Monday, March 6, 2017

[Review] Logan

Not your usual Wolverine movie. Not even your usual superhero movie, for that matter. The minimally titled Logan is a dark and grisly swan song for Mr. Claws that slashes with potent violence and pierces with affecting heart.

It's the year 2029 and the grey and aching Logan (Hugh Jackman) spends most of his days swigging booze and hiding out in a warehouse near the Mexican border. There he also takes care of Professor X (Patrick Stewart) who seems to be going senile, which makes his powerful brain all the more dangerous. It's a depressing sight really--seeing sickly and geriatric icons wearing down...It certainly gives a whole new meaning to "superhero fatigue". But they still have some work to do. When a mysterious young mutant named Laura (Dafne Keen) enters the picture, they're tasked with transporting her to a safe place called Eden, which may or may not exist. All the while, a ruthless faction of criminals and scientists are on their trail, led by a smarmy fellow named Donald (Boyd Holbrook).

Between its Western grit, rugged action sequences, and focused roadtrip story, Logan seems to have more in common with stuff like Hell or High Water or Blood Father than it does with X-Men Origins: Wolverine or last year's bloated X-Men: Apocalypse. Here the desolate world is mostly stripped away of any magic or vibrancy--its color palette the equivalent to a dying crop. The film is entrenched in a somber tone of looming death, and director James Mangold is hellbent on taking us through the pits of despair, giving weight to every turning point.

Logan is also by far the most graphic superhero film to ever grace the big screen, and it contains some shockingly grim scenes. Its bloody, painful, puncturing fights are executed with unflinching detail--I'm talking severed limbs and decapitated heads before you can even think that's gonna leave scar. And thankfully, the uniquely moving climax forgoes the bombast and instead opts for intensely grounded combat and well-earned emotional gut punches.

This is definitely Hugh Jackman's meatiest performance as Wolverine, and it's a great performance in general, comic book movie or not. A big standout is newcomer Dafne Keen--her silence, cold stare, and overall badassness might remind you of Eleven from "Stranger Things". Patrick Stewart plays Professor X at his most vulnerable, foul-mouthed, and sweet all at once. And while Boyd Holbrook's Donald isn't the most notorious baddy on his own, the guy has sure mastered the role of scumbag.

This film honors the end of an era. The last of a dying breed.

* 9/10 *

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