It is 2029, and mutations are still looked at as potential weapons for border patrol purposes. No longer are the mutants considered human, but tools. Although one is not yet a part of this fascist organization to redeem hope to America. He is the long-lasting hero who we have looked up to for over fifteen years, the one who we have experienced many highs and lows with, the one who Hugh Jackman is now making his adieu to, yes, he is Logan, or as some would know him, Wolverine.
But it’s not all fun and games anymore, with a crisp, well-earned R rating to match the red on dust violence this franchise needed. Director James Mangold (Kate & Leopold, Walk the Line) makes the most of Logan’s legacy with the bloodiest action you’ll see this spring. Especially with the backdrop upon the Mexican border, this gritty view of classic comic books feels more like a modern day western than a popcorn flick.
Logan’s first mode of action is taking down several immigrants attempting to steal one of his hubcaps. Then he receives a request from an unknown Mexican woman, demanding he escorts a little silent girl named Laura to North Dakota. His motivation for this is low, until three motivations erupt. One, he watches an upsetting video of mutant children in hospitals forcefully trained to become soldiers as if in a concentration camp. Two, she is one of these mutant children. Three, she is his daughter. So now with her on the road with him as well as Professor X, Logan learns his responsibility to punish those who neglect the gifts of these mutants.
While the overall look of this journey looks nice, cinematographer John Mathieson (Gladiator) constantly sets up horrible lighting arrangements that make the backgrounds lighter than the subject’s face. It becomes especially problematic, I might add, when he films the action scenes super up close, with nothing but a forgettable musical score to back it up. This is not the only thing that hurts the tension of the action scenes, but the aftereffects of the turmoil are weak, with no thanks to the unconvincing makeup effects. If you don’t believe me, look at the albino man who serves as Logan and Professor X’s personal assistant: The pale texture of his skin looks plastered on from at most ten minutes in the makeup chair.
At least that’s a minor complaint. Compare that to the stellar performances by Dafne Keen and Patrick Stewart, and this may just as well be the greatest achievement based off a Marvel comic. Stewart in particular steals the show with his aged, frail curtain call of a presence that just disorients your expectations further whenever he gets a seizure.
With such a humble grandfather figure here to ground us into the foundation of this world, it’s too bad that there’s nothing else in the backdrop to give us a sense of Mexico’s and Texas’ true culture. The latest Academy Award nominee Hell or High Water delved quite a bit into this culture, but the closest that Logan gets to in creating the social pressures is a brief moment in a casino, and a villain with a really bad accent. Nothing else about the look of this world looks authentic enough to buy into.
The other moral implications are also quite problematic. We all can understand that bloody adult-rated violence can lead to viewers imitating it in real life, but judging by the character of Logan as a father, he takes several actions that make me question whether he’s worth looking up to as a role model. Shortly after he brings in his daughter to escort her, she robs from a convenience store (since she grew up in a hospital and thus doesn’t know any better). While he does discipline her for attacking the clerk who tries to stop her, he robs from the store himself—and in a moment that is mostly played for laughs. Is this really the role model people should be looking up to?
But then again, this type of gritty realism proves just how far superhero movies, and superheroes in general, have come since their rising popularity. All three of the protagonists: Logan, Laura, and Professor X, learn what it means to live in this wild frontier known as the United States, as represented by the professor’s favorite motion picture, the classic western Shane.
While he may not have always been the perfect sort of hero for us to look up to over the years, it has been a great pleasure having Logan around to entertain and teach us about what’s really worth fighting for. So long, Wolverine. Thank you for your endeavors over the years, and thank you for leaving a strong legacy for the upcoming generation of mutants at heart.
If there is a specific movie you’d like to see graded, or if you are interested in guest blogging for my site, please email me at Trevor@TrevorsViewOnHollywood.com for your recommendations.
Have a great weekend, and happy watching!
Dawson, Bryan. Logan | Movie Review. Digital image. Geek News Network. Disqus, 17 Feb 2017. Web. <http://geeknewsnetwork.net/2017/02/17/logan-movie-review/>.
Logan. Fox Movies. Web. <http://www.foxmovies.com/movies/logan>.