Friday, March 3, 2017
Logan movie review
As the credits rolled at the end of the movie and Johnny Cash's The Man Comes Around started playing I took stock of the two hour and fifteen minutes of ending I had just viewed, I mentally shrugged and thought "Eh." Now that may not sound like much, I get it, but further explanation may make it seem more positive than it seems.
Logan is the final chapter of Hugh Jackman's portrayal of Wolverine, and recently discovered it will also be the final time Patrick Stewart will play Charles Xavier. This movie serves as a very dark, troubled ending for these two characters. Both of them have made it to this point in their lives with tragedy haunting their steps on top of the fact that the mutants are dying out. There haven't been any new mutants born in 25 years and there are few that remain. More on that in the spoilers.
This movie delivers on the premise that a rated R Wolverine film will show you a lot of death. That's why I bought a ticket. Ever since I saw him running around in X-Men 2 I knew that Wolverine is one of those characters that exists in his full form beyond a PG-13 rating. In that regard, the film is a success. People die. Horribly. You get to see an old, in pain, killer do "What He Does Best" in multiple scenes. You get to see what he would have looked like in his prime going full Wolvie-berserker style." You get to see what a child with claws and insoluble rage do to people who want to attack her. And you get your fill of it. It is satisfying.
The story, not that much. It's a decent story but I don't feel like anything really hit me as emotionally consequential. There are moments of pain, regret, humor, and quick glimpses of happiness but it really feels like it is just a driving force of moments towards the finale of the movie.
Overall, the movie is worth watching. Let's be honest, a shrug and an "eh" are a sight beyond the shattered dreams of all the X movies that have come before. Every other movie has a small group of amazing scenes interspersed amongst two plus hours of crap. Logan isn't that. It never has a bad scene. It has some awesome action pieces. But the scattering of moments that are supposed to be meaningful just don't grab at you. And I REALLY wish they did. I wanted this movie to be cathartic at the end. The best version of what this movie could have been was Unforgiven with Clint Eastwood. That's the kind of send off I wanted from Logan. I wanted to close the book, so to speak, and be satisfied. I just wasn't. Hopefully you may have a different experience.
Ok, you shouldn't be looking if you don't want to know things. So here we go. Some of the things that were missed opportunities were the hinted at moments of the past that got the characters into such a broken state. Charles is succumbing to dementia or some other type of neurological degeneration, causing massively potent seizures where as many as 400 people are forcefully frozen in place and suffocated. He takes pills and injections to keep him mentally subdued lest he have a grand mal seizure and kill people or he dies from the strain. A couple of mentions are given to an event "a year ago in Westchester" but we don't know what happened. Did he kill the X-Men? Did students die? No idea.
Logan is another unanswered question. Hints are given to a specific incident where he did something terrible but nothing is revealed. Again, did he kill the X-men like in the Old Man Logan storyline? He is also dying but has no idea why other than to venture a guess that it could be the adamantium in his body finally poisoning him. He has no real idea and doesn't seem to care, either. Kinda weak sauce, if you ask me. He want's to die, that seems apparent, but with an explanation that is just as sensible as Padme dying of a broken heart there doesn't seem to be much oomph behind his decline.
And where are all the mutants you ask? Why have there not been more in 25 years? Was it the final push of sentinels that rounded them up? The Legacy Virus? The Terrigen Mists? No, the worst villain ever to confront mutants: GMOs. I shit you not. GMOs are used to basically negate the x-gene in the worldwide populace. The future of human evolution is halted by going organic and gluten free. What. The. Hell? That just makes me sad. No mention of what happened to the X-Men themselves is never revealed, though again hints that they all met violent ends are peppered into the story of Logan.
Charles Xavier dies in the film by being stabbed in the chest by a cloned version of Wolverine. Read that again for confirmation. There is a scene in the film where it is revealed the children are created from genetic material from mutants to create a personal army. In the reveal the children are considered a failure and another plan where they create the ultimate weapon without any soul or remorse is going to be the ultimate culmination of their research. There are separate body parts in bubbling water tanks and schematics. I was reminded of this:
But it was just a younger version of Logan. There are several scenes where the old and the new fight each other, and even X-23 ties into the fight too. But it reminded me of this:
Was Omega Red busy? There had to be a better option. Anyway, other than the initial shock of Professor X dying I didn't feel much about his death. The parts of the film that dealt with his invalidity meant much more too me, to be honest. The scene where Logan buries him is touching, but could have been much further developed than what it was. Logan's death at the hands of his evil doppelganger. His compromised immune system finally succumbs to the catastrophic damage he has taken and he dies. X-23 does have a touching moment by his grave where she quotes a poignant line from Shane (a western I'm sure most people have never seen but you should check it out) but that's about it. She and the rest of the escaped children then leave to Canada though we have no idea if the safe haven they are searching for actually exists.
Then the screen goes dark.
Sure, I admit these may be nitpicky complaints or observations but they are the things that stuck out to me that made me want more. Like I said above, the movie didn't disappoint me it just didn't offer me enough to tie a nice ribbon on Jackman and Stewart's involvement in the series.