Rob Reviews "Logan"
It is crazy to realize that the “X-Men” film franchise turns seventeen this year. Within its Fox/Marvel Universe, there have been three canon films, three “extended” films, a standalone “Deadpool,” and now three films dealing with Wolverine himself. With Hugh Jackman there through it all, he decided to make “Logan” his swan song with the character. Citing a battle with skin cancer as well as the undefeated streak of Father Time, he teams up with “The Wolverine” director James Mangold to have a go at it one more time.
This story takes place in the fairly distant future, as mutants (copyright Fox) have been all but removed from our reality. Logan himself is working in the border town of El Paso as a limo driver to make ends meet while he is living on the other side of the border in an abandoned mill with tracker mutant Caliban (Stephen Merchant) as they both are taking care of an aged Professor X (Patrick Stewart), who is having health and sanity issues of his own that Logan is trying to keep at bay with drugs he is bribing a local hospital for. When the mercenary group known as The Reavers come calling looking for a girl (Dafne Keen) that has powers similar to Logan’s, they go on the run to get her to safety.
To say this is loosely based on the Marvel blockbuster storyline “Old Man Logan” could be the understatement of the year. It is like saying “Godzilla” is loosely based on “Jurassic Park”: you could see the possibility, but there is no way that would actually be true. This is not to say that “Logan” is a bad film, but I truly cannot say that “Logan” is a great film either. When judging on the pantheon of Fox’s take of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (copyright Disney), this is at least ahead of the curve, but that for me is where the issue lies. I don’t dig on the fact that I have to judge this film on a curve based on the studio that is holding a character hostage, and make no mistake: that is what Fox is doing with its properties. They truly should take the route that Sony took with “Spider-Man: Homecoming” and make this thing a partnership so that The House of Mouse can get things right. (Yes, “Fantastic Four,” I am talking to all three of your films.)
Outside of what has always been the height problem of Jackman playing the character, he truly gets the essence of Logan himself. The rage he has always felt about being dealt the hand life has given him, the hero in him that struggles with that rage, the loner that still wants to be part of something bigger, the reluctant father-son relationship he has with Professor X: it’s all there. This is one of the rare actor-character combinations that can actually make a story better. And the love that he and Stewart have for each other may have never been more apparent than it is here, and that chemistry is on full display. Merchant is also a nice addition as Caliban, portraying the character fairly almost as Logan’s conscience that he doesn’t want to listen to. But then again, this is Logan: listening to other people is not one of his strong suits.
The real topic to talk about with this film is Keen. Her portrayal of Laura Linney (also known as X-23, copyright Fox) is nothing short of brilliant. Her eyes alone speak more than she has to in the entire two hour, fifteen minute run time of “Logan”. She is everything you want her to be, as a child of a program that her tormentors want to erase every trace of. She is scared, sheltered, and powerful… and she KNOWS it. She is the perfect “other side” of Logan and almost steals the film from the title character.
Again, this is a good film, but I cannot say that it is a great film. For it being Jackman’s last time, there is a sense of bittersweet to it, but that emotion is not enough for me to honestly say it is worth running through walls to get to. It IS enjoyable, but don’t also go nuts and pay IMAX 3-D either.