3 Palm Trees out of 4
by Manuel Reynoso
Directed by James Mangold and written by Scott Frank, James Mangold, and Michael Green. Starring Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Boyd Holbrook, and Dafne Keen.
Sick and retired, James “logan” Howlett lives day to day as a chauffeur in texas while caring for Charles Xavier, who is suffering from a severe neurodegenerative disease. But tasked with guiding a young Laura to a mysterious location known only as Eden, Logan finds himself being hunted down by a team of men looking to capture Laura.
It’s my understanding that Hugh Jackman fought hard for the film Logan to retain it’s R rating. As someone who is burnt out on the PG-13, kid friendly, buddy superhero movies, Logan reminded me that superheroes can be interesting, nuanced characters. For too long quirky one liners and holier than thou superheroes dominated the silver screen. Violence and more importantly, heavier themes for superheroes to grapple with are finally being embrace, thanks in part to Hugh Jackman’s commitment to the script.
Now while the screenplay for Logan was in no way perfect, I have to commend it for what it tried to be. Logan was as much about the violence as it was about the man. Logan was a gritty and broken shell of his former self, and watching that mess unfold on the screen was engrossing to the end. Seeing the human experience told through the life of a superhero was exactly what these movies needed to feel fresh again. I want to see superheroes that struggle with alcoholism, depression, or a loose sense of morals. Seeing a little humanity in these larger than life characters makes them somehow feel more super to me. However, some of the decisions the characters made seemed a bit out of left field, and at times, dialogue that felt heavy and emotional seemed to end just before strong emotional payoff. But it was a definite move in the right direction in regards to making a mature, adult oriented superhero movie.
And to be honest, as much of a fan of drama, I was definitely in the mood to see some extreme violence, and Logan does not disappoint. Not restricted by a PG-13 rating, Logan did not have to skirt around showing blood and gore and instead embraced it. Fight choreography was solid and every slash, punch, and tackle had some serious impact behind them. While I was only expecting a mindless action flick, Logan was backed up by a compelling plot but more importantly, fully realized characters.
Shot for shot, Logan looked great. Some of the CGI was a little weak at times, but the movie was definitely a treat visually. The costume and makeup for each character was great, and combined with Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart’s acting prowess, created the foundation for great characters. My main worry was of young Dafne Keen’s portrayal of laura. I’ve always been very cynical of child actors, but thankfully Dafne Keen’s performance was at the very least convincing. (Thanks in part of a lack of dialogue for the vast majority of the film.)
We’ve been in the post Iron Man era for almost ten years now, yet we are still following that same superhero formula to this day. But Logan can be the catalyst to set in motion a different style of superhero movie, a more mature take on the superhero’s tale. Logan is the superhero movie for those who hate superhero movies and I for one look forward to seeing the more ugly side of superheroes in the future.