So I got a chance to attend a special screening of Logan tonight and there’s so much I want to say about this movie. Since I was one of the first to see it, I’m going to try to keep this review as spoiler free as possible. Fast forward to the next picture if you want to get straight to the goods and ignore all of this fine background work I’ve done.
I have been a stern advocate of the “Give it Back to Marvel” dissenters that have complained about 20th Century Fox over the years. Now, I am pleased to admit that if they keep making movies that are as high quality as this and Deadpool (X-Men: Apocalypse notwithstanding) and shows as subtle and brilliant as Legion has proven to be so far, I will be very much along for the ride in the near future.
This review isn’t meant to to be a critique on a production company, but I truly believe this company is at its best when it is exploring the avenues other companies aren’t taking the risks to explore. The biggest superhero movie competitor by far is, of course, Marvel Studios and they have somewhat neutered themselves by sticking to a strict regimen of PG-13 feel good titles that are beginning to feel a little by-the-numbers. DC Comics, on the other hand, with it’s angry faces and consistently missed opportunities, is always headed in one direction and then violently shifting gears as if it’s a car that’s building itself while moving.
Don’t get me wrong, I love those companies and their properties, but those are discussions for another day, but Fox has consistently stayed somewhere in the middle with the X-Men franchise. Oddly enough, the 2005 and 2007 Fantastic Four movies felt much more like the current Marvel Studios films, something else for another time. So along comes Deadpool, which truly knocked it out of the park with its “F*** it, let’s have fun with it” attitude. There was a clear decision to make a movie as true to a character as possible at any cost and that feeling was clear on screen, which translated into box office and critical success. Most of all, fans were pleased and comic fan love is a currency that companies tend to underestimate at every turn.
Here’s a free hint production companies: the first thing fans do is compare the adaptation to the source material and the wannabes ask their fan friends or do their own research. Even the casual viewers tend to run to wikipedia for a little background. Keep that in mind when dealing with something that is already widely successful like comics, books and other print media.
Now on to the fun part!
While the lack of ability to share the MCU characters may cause it to stray from the series it is most inspired by, this movie is visually fantastic. Everything you see is believable and inspired by “Old Man Logan” and there are fantastic hints that never go too far in terms of explaining how things got this way. Logan’s (Hugh Jackman) weakened healing factor, the decimation of mutants, the fate of the x-men, Charles Xavier’s (Sir Patrick Stewart) power fluctuations, the Reavers and several other things are teased at just enough to make you care without boring you. The script trusts its audience, which is honestly a rarity in this comic book fueled movie industry. The exposition is at a huge minimum.
While there are a few minor (honestly nit-picky) gripes I have with a few props, the effects were fantastic. The X-Men movies have insisted on sticking to more practical effects and here they seem to have perfected them. It comes off much better when combined with the well managed camera angles and pulse pounding choreography that is on display here. That choreography, oh my goodness. The action set pieces are enough to put anything in the past twenty years to shame. You feel the characters’ rage and desperation in these scenes, everything fits perfectly into its place.
The only problems I have with this movie are (MINOR SPOILER) Laura’s (Dafne Keen) inconsistent speech and the feeling of Logan’s lack of growth throughout the franchise. While he is possibly the most consistent character in the entire X-Men franchise, he feels like everything has brought him full circle right back the gruff, stubborn, outsider he was in the first movie. Okay, maybe that’s not really a problem after all now that I’ve said it like that.
The acting was superb as I have come to expect from the franchise, but the real standout here is the pacing of the story. They superbly balance the action and the dramatic moments without making either feel too overwhelming. There are even some incredible shock and awe moments and things that may bring a tear to the eye of the more empathetic members of the audience. This movie really has a bit of something for everyone and even in light of one scene, I feel more like I am being told a story that feels like a part of this universe than just having a display of random powers put in front of me. Hugh Jackman picked the right one to end his Wolverine movies with.
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