Movie Review: Logan (Mostly Spoiler Free)

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So, I know the acceptable review period has come and gone for this movie, but I finally managed to see it tonight and I wanted to get some thoughts and feelings down.

Man, what a film.

Brief Plot Summary:

No new mutants have been born for 25 years. Logan is working as a chauffeur, making money to protect Charles Xavier, who he is hiding and keeping safe from an unclear threat. A woman finds him and asks him to protect a young girl – a mutant. Logan refuses, but gets reluctantly drawn into the fight for the survival of the mutant race.

My Thoughts:

What I truly loved about this film is how well-constructed it was. All the pieces fell into place. There were so many themes and callbacks and moments so perfectly set up that it was clear a lot of thought had been put into the script. For example, the scene with the corn becomes relevant after you find out why no new mutants have been born in so long. Laura watching the film Shane with Charles in a hotel room is then given added weight when she quotes a scene from it during an important moment at the end. And the scene of Logan crossing the border, ostensibly to show his humdrum life, is given greater importance once he realises Laura stowed away in his trunk. It allowed the filmmakers to not have to show everything, because they’ve already given you all the pieces, and it’s just up to the audience to assemble them. It would be a good film for writers to study for their craft.

While I love most action blockbusters, usually they are just mindless entertainment. But this film was a thoughtful examination of humanity and pain and death, as well as being a violent adventure film.

It was slow, I won’t deny. Occasionally a little too slow. But having the threads that kept coming back made it feel like no shot was wasted. It was a thoughtful film, and brutal, but not so much an action packed one.

And holy hell was in emotionally affecting. I was crying buckets at the end. The final shot was just heartbreakingly perfect – I literally gasped out loud.

This a fitting final film for Jackman as Wolverine. We’ve watched him in the role for 17 years, and he’s always been a fan favourite. But he really knocks the acting out of the park with this one, finally given a script that his talent deserves.

But all the cast were uniformly excellent. I’m actually sad that they won’t get any awards recognition just because of the genre of film this is.

So, see it. It’s great. Not as fun as some of the previous X-Men films, but deeper and darker instead. A wonderful send-off for a much-beloved series.

7 thoughts on “Movie Review: Logan (Mostly Spoiler Free)

  1. I thought the film was mediocre, and I’m a comic book geek. Reasons for my lack of enthusiasm:

    1. It’s too long. I can’t stand movies that clock in at over two hours. At two hours and eighteen minutes long, “Logan” stretched my patience. You could cut thirty minutes of runtime and you wouldn’t lose much. For example, towards the end of the movie, once Logan meets up with the kids, he drifts in and out of consciousness for what seems like a year. I was like, “Wake up already! This is just filler!”

    2. The ending was predictable. Yes, it makes sense thematically, but it was trying too hard to tug at our heartstrings.

    3. Call me a stubborn fanboy, but I prefer the anti-hero Wolverine, not this depleted and jaded Wolverine. The kind of Wolverine who kills 50 ninjas before breakfast, pounds a case of beer at lunch, calls Cyclops an apple-polishing idiot at mid-afternoon, flirts with Jean Grey in the evening, and then gets pissed off at someone or something and rides somewhere on his motorcycle so can stab some more people.

    I know this film was meant to “deconstruct” Wolverine, but this was a “deconstruction” I didn’t find interesting. The “reluctant hero” role just doesn’t fit him. The “real” Wolverine never cared about injuries or death. Healing factor maxed out? Not gonna stop me, bub. Magneto ripped out my adamantium skeleton? I’ll recuperate, and just use my bone claws to slice and dice.

    This Logan, however, is scared of everything. The “real” Logan would’ve decapitated Pierce when he steps into his limo for the first time, instead of mewling. It’s just too much of a difference from the Wolverine character’s “essence.”

    4. As you noted, this film overall wasn’t as fun as other Marvel productions. It had a DC feel to it, specifically “The Dark Knight Rises” – only Logan didn’t really rise. The fun factor is why I prefer Marvel movies. I don’t want everything to be dark and brooding and dealing with Big Existential Themes in a comic book flick. I’d go read some deep philosophical literary novel if I wanted that.

