary because there is no hand to hand combat sequences but the film earns it’s hard R rating by its mastery at being a visceral viewing experience. The score is quite apt even if it may seem a tad too overbearing.
The film’s primary downside is its running length. At a specific point, the film slows down. It does not grind to a halt but its pace moves from running to crawling. The film never quite recovers after this sequence has passed too. There is a strong feeling I had of the energy being sucked out of the film and only a spurt of it injected (literally and figuratively) back into it as it is sent towards its climactic scene. The climactic scenes do play out very well but a tighter edit before they happen might have helped the film be more impactful. The film also has a little too much foreshadowing for my taste and maps the ending out for the audience well before it actually gets to it. The film also throws away a pretty impressive twist at a junture with low stakes, I would have liked to have seen it done better but alas, this might be a personal take and might not affect the overall perception as much.
That being said, I do not deal in hyperbole. I’m not one who believes that by saying “This is the best superhero film ever made” so that I can get a point across to a higher degree. I’ve seen people deal in hyperbole when Star Wars: The Force Awakens came out and those same people have done a good deal of retreads as the film has aged. So going by the same logic, Logan might not be the best comic book movie ever but it is a damn good one. I still rank The Dark Knight and X-Men: First Class as my favorite superhero movies, but Logan is one film that aims for the upper echelon of cinematic excellence. I appreciate 20th Century Fox for being ballsy enough to let it’s directors make films with their own unique visions. There might be a few duds here or there but that approach also leads to truly memorable films, unlike a certain studio which likes homogenizing its universe. I’m sure the audience at large would revisit films like Logan or Deadpool or X-Men First Class way before then they would revisit Avengers: Age of Ultron, Suicide Squad or Captain America: Civil War.
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