Friday, May 26, 2017

Logan: Did It Really Have To Be So Brutal?

Movie Review: Logan (2016)
Version: Library Borrow

The action is brutal. The language is not for young viewers. But, man, Logan was one incredibly fascinating film.

We've been watching the X-Men franchise for some time, loving the characters and the plot lines. We grew up admiring the underdog Wolverine, who never wanted to be a mutant transformed into a deranged war machine. Logan takes that story line into its final step as Wolverine takes on his real name, Logan, to finally escape what he's become. Along the way, he takes Professor Xavier with him, a severely handicapped mutant with horrific seizures that disable the world around him. Logan's plan is to eventually buy a yacht and sail off with Xavier far away from civilization and the interference of corporate interests. Only, the corporate interests won't have it. And complicating his plans are Laura and a small band of newly minted mutants escaping the corporation to save their lives. It's up to a reluctant Logan to help them reach safety, despite the pursuit of a dogged Pierce and Dr. Rice and their gang of mercenary thugs.

The setting takes place in 2029 and has an apocalyptic feel to it. There isn't much joy to be found in this film, save the fine performances by Hugh Jackman reprising their roles as Logan (Wolverine) and Patrick Stewart as Charles (Professor Xavier), and the dynamite performance of Dafne Keen as mutant Laura, who can kick thug ass better than most adult actors. Watch out Jackie Chan, she's gunning for your martial arts chaps.

This is as dark a version of X-Men as you will ever find. Logan's frustration with life and circumstances come out most notably in his obsessive alcoholic consumption and continual swearing in the film. He is ready to die! Yet, he is also committed to preserving Professor Xavier, although that may also be to stave off the violent seizures that threaten all life around him. Xavier, meanwhile, plays the fool throughout most of this film, a far cry from the intelligent, purposeful leader of mutants of past. It represents a struggle from beginning to end, both for the characters and the actors, to finally put end to their roles in this popular franchise. Really, did it have to be so violent, so brutal, so visceral?

There isn't much more to say about or for this film. As a family, we agreed watching Logan once was quite enough. A day later, we are still dazed. Rent or borrow Logan once if you must, but then let it gather dust on the shelf forever after.

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