“LOGAN” Reviewed: New era as superhero flick is up to scratch

James Mangold / Hugh Jackman, Dafne Keen, Patrick Stewart, Boyd Holbrook / Drama-Action / 2017 / 15 / 135mins

Marvel bring a human touch to their superhero monopoly starting with X-Men favourite Wolverine, and it’s a wonderful breath of fresh air to what was starting to become a monotonous franchise.

Older, but perhaps not wiser, James ‘Logan’ Howlett, better known as The Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), is a drunken mess, ageing thanks to his adamantium claws and hustling drugs to help dilapidated Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) survive his degenerative brain disease and seizures as they hide away from a world that no longer welcomes them. Their lives are flipped upside down when escapee mutant Laura (Dafne Keen) comes on the scene, leading Wolverine and Prof X to journey across the US with mutant-killer Donald Pierce (Boyd Holbrook) on their tail.

Two simple words for why people are saying Logan is the greatest thing since adamantium-sliced bread: character development. James Mangold’s film goes one step further than R-Rated pal Deadpool and prioritises the dramatic side of realism over the gore’n’guts galore. It breaks the Marvel mould and it is so goddamn satisfying.

The ‘buddy road trip’ plot drive is apt – without giving too much away, the journey the characters take explicitly emphasises a new beginning. Including the comics paves a metanarrative that smartly nods at the hope of fiction and a return to the genre’s roots.

What the future will bring for Wolverine I don’t know, but no one could ever replace Jackman. He embodies the superhero in every way, more so than ever in Logan. He brings the necessary grit and internal conflict. Newcomer Keen fills all the superlatives and then some, creating a perfect catalyst alongside a fatherly Stewart to accentuate Jackman’s performance. Holbrook meanwhile is stereotype villain 101 as Pierce – it’s a gold tooth too far for my liking.

Action is few and far between and, whilst high octane, Logan could honestly do with less. A sole focus on the characters would have reaped greater emotional rewards, which was noticeably lacking towards the end. Despite being a fan of character studies (see Walk The Line), Mangold plays safe and shies away from a purely dramatic affair, leaving the second half to drag. Thus Logan is way, waaaay too long. Either a two film split or a drastic edit was necessary to avoid the back-to-basics end.

Hail the bold new benchmark in the Marvel era. Logan is the best X-Men film and has a wonderfully melancholic first half before falling into the same old convoluted action-takes-precedence plot. A pat on the back for trying, but there’s no justifiable cinematic greatness. Fans won’t care – the true Logan finally made it to the big screen.

Film as a Film – 2 / Target Audience – 5 / General Audience – 3

GRADE

B

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Logan is in cinemas now

For more film & music gossip follow @THEMOVIEGUVNOR on Twitter. Harry also writes for The Huffington Post.

For more information about the rating system, click here.

MAIN PICTURE:

By Source, fair use via Wikipedia.

The poster art copyright is believed to belong to the distributor of the film, the publisher of the film or the graphic artist.

 

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