Logan (R)

Written and directed by James Mangold and starring Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart and Dafne Keen, sci-fi/action/drama Logan is the present-day continuation of the story of Wolverine.  In this installment an aging and tired Logan a/k/a Wolverine cares for old, ailing Professor X in a hide out on the Mexican border. Logan’s attempt to hide from the world is interrupted when he involuntarily becomes entangled with the drama attached to a young mutant.

As you should already know (if you haven’t heard I don’t know where you’ve been this week), this is the end of Hugh Jackman playing Wolverine and Patrick Stewart playing Professor X.  It spoils nothing to say they both die and this is part of what makes the movie great. There are no loose ends as far as their characters are concerned. There is no wondering whether they made it or not, no ambiguous demise to be returned from.  For a change of pace, we have an intelligent set up for a sequel that is not condescending and contrived.  There is a new band of mutants to learn about as they grow up now and that is all.  This is how to properly transition from the end of one leg of a franchise into another.  Just as when anyone dies, you miss them and have fond memories of them, but life goes on, the world keeps turning and we all have to move forward.

If you’ve been reading my reviews you know I am not into the comic book/super hero movies at all. I don’t like the mentality that just because I am into something sequels can be cranked out at regular intervals and I am obligated to go watch them.  I’ve got control issues.  What can I say?  Nobody dictates to me what I will and will not watch.

At any rate, Logan is certainly different. It is well written, thoughtful and contains elements from many films, including, but not limited to, Taken, Mad Max; Fury Road and The Terminator.  Additionally, Logan has this western-ish, Mexican stand-off type of feel derived from being filmed across the desert of New Mexico.  It is as if this desert is its own character.  There is suspense, action, humor, social commentary about the ethics of the medical/pharmaceutical/scientific communities, the value and treatment of black and brown children and ageism that doesn’t bash the viewer over the head, but oh, it’s there and you see it.  And it is all done with a sense of fun, adventure and excitement that is perfectly balanced with a this heavy sense of sinister darkness and danger.

The writing is complimented by the acting, and vice versa. The way the three main characters interact with one another is a pleasure to watch.  Wise, old Professor X enjoys and sometimes has no control over expressing himself and pontificating, Logan is not a man of extra words – saying absolutely only the words he must, and the child, named Laura, barely speaks at all.  Similarly, because the script and acting are so tight, Mangold does a good job directing.

The action is more than satisfying, with adequate, cringe-worthy gore that never goes too far – at least not for my taste; but I enjoy the brutal, gory stuff. You may not.  I mean, there were things done during fights that automatically caused my shoulders to draw upward directly underneath my ears as I braced myself as one would before impact with another automobile because I felt a blow or a slash that was so intense; but for me, that means I was totally invested in the action, and I loved every bloody minute of it.  The choreography of the hand-to-hand action was beautiful at times. The camerawork was nuts, just looking at the angles of some attacks.  And the shape Hugh Jackman is in is a beautiful thing to behold.  Thank you, Mr. Jackman.  Thank you…

I enjoyed Logan tremendously.  Probably because it is a perfect mix of exactly what it claims to be – science fiction, action and drama. If there is a world catastrophy at stake here, and there very well may be if the good guys do not prevail, it is certainly not the same old one that we’ve seen over and over again and has been done to death, quite frankly.  Thank goodness.

Logan earned 9 out of 10 bloops. I’ve got absolutely no complaints about this movie right here.  The honest reason I didn’t give it 10 out of 10 bloops is because I stop just short of calling it a “masterpiece,” but I definitely feel as though it is an instant classic.  Maybe when I see it again (and I will), I will feel differently.  If the movie would have started up again right after it ended, I would have watched it again.  It took me back to a time when action movies were truly great.  The acting is solid, the story holds your attention, it is well directed, the action is super entertaining, the blood and gore is neither too tame nor overdone, Hugh looks great.  Enjoy!

Bloops:

1   =   worst ever, avoid at all cost
2   =   very bad, forget about it!
3   =   poor movie, not recommended
4   =   not good, even for free – NO!
5   =   so-so, worth it if you don’t have to pay
6   =   not bad, could have been better
7   =   good movie, worth seeing
8   =   great movie, don’t miss it!
9   =   excellent movie, a must see!
10 =   a masterpiece, go see it now!

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