March is finally here, and what a month it promises to be! With films such as Kong, Beauty and The Beast, Power Rangers and Logan all making it appear to many that the 2017 blockbuster season will be the dominant so lacking from last year’s release calendar. To kickstart what should an enjoyable year, Hugh Jackman slips on the blades one more time to bring his now unforgettable role of Logan to what should be a fitting climax. With pre-release being as good as any film within the last 5 years, Logan entered into the fray high on confidence and more than willing to hack down what should be meagre competition.
It’s 2029. Mutants are gone–or very nearly so. An isolated, despondent Logan is drinking his days away in a hideout on a remote stretch of the Mexican border, picking up petty cash as a driver for hire. His companions in exile are the outcast Caliban and an ailing Professor X, whose singular mind is plagued by worsening seizures. But Logan’s attempts to hide from the world and his legacy abruptly end when a mysterious woman appears with an urgent request–that Logan shepherd an extraordinary young girl to safety. Soon, the claws come out as Logan must face off against dark forces and a villain from his own past on a live-or-die mission, one that will set the time-worn warrior on a path toward fulfilling his destiny.
Credit: Rotten Tomatoes
The joy of Logan is that in its finer, more intimate moments, this is an incredible tale of loss, desperation and quiet optimism in the face of absolute despair. Hugh Jackman provides what is easily his best performance as the dying Logan, hell-bent on keeping out of the spotlight while simultaneously providing sufficient palliative care for the man not only responsible for his growth as a person, but for increasingly dangerous occurrences that may eventually cause the death of a countless number of people. At its heart, this is a film about family, and that loss will eventually meet us in one way or another. The family dynamic between Logan, Xavier and Laura (X-23) is warmly treated and endearing more often than its not. With some of the best action sequences I’ve seen in a Superhero movie complimented wonderfully by the performances of the 3 main prongs holding this Marvel staple aloft.
However, it is not entirely plain sailing for this R-Rated (15 in the UK) blockbuster. As good as Jackman, Stewart and Keen are as the desperate protagonists, the performances of Richard E. Grant, Boyd Holbrook and Jackman (as the villainous clone X-24 ) failed to hit a chord in me as necessary foils to the main story. Personally I felt as though a more fitting villain for this kind of story would be the inevitability of time catching up with us, not another mindless animal for Wolverine to inevitably overcome.
I’m not going to understate the excellence of this film. It really is a triumph of modern filmmaking and should not be missed by any stretch of the imagination, however in terms of the story I found myself exhausted by the climax and partially numb to the eventual conclusion we were all expecting.
ROUND 1 SCORE: 8/10
Round 2 – Characters
What sets Logan apart from all of the other Superhero movies these days is that it is a character-centric story relying on the strengths of its main cast than of the name and number of actors attached to it. Instead of a bloated ensemble, a small intimate cast provides adequate support to a story that craves the powerful performances given throughout. Patrick Stewart and Hugh Jackman spend the entire of this film working their collective asses off to produce something they believe to worthy of the brand it is associated.
I’m not going to go on too much about the antagonists again, only that Richard E. Grant’s Pierce and Jackman’s X-24 ticked every box on the list of formulaic villain traits, causing the final act to feel heavy handed and unnecessary.
I do however want to talk about the stunnng performance of newcomer Dafne Keen! In little under 2 hours of screen time Keen manages to bring the so many individual layers to what is essentially a carbon copy of Jackman’s Logan. The difference being, her ability to switch between to the animal within felt so natural it was as though she had been born to play this role. I can’t remember the last time I enjoyed a performance from anyone let alone a child actor in this way. She was glorious!
ROUND 2 SCORE: 8/10
Round 3 – Overall Enjoyment
Right, before the abuse starts, I loved Logan! I honestly think it will take something major to dethrone this as one of my favourite films of the year! However! There were elements to this film that baffled me beyond belief, number 1 being: How the hell does Laura know how to drive?! If she could drive, why do they need him in the first place? This girl has been bred in a lab for 11 years with no outside interaction and only the abilities of former mutants to really guide them through, but we are going to include driving instructions too because you never know. What the hell? If I missed something please tell me I’m wrong, but that was bullshit in my opinion.
Other than that I can’t deny how exhilarating it was to watch a film like this. When the film ended I sat in my chair waiting calmly for heart rate to decrease before I decided to drive home. Sure the end is haphazard at best, and the climax is taken straight from Shane (more or less word for word in fact considering she had only watched it once with Xavier 2 days earlier…) but in terms of Overall Enjoyment, this ticks all the necessary boxes.
ROUND 3 SCORE: 9/10
Logan wins by Decision 25/30
Logan really is an excellent adventure movie that takes the best parts of some of the best Western movies of the last century and brings them up to a level this generation can enjoy. With intriguing dialogue, emphatic performances and jaw dropping action, it’s going to take something very special to dethrone this wonder of a film.
Do you agree with the decision? What score would you give each round? Let me know in the comments below or via Twitter/Facebook.