ReviewAway: Logan (2017)
Logan (2017) might be the most bittersweet superhero movie ever to be made. It is the culmination of Hugh Jackman’s seventeen years of playing the Ol’ Canucklehead, and it’s filled with all the positives and negatives that are associated with that. On the positive side it’s far and away his best performance as Wolverine to date, and it very well may be the greatest portrayal of any superhero on screen, ever. With Logan, Jackman proves that he is the best at what he does, which brings us to the films only real negative; that we most likely will never see Hugh Jackman pop his claws ever again. It’s a real shame that we had to wait as long as we did for this kind of film to be made, that it took all those super stylized 90’s movies like Blade and Spawn, to the early 2000’s blockbuster like X-Men and Spider-man, to the post Iron Man MCU trend. It’s all led up to Logan, but the wait was well worth it.
Jackman’s final turn as Wolverine is every bit the gory slash-fest that audiences have been seeking. Limb’s are sliced off, blood flies everywhere, people yell out in agony before being cut off with a claw to the throat: all of it gives some much needed weight to the typically over-directed action present in some other superhero movies and makes every fight scene a life or death encounter. The choreography is fantastic, with the aging yet still hard hitting Wolverine’s direct and to-the-point slashing providing a wonderful contrast the sleek and fluid movements of Laura (X-23). It’s the first film performance by twelve year old actress Dafne Keen, and although she’s silent for most of the film she’s still notable expressive and emotional. The chemistry between her and Jackman is palpable, and they play off each other wonderfully throughout the entire film, aided by a particularly elderly looking Professor X in an as-expected astonishing but much less becoming performance by Patrick Stewart. Though Logan and Laura work great together when slicing up bad guys, it’s when the action slows down that you really get to see Jackman’s acting chops show.
That sense of comic book invincibility so present in the other X-Men movies is gone, and there’s a tangible sense of desolation that hangs over the entire film. From the get-go it’s clear that nothing is as clean and crisp as it was in the previous films; the environments are dirty and rusted, and the high-tech gadgets have been replaced with a more practical vision of the near future. Logan‘s abundance of sandy flats and rocky mesa’s help give the film an Old West feel, assisted by the slightly yellow tinged colour grading as if hinting at sepia tone. The effects work is practical for the most part, giving the gore a bit of additional affect and making the character’s look progressively more weathered and beaten with each swing. The digital effects are understated and well blended, and the only noticeable instances of them are in some of Wolverine’s healing sequences and whenever Donald Pierce’s mechanical hand makes an appearance. Pierce, played by Narcos star Boyd Holbrook, plays a much more typical comic book role than his counterparts, but his screen time is well distributed so he never feels overbearing as the villain. It’s a wonderfully cartoony performance that gives some levity to some of the more grave points.
If I had to list any problems with the film, I’d have to say that the pacing in the third act is a touch off due to the large stretch between action sequences, but it’s such an inconsequential problem because the dramatic sections don’t feel like filler, and they aren’t. Logan manages to balance all the stabbing and bleeding that people have always clamored for out of a Wolverine movie, with a tender story that doesn’t succumb to overly theatrical sappiness and manages to be every bit as interesting and captivating as the rest. It’s not an Action movie with some drama thrown in, nor is it a Drama film with action peppered throughout. Rather it does the same thing that the best Wolverine comics do; balance the animal with the man. Like I said earlier, it’s a shame that this is Jackman’s last turn as Wolverine, because he’s finally in a film that showcases every aspect of the character in one complete package. Though in a way, it’s strangely fitting; it’s the sendoff that Jackman and Wolverine deserve, and though he may be recast in upcoming films, Jackman will forever go down as the definitive on-screen Wolverine. Logan is an all out assault that isn’t afraid to take itself seriously, and shows that while Wolverine is the best at what he does, and what he does isn’t very nice, it’s certainly marvelous to watch.