365 Movies By Day Reviews of Movies I Watch that I Feel Like Writing About

2Apr/170

Logan (2017)

James Mangold's (3:10 to Yuma, Walk the Line) Logan is about to set the standard for the next wave of superhero movies...the death of a major character. In an age of movies (particularly superhero ones) where we've seen sequels, prequels, and reboots, we have yet to see the beginning, middle, and definite conclusion of a story. We've seen plenty of superhero movies that COULD be a conclusion story, but we've all learned the hard way that we think is the end probably isn't the end unless we see that character killed off. And, let's be honest, even then we don't really know. When there is the potential for hundreds of millions of dollars to be made, who are we to believe that the end is the end. Often times, the end is determined by a crappy movie in a series that doesn't resonate with audiences or critics. Sometimes, that movie can be a concluding story, but often times it is not. But (spoiler, but not really) based on what happens at the end of the film, I don't expect to see him back. I know I probably will in some other fashion, but that can be an argument for a different day. Until then, I'll continue to sing the praises of Logan. And at the time of this review, I have it as a top five Marvel movie of all-time.

The next logical question before getting into the nuts and bolts of the review might be what are my four other favorite Marvel movies? Well, after some serious research and discussion with a few friends, I would have to say that the others in the top five (in no particular order) are Spider-Man, Spider-Man 2, Iron Man, and Captain America: Civil War. I'd be willing to discuss with anyone and am definitely open for suggestions of movies I haven't seen which, surprisingly, includes every X-Men movie other than the one I'm reviewing today (which I'll discuss later as well), but I feel pretty confident in my list. I do like the first two Captain America movies as well as the Iron Man sequels. I am not a fan of The Fantastic Four, Guardians of the Galaxy, and I have a dislike for the Thor and The Hulk movies. As much as I wanted to, I did not enjoy either of The Avengers movies at all.

The next logical question before deciding whether or not to see Logan might be, "I haven't seen any of the other Wolverine movies and I know nothing about the X-Men franchise".  I'll be the first to say that you don't need to know anything about either of these to appreciate this movie. Here's what you need to know that isn't essential, but could help. Wolverine is a mutant. A mutant, as defined by Wikipedia, is a being (usually otherwise human) who possesses a genetic trait called an X-gene that allows the mutant to naturally develop superhuman powers and abilities. Wolverine's specific superhuman powers and abilities include possessing an animal-keen sense, enhanced physical capabilities, powerful regenerative ability known as a healing factor, and three retractable bone claws in each hand. Sound like a complete badass? Well, that's because he is.

Logan takes place in 2029, six years after X-Men: Days of Future Past, the most recent movie that Wolverine was featured in. We meet him in the film's opening scene where he beats down a gang of thugs are trying to vandalize the car that he is, unknowingly, asleep in the back seat. He asks them to leave. They don't. One of them shoots him with a shotgun in an attempt to kill him. Logan then takes out the gang of men. This scene provides a few purposes. It shows that Logan still has it. It shows that if you've never seen Wolverine before, he's not a guy to mess around with. But we also see that he is aging. He is not the same fighter that he was in his younger days. One of the three claws that he has on each hand doesn't retract all the way back. The adamantium (which is the substance bonded to the skeleton and claws in his body) is slowly killing him, and his regeneration power isn't working as well as it used to. He's one of the last X-Men alive and he knows that his time on earth won't be much longer.

Logan is a limo driver these days. He's struggling and Hugh Jackman (The Prestige, Les Miserables) plays him perfectly. We feel his physical pain in every grunt when he's taking an awkward step. The other X-Men mutants, also still alive are Professor X and Caliban. Charles Xavier/Professor X (Patrick Stewart - Star Trek: First Contact, Green Room) is the leader of all X-Men, but life and age have caught up with him too. His X-Gene is that he is an exceptionally powerful telepath who has the ability to read and control the minds of others. But now he is senile and suffers from seizures that produce seismic waves as a result of his brain degenerating. Logan must administer a serum to keep Xavier under control. The two live in Mexico, along with Caliban (Stephen Merchant - Hall Pass, Movie 43). Caliban's X-Gene is his ability to sense and track the other mutants along with his superhero strength. Caliban is forced to stay indoors, though. His skin is very sensitive to light and when exposed to the sun, the pain is so intense that it feels like he's being tortured.

Aside from the aging/dying of the three remaining X-Men characters, the plot revolves around a young girl named Laura (Dafne Keen) who is with her "mother" Gabriela. She is pursuing Logan and offers him $50,000 to get her to safe haven, first in North Dakota and then to Canada. There are some spoilers involved here so I don't want to say too much, but Logan has no interest in the job. But of course, there's more to the story that will cause him to change his mind. Let's just say that Laura is a special little girl and there is a huge group of people led by Donald Pierce (Boyd Holbrook - Gone Girl, The Skeleton Twins) and he and his men are determined to get Laura back to her place of origin regardless of the carnage that may ensue along the way. 

Logan is a great superhero conclusion movie. But it's more than just that. It's a great movie. You don't have to know anything about X-Men or even really like superhero movies to enjoy this one. This really is an action movie where some of the characters just have a unique set of skills. Jackman ascends what you would expect of a normal superhero actor. And while many child actors often kind of ruin a movie (or at least drop it from great to good), Keen was fantastic in her debut role as Laura. Laura wasn't just a side character in this story. She was integral to the film's success as much as Jackman was. The action scenes were amazing. The visuals were well above average and the score paced the movie nicely. Not for one minute did I not enjoy this movie nor did I ever feel lost. These are two of the factors that I appreciate the most in my films. The acting was fine. The plot was believable. I was hooked after 10 minutes and full entrenched for the entire movie. I highly recommend this film.

Plot 10/10
Character Development 8.5/10
Character Chemistry 8.5/10
Acting 8/10
Screenplay 8.5/10
Directing 8.5/10
Cinematography 9.5/10
Sound 9.5/10
Hook and Reel 10/10
Universal Relevance 9/10
90%

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