Review: Logan – Not the best there is

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LoganI’m a decades-old fan of Wolverine. I’ve loved the character since his first one-panel appearance in Incredible Hulk #180, way back in 1974. I was very worried when Hugh Jackman was first cast as the big screen Wolverine, but he has fully embodied the part and made it his own (even though the actor is quite larger than the iconic comic-book character.)

With the latest X-film, Logan, it’s sad to see Jackman go; as this is, allegedly, the last time he’ll don the adamantium skeleton; and what a big disappointment his swan song has turned out to be. A Wolverine movie you can’t even bring your kids to is a crime against all of human and mutant kind.

There is a time and place for gratuitous blood and gore and unlimited F-bombs, but a superhero movie isn’t it; let alone a film featuring one of the most beloved heroes in all of popular culture.

I fully understand that Wolverine is not Captain America or Superman – he’s not America’s (or even Canada’s) Boy Scout; but he is still an honorable and dignified hero – and on that note director and screenwriter James Mangold (together Scott Frank and Michael Green) went completely off-track in his portrayal.

With the alternative timeline(s) tweaked by the events in X-Men: Days of Future Past and X-Men: Apocalypse, it’s hard to say for certain when and where the story of Logan actually takes place. It’s set in the future after mutants have started disappearing and there has been some sort of disaster on the East Coast, caused, apparently, by Professor Charles Xavier’s crazy psychic powers.

Another of this film’s failings is that it leaves a lot of blanks – like what actually happened to get us to this point in the story – that could have (should have) been filled, perhaps instead of the excessive, bloody battle sequences.

Logan (Jackman) is driving a limo in this semi-apocalyptic world, drinking heavily to ease the pain from his diminishing healing ability, a situation made worse by adamantium poisoning; and he’s hustling for drugs to help quell Professor X’s (Patrick Stewart) world-threatening dementia.

The albino mutant, Caliban (Stephen Merchant), is also helping to nursemaid the Professor when their lives are disrupted by mutant-hunting cyborgs called Reavers, led by a particularly slimy fellow, Pierce (Boyd Holbrook), and his boss Dr. Rice (Richard E. Grant), who are after an escaped young clone of Logan, Laura (Dafne Keen), a girl who has his same mutant abilities and adamantium claws.     

The story is very loosely based on Mark Millar’s “Old Man Logan” comic series, which had a slew of characters that don’t belong to Twentieth Century Fox, so they just made do with what they had.

LoganThere is a ton of action in this movie and Hugh Jackman is the best there is at what he does, and what he does here is certainly not very nice. It’s Wolvie’s key catch phrase, but after seeing it play out on screen, I think it was better left as just words.

Just because “millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror, and were suddenly silenced” doesn’t mean you necessarily need to see that.

There is stuff here that I liked. The “Shane” film references were cool, and I loved the way the film wraps at the end, also very awesome. (And I swear I didn’t shed a tear…because there’s no crying in superhero movies, right? RIGHT??)

Jackman and Keen are great together as Wolverine and X-23, and Patrick Stewart also delivers a fantastic final (?) performance as Charles Xavier.

That said, the movie still goes way unnecessarily overboard on the foul language and the violence, and I don’t get what they were trying to prove with all that. We already know Wolverine is a badass, we know what he’s capable of, so gratuitously putting it on screen and in your face doesn’t do a thing for us – at least it didn’t for me.

I would have been so much happier with more drama and exposition regarding the world Logan is living in, than to see (again) that he can put his claws through someone’s skull and tell them to go “F” themselves.

This is such a disappointing way for Jackman to leave his signature role; and if you want to take your little kids (or even teenagers) to see this new superhero flick, I strongly recommend against it. This film seriously earns its “R” rating. Logan is definitely not Wolverine at his best. Grade: 6/10

Photos © 2017 Marvel and © 2017 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

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