DEFCON 1 Reviews: ‘Logan’

THE CLAWS ARE OUT

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Marvel has made a habit of creating movies that are trailers for their sequel (it’s honestly kind of sad), and movies like “Iron Man 3” have been found guilty of this time and again (find out more here). Well, I guess it’s a good thing “Logan” doesn’t have a sequel, isn’t it? Hugh Jackman has officially confirmed in an interview with BUILD that “Logan” will be his final movie as The Wolverine.  

There are hardcore comic book fans out there who are probably going to sit in the theaters with their phones on flashlight mode reading the “Logan” comic book line for line, hoping to make connections with the movie (yep it’s a comic book movie, but hold your horses). Though “Logan” is a Marvel Studios film, it strays from the comic backbone that most other Marvel movies, especially “Thor”, “Captain America” and even the other Wolverine movies, have relied on for guidance heavily throughout the years.

The important part about this movie, though, is how Marvel reacted to knowing that both comic book fans and casual viewers alike would be sitting in front of the big screen on opening night.

For us mere mortals who just watch for (gasp!) entertainment, “Logan” is what qualifies as a good ol’ slice em’ dice em’ action flick, starring the most American Australian actor of all time.  For those who read the comics beforehand,  it’s not going to do you you good. The “Logan” story line deviated from the original comics in some pretty big ways (thank heavens. The “Old Man Logan” comics were mostly about heroin and Hulk babies), and, yet, stayed true to it in a mysteriously fantastic manner.

So, Mom, About Those Movie Tickets. . .

First, let’s handle the elephant in the room. The movie was rated “R”.

I’m sure that triggered quite a few A-TECH Wolverine fans who can’t see it without mom tagging along, but, honestly, (for once) the rating was perfect for the content. Blood and gore occur more than often, the ‘F’ bomb is dropped in three minute intervals, and so many heads roll that the usual Stan Lee cameo should’ve been replaced with a Quentin Tarantino scene (there was no Stan Lee cameo! Minus half a star).

Survive and Endure

It’s important to know that “Logan” is an action movie about a man named Logan who is an enhanced human being who, by society, are called “mutants”.  As a bit of background, Logan was once seen as a hero, but now he and his mentor, the telekinetic (he does cool stuff with his brain) Professor X, are outcasts. Logan finds and must protect a young mutant girl and get her to the safety of an oasis across the country while facing an army of militants who hate mutants.

If you’ve played “The Last of Us” on PlayStation you’ll find yourself writhing with deja vu.

Two X-Men and a Little Girl

I’m going to just outright say it: this movie was fantastic. “Logan” is an action packed thriller that shows a far realer relationship between Professor X and Wolverine than any of the past X-Men movies have portrayed. If you haven’t seen the others, don’t worry, this film’s setting puts it almost in a world of its own.

The emotional aspect of “Logan” was surprisingly refreshing. (Ugh, that’s so mushy and lame it’s almost hard to say.) Still, the connection between Logan and the mutant girl (whose identity I won’t spoil) is actually pretty genuine. The Wolverine’s spite towards attachment with other people reinforces this dynamic, strangely enough. Learning how to take care of the little girl and realize that he has just as much to learn as she does made Hugh Jackman’s acting all the more important. This was the dynamic that made emotional moments threaten audiences with tears, and Logan’s ‘I’m too old for this crap’ moments fill the theater with genuine laughter.

Jackman’s acting as Logan never wavered in quality. He did an excellent job portraying the unruly, antiheroic and painfully patriotic personality of the Wolverine. His performance was sharper than ever (cringey enough for ya?), and he brought audiences to an intimate level; a level where he felt that regeneration wasn’t going to be enough to keep him safe forever.  

Jackman wasn’t the only important actor in “Logan”, though. Sir Patrick Stewart gave a stellar performance. Stewart’s performance as Professor X was flawless. He provided the balance that this film needed to stay true to its superhero roots.

The ideals of ‘justice’ and ‘helping other people’ and ‘selflessness’ were upheld by old man Xavier, which was essentially what differentiated “Logan” from the bajillion other action thrillers out there. Stewart’s role as a father figure to the often reckless Logan answered the uber-important question of ‘Why on earth would The Wolverine go on a road trip with a little girl?’ Stewart brought this new school, gritty action film to its old school superhero roots (and kudos to the costume designers for making him look old as dirt).

Bullets, Blood, and Baldies

The acting, special effects, and costuming in “Logan” were very impressive. The costuming department (headed by Alexandra Byrne) did an excellent job making a regenerating mutant look old and weary. The idea to liver spot Professor X’s bald head and wrinkle his skin was definitely a good one, especially because of how important the professor’s age was to the storyline.

I was also very pleased to see the simplicity and quality of the special effects used in “Logan”. There were claws, bullets, explosions and…well that’s about it. Instead of making the blockbuster 99% repulsor gamma blasts, the effects kept it simple and brutal, focusing more on hand-to-hand combat than ridiculous portals and explosion evasions.

Logan’s makeup was also excellent in a way that you’ll realize through a little bit of thinking. The makeup made it seem like he was regenerating and destroying himself at the same time, struggling to be strong as his adamantium bones poisoned him from the inside.

Speaking of makeup, a slow clap for the blood guys. There was a lot of claw-based violence in “Logan”, and the makeup (as well as the CGI) for the various people being impaled was gruesome and satisfying (don’t let the violence scare you away though! The film IS worth watching).

Nobody’s Perfect

Every movie has flaws though, and “Loganwas no exception. The movie had some loose ends that weren’t tied off, especially surrounding the girl. Strangely enough, in the beginning, the best part about her was her mysterious nature, but by the end of the film she seemed overdeveloped. All in all we just ended up knowing too much about her.

There were also plot holes and unexplained events that are hard to understand if you’re not a hardcore comic book fan. References to X-Men: Apocalypse also happen a lot, but it’s refreshing to see that none of these things actually hinder how easy it is to understand the story.

Old School Charm

One of the issues that Marvel has been facing in a lot of their recent films is that they, as I said before, sacrifice the quality of their movies in exchange for a 2 hour advertisement. “Iron Man”, for example, was an excellent movie. It grossed $318,412,101 by the time it hit shelves and kicked off both the Iron Man and Avengers franchises.  The second Iron Man was reviewed as decent but not great, and its sequel, “Iron Man 3” was horrible. The decrease in quality was because they started to focus on marketing characters like the Iron Patriot and The Mandarin instead of creating a decent plot line.

Marvel didn’t make this same mistake in “Logan”.

They decided to take this final movie in the Wolverine franchise very seriously. They gave it the same grim and gritty personality as the old school Wolverine comics to satisfy fans, while making it a good action movie that brand new viewers can appreciate.

Final Verdict

I take pride in ending reviews of good movies on a positive note, so I’d like to finish with my favorite part of this movie (and a low-key Batman v. Superman roast). “Logan” was action packed, emotional, entertaining, story driven, and had real, heart pounding suspense.

People died. Lots and lots of people died, and yet, we truly didn’t know who was safe. The idea that, unlike Batman or Superman, anyone could die at any moment was what made it so worthwhile. This final installment in The Wolverine’s Hollywood chronicles certainly did him justice (which makes it all the more tragic that Superman was unable to do the Justice League justice).

‘Why should I see it?’ you might ask. Well, because some very important things happen to some very important people.

‘Like what?’ you might ask. Well, I guess you’ll have to see for yourself, because it’s either that or “Power Rangers”, bub.

Rating:

EXCELLENT