    That’s my $0.02. I’m in the minority, though, since it looks like this movie’s gotten nearly universal acclaim.

    • Sorry you didn’t like it! As you can tell, I did. 🙂

      I don’t disagree that it felt a little long at times. But I will say that I didn’t find the ending predictable in a trite way. Yes, I knew that it would end the way it did, but the journey of the story building to that moment was important. It was the only possible way it could have ended. It was thematically satisfying.

      • WARNING: EVEN MORE SPOILERS

        I disagree that it was the only possible way it could have ended. I would’ve preferred Logan to remain alive as a link between the old, hopeless world and the promise of hope that the children represent. This would allow him to atone for all his mistakes, as he acts as teacher and protector to the children.

        The ending reminds me of the ending to “Mad Max: Fury Road.” Max has fought tooth and nail to help Furiosa, and then he walks away from the new world they’re going to build. Admittedly, Max acted out of self-interest for most of the movie (maybe the entire movie), but thematically, it’s like, “OK, you’ve done your part, but your time is over. Now go away and let us fix things.”

        Not only is it really convenient, it’s cruel, in a way. Or maybe I’m being too elaborate, and I simply don’t like awesome characters thrown into the trash bin, even at the end of a movie!

        • I think that for Logan to survive the end of this movie, the whole thing would’ve to have been rewritten. It was clear throughout the whole thing that the narrative was building towards his death. If he’d survived this film the way it was, then, to me, the ending would have been a trite cop out. It wouldn’t have worked.

          As for Mad Max: Fury Road…as much as I would have loved to have Max stay and help them rebuild, that would’ve been against his character. He’s a wanderer. He always has been. And he’s never wanted to be a hero. He’s too broken to stay there, and has too many demons he’s running from. He chose to leave because he wasn’t ready to stay. Furiosa understood that.

          I mean, I’m a huge advocate for happy endings and all that. (Seriously, I have major rants about it!) But at the same time, I totally get why those stories were told that way, and you have to write the ending that best fits the story that you’ve told until that point. Anything else would have been a disservice for the characters and their stories.

          At least, that’s my opinion.

          • “I think that for Logan to survive the end of this movie, the whole thing would’ve to have been rewritten. It was clear throughout the whole thing that the narrative was building towards his death.”

            Yes, that’s true – changes would make my suggested ending more plausible. But, as I was watching the movie in the theater, I was still hoping Marvel would throw a curveball and have him live. It would be like Logan’s resisting the themes of the movie and refusing to die, which is a very Wolverine thing to do.

            Part of my problem, as we’ve both mentioned, is that there were so many signposts leading to that ending. It was like the Vegas Strip, it was so obvious. I felt like my hand was being held, that the movie-makers wanted to be extra certain I understood that !!!THIS DIRECTION RIGHT HERE!!! is where they were headed.

            And, as I’ve mentioned, they wanted the audience’s tears to flow, and again it was so obvious I groaned instead of bawling. I know you did, and believe me, I get the feels sometimes – just not then.

            Xavier’s death was, to me, far more shocking and moving than Logan’s. I thought they’d save him until the final battle, but I was wrong. In retrospect, it makes sense – they think they’re safe at the farmhouse, but there is no safe haven in this world. That he was killed by X-24 just makes it more intense. X-24 is just a truly feral and younger version of Logan – Logan as he once was.

            As for Mad Max, yes, your points are valid. But that world is full of broken people. They have every reason to say “screw this” and wander off into the desert. The previous society was shitty – why would the new one be any better? And yet Max leaves, while the rest of the cast (we think) stays.

            Also, there’s the whole male/female dichotomy going on. With Max leaving and Furiosa rising to power, the movie was saying the age of man is over and now it’s women’s turn to set the ship aright.

            While the movie was overall very entertaining, it certainly didn’t do men any favors. Having Max stay would’ve created a sense of togetherness, and tamped down some of the propaganda. Instead, the movie-makers sent Max off into the wild. It’s like, “You’ve helped the women, but you’re a man, so you’ve gotta go.” As someone with a Y chromosome, that’s not a message I was thrilled with.

            To compress my thoughts about these two movies: Too much theme, not enough naturally-flowing plot.

            (Shouldn’t we both be writing novels?)

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