Before seeing this film, I wanted to be able to sit down here and like everybody else, call Logan the best X-Men film to date. However, unfortunately, that isn’t the case.
While it is by no means a bad movie, it’s also not exactly a refreshing one either. As much as the advertised mature rating and adult themes would have you believe, Logan pushes neither the character nor the genre forward. The exterior of the film—story outline, setting, themes, and so on—is remarkably new, but underneath that initial glance, stands a narrative that is ultimately predictable and trite.
Set in 2029, Logan opens with our title character, James Howlett, a.k.a Logan, a.k.a Wolverine, in a noticeably dishevelled state. He is living through a terrible period of time for both himself and the world at large. Like the trailers have explained, the mutant race has all but disappeared, leaving only a few mutants left and even fewer X-Men. On top of that, both Logan and Charles Xavier (whom he takes care of) are suffering through issues physically as well; Logan is being poisoned by the adamantium inside of him and Xavier is suffering from some pretty intense telepathic seizures. And the troubles are further piled on by the main crux of the story, which is to escort a young mutant girl out of harm and away from her former captors.
Perhaps the biggest thing I enjoyed about this film, story-wise, is the setting. The movie takes place in a pseudo-dystopic world that just reeks of grime and seediness. Without being implicitly mentioned or explained to, the audience is able to infer the decaying state of America through visuals and audio alone. Director James Mangold perfectly immerses viewers into this setting after only a few scenes, crafting a very real world that is the antithesis of the sci-fi dystopia previously explored in Bryan Singer’s Days Of Future Past.
While the main characters that inhabit this setting, are indeed engrossing to watch, played by an all around amazing cast, their development throughout the film feels rather contrived and artificial. This issue is mostly directed at Logan himself. And the so-called ‘transformation’ he goes through is more like a sudden light-switch epiphany. When watching, I also couldn’t shake the feeling of this being a retread of familiar ground. Logan’s relationship with the mutant girl, Laura, is no different from his relationship with Rogue in the first X-Men film. In the beginning, he is dismissive and doesn’t like her, and then boom, they grow a mutual bond. Except in that film, the father-daughter dynamic wasn’t such a vital part. But here, it most definitely is.
Where the story mostly goes wrong for me, though, is the actual plot and journey. The film knowingly follows the familiar structure of an escort story, which we’ve all seen many times before. So when our main characters are invited to spend the night with a loving family of strangers, almost any audience member with a brain can predict what will happen to those completely disposable characters. The main emotional beats of the movie are also played quite poorly, with events and situations that should’ve spurred tears rather than a shrug of indifference. These moments can be seen from miles away, ruining any chance of a shocking surprise.
In between all of this, are, of course, action and fight scenes. At first, this department seems like it is where Logan shines best. The fights are expertly choreographed, and the violence is gleefully brutal and exhillarting—just like how a Wolverine movie should be. However, the problem I have is not with the action scenes themselves, which individually are all amazing, but how they are when put into a single experience. You see, when every fight is dialled up to eleven, it leaves no room for the action to grow or progress. Once you’ve seen one, you’ve basically seen them all. Other than one great scene involving Xavier, Logan’s actions scenes are all too similar, with no sense of variety to break things up. If Logan and Laura aren’t stabbing faceless bad guys in the woods, they’re doing it in a desert, and if not there, then a farm.
Speaking of stabbing, the people who they do it to are especially boring. The antagonists are not interesting whatsoever, and the main physical threat is perhaps lamer than the one seen in X-Men Origins. Yes, this guy is worse than the fake Deadpool with Baraka claws. But even worse than that, is the return of generic evil scientist wth unclear motives, number five hundred and eighty-seven.
However, conclusively, none of these negatives matter as long as Logan is indeed a good sendoff for Hugh Jackman’s portrayal of the legendary character. So, is it? In my opinion, no. The end for Wolverine is a whimper rather than a bang, and for me, it failed to capture what it was trying so hard to achieve—an emotional response.
Logan Is A Competent Movie