Sunday, March 5, 2017

Logan Review

It's dark, somber, morose, and left me dead inside. And I loved it.

First off, can I just say that so far 2017 has just been producing home run after home run for great movies? I mean, It's only the beginning of March, but outside of the obvious dreck that was 50 Shades Darker, I can count way more great movies than bad movies this year.

Anyway, Logan! So can we be honest and say that there are really only two or three good X-Men movies? I mean, I know that I already have the deck stacked against me when it comes to liking a superhero movie, but no one I've met has ever said to me that they were massive fans of the X-Men franchise. In fact, X-Men has always been one of those franchises that has a great allegory at its core with a cool concept, but has been let down by just mediocre execution. The 90's cartoon? Bored me. The games? Okay at best. The films? Well you either get the fairly good X-Men: First Class, or you get the abysmal and forgettable X-Men Origins: Wolverine. But there's never been anything that sold me that the franchise and concept could be truly something special.

It was with that mindset that I sat down to watch Logan, already aware of the damned good trailers advertising this movie. Whenever you get Johnny Cash's "Hurt" for a trailer, you know that the movie is going to be an experience. And lo and behold, we have not only a great swan song for Hugh Jackman's Wolverine and Patrick Stewart's Professor X, but we have most likely one of the best movies of the year.

Now normally I would go into a plot summary about the movie, but I'm opting out of it this time because the plot really just boils down to an escort mission. Logan needs to get a girl from Mexico to North Dakota while being hunted by military goons and scientists. It's so simple that I've joked, and righteously so, that this is really just a film adaptation of The Last of Us. A cruel and unfair world where the main character needs to get a girl to a specific location while meeting some fairly hostile people and a few allies? Just give Joel some claws and you'd pretty much have The Last of Us.

I don't mean that as a bad thing though, because unlike nearly every other superhero blockbuster on the market, there's one huge factor that differs this from any other big action movie; genuine character development. A majority of the movie is spent just watching Logan, Professor X (who is suffering from Alzheimers), and a quiet girl that's actually X-23 (yes I know her name is Laura, but when the trailer goes to show off her claws and fighting abilities, I'll call her by her superhero name to spread awareness of the character, thank you very much) just drive together. We see them go to convenience stores, a casino, a lake, all of the places that you'd expect them to travel to.

Make no mistake though, this isn't a buddy-comedy, road trip kind of movie. This is a hard R rated movie for a reason. There's profuse cursing. There's incredibly gory decapitations. Hell, even though this doesn't necessarily apply to violence, there's a scene where Professor X just mentally breaks down at the fact that he can no longer truly control his powers, endangering both his friends and loved ones. This is a truly bleak movie. There's hardly any joy here, and the movie is gut wrenchingly effective at making you feel for Logan and what he's going through.

Wolverine was always a character that I think was a lot less cool than what people made him out to be. Yeah he's had some great stories, but outside of The Wolverine back in 2013, he never really had a chance to shine in the movie. He's a glorified cameo for most of the new X-Men movies, and the original trilogy had him in a featured role, but was usually just dragged out for a couple of cool action scenes. Admit it, you remember Wolverine because of his great action scenes moreso than the actual character, which is perfectly fine, but Logan gives the man both fantastic action scenes and a powerful and effective storyline.

Everyone in Logan gives a fantastic performance, make no mistake about it. Patrick Stewart gives the most effective take on Professor X I've ever seen, making him into a tragic character that I felt so much for. X-23 was also a immensely fun character to be around, if only because for a little girl, she was able to kick so much ass and cause probably more damage than Logan does for the entire movie. Even the bit characters are three dimmensional, like Caliban, who helps take care of Professor X, and... well that's it really. The film has an incredibly small list of named characters. I mean there are two villains that get named, maybe even three, but they're really only there to provide action scenes in between the drama. 

If I did have one major issue with the film, it's that it's a long sit. Running at over two hours, I felt like checking the time after a certain amount of time. I mean, you can only watch three character drive around for so long, right? But the more I thought about it, the more that I thought that while it is still a bit too long for my taste, that extra time isn't necessarily a bad thing. Is it really a criticism when something you like is too long? I mean yes, it does feel like Logan and Professor X repeat the same scene with each other about four times over the course of the movie, but the rest of the length just served to enhance the tone and the character dynamics. 

Now I'm not going to spoil the ending for anyone reading this because I'm not some horrid monster that likes to intentionally piss people off (I do that with my scores), but the last five minutes of the movie were just beautiful to watch. Powerful, honest, and all around devastating, the ending actually felt like that; an ending. La La Land may have touched me with it's ending and left me in awe of what I saw, but I got the same reaction from Logan... only this time, it was for trying to fight back manly tears. I could feel my heart sink as I saw those last few moments, and this is coming from someone that doesn't care about Wolverine as a character or the X-Men franchise. When you can make a non fan emote for a character they had no interest in two hours ago, then the movie did it's job damned well. 

What else do you want me to say about Logan? It's a heart breaking, gory, violent thrill ride that left me thinking that it's already one of the front runners for best movie of 2017. Everyone involved in this movie did a fantastic job, and now I'm compelled to replay The Last of Us one more time. 

Also, the Deadpool 2 preview in front of Logan was brilliant and one hell of a good time. I may have been mild about the original Deadpool, but here's hoping to seeing some great comedy now that all of the origin junk has been taken care of. 


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