Sunday, March 5, 2017

Review of LOGAN: Mutants in Mangled Misery

March 4, 2017

Hugh Jackman had been playing the Marvel character Wolverine for 17 years. He was in all 3 of the original X-Men films, as well as in the 3 reboot X-Men films. He also had his own trilogy, of which this one "Logan" is the final installment. He has also announced that this would be his final film as the savagely powerful, self-healing mutant with deadly claws in his knuckles. Honestly though, we really did not need to be convinced to watch this. 

It is 2029, mutants are already a dying race. Logan (aka James Howlett, aka Wolverine) is working as a limo chauffeur to make ends meet. He is looking much older now, his body weakened by the same adamantium that made him a deadly killer. He is constantly drowning his pain and misery in alcohol. He, along with the photophobic albino mutant Caliban, is taking care of Professor Charles X. Xavier, whose powerful mind had now been overtaken by senility and violent seizures. 

A mysterious female child named Laura had been thrust into Logan's care by a violent turn of circumstances, a child with more in common with him than he'd accept. As Logan rushes to deliver Laura far northward from Mexico to North Dakota to a mutant haven called Eden, robotically-enhanced mercenaries called the Reavers, aided by Logan's own angry clone X-24, were breathing down their necks to prevent them and the other mutant children from crossing over into Canada for safety. 

Hugh Jackman gave what could be a rare Best Actor award-deserving performance of a superhero. We knew him as Logan well from all his past films so we completely feel his suffering and misery here, and Jackman, in all his gnarled, leathery and angsty best. He is not healing well anymore, so we see him broken, vulnerable and mortal. No other actor can touch his definitive portrayal of this character anymore. As a bonus, Jackman also plays his younger wilder clone X-24 --so we also get to see him doubly berserk, furious and savage. 

Patrick Stewart merits a Best Supporting Actor award here in a Shakespearean portrayal of Prof. X, reminiscent of King Lear and his decrepit senescent madness, a piteous wretched shell of his former self. 12-year old child actress Dafne Keen gives a disturbingly intense performance as Laura, with feral bloody fight scenes other kids her age cannot even watch (legally, that is). She also nailed her quiet emotional scenes quite effectively. The villains played by Richard E. Grant (as Zander Rice, head mutant engineer) and Boyd Holbrook (as Pierce, leader of that Reavers) could have been written to be even more menacing.

Probably because this is already the last Wolverine film with Hugh Jackman, the director James Mangold really went all out in the action and fight scenes. We are finally shown in graphic detail the full extent of the damage what those adamantium claws can inflict on a hapless human body. From the very opening sequence with the car-jackers to the final encounter with the Reavers, heads and limbs were being chopped off, with blood and guts splattering around. This is the true uninhibited R-rated Wolverine as he was written in the comics, not the Rated PG we've seen in the considerably more child-friendly X-Men films. 

Overall, this is a compleat superhero movie for adults, technically solid  with excellent story, cinematography, film and sound editing, and visual effects. This is definitely not kid-stuff. The violence is over-the-top, vicious, brutal -- nothing held back. But this is as it should as that unbridled ferocity is the Wolverine's essential nature.  To make it more awesome, we have three Wolverines in this one -- so the slash-fest is three-fold! This is not for the faint of heart. At the same time in the midst of all this slice-and-dice gore, the deep emotional core is intact and potent. The tragedy of Logan cut deep into us fans, but we also recognize that this end is inevitable and necessary. 9/10. 

1 comment:

  1. I love the Wolverine releases. It is definitely created for an adult audience, as with the previous movies. I can't say I've always been a fan of darker versions of superhero films but there's something about Hugh Jackman that makes me stay curious. Will definitely watch this one.