Josh and Violet share their spoiler-free male vs. female perspective reviews of Logan, directed by James Mangold, and starring Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart!
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Violet’s Movie Review of
Logan is the latest film in the X-Men universe, and is directed by James Mangold (The Wolverine), who also had a hand in writing it. The film stars Hugh Jackman as Logan/Wolverine, Patrick Stewart as Charles Xavier/Professor X, and newcomer Dafne Keen.
My anticipation for this movie was pretty high, and I really wanted to go into it without any spoilers (as one does for every movie, really). That turned out to be easier said than done, considering that we weren’t able to see the movie until Saturday evening, and by then social media is a minefield of potential spoilers from people who have already seen it Thursday night, Friday, and Saturday. Luckily, I managed to dodge them.
This movie makes me think of the 20th Century Fox panel at San Diego Comic-Con 2015, where Hugh Jackman told us that the third Wolverine movie (this one) would be his last time playing Wolverine. At that time, he also gave us a hint as to what the movie would be about, telling us that he had three words for us “Old Man Logan.” This got a huge reaction. I don’t read the comic books myself, but Josh does, and has told me about Old Man Logan, so I knew a little bit about this aspect of the Wolverine character, at least. Indeed, Old Man Logan is what we got in Logan, with the film taking place in the year 2029.
The Logan we see in this movie is a much different Logan than we’re used to seeing, or that we like to see. Not only is he older, but he’s beaten and broken down. His powers are not what they used to be. He makes money by driving a limo. Of course, Logan is not the only one who ‘s older, but so is Xavier. Much older. Logan has Xavier hidden away in Mexico, and is caring for him, with the help of another mutant. Then a woman brings a little girl named Laura to Logan and asks for his help getting her to North Dakota — for a large sum of money. It turns out that someone is after Laura. At first, he doesn’t want to help, but reluctantly agrees. He soon finds out that Laura has powers quite similar to his own. Logan, Xavier, and Laura then find themselves on the run from Laura’s pursuers as Logan unlocks the mystery behind this little girl.
If you weren’t aware, Logan is rated R, while all the other movies in the X-Men universe are rated PG-13. That in itself tells you that this movie is going to be much different from the other X-Men movies, if you couldn’t already tell by trailers for the film. This movie has a much darker, heavier, and grittier tone than your typical comic book movie. I have to admit that this might be the most emotionally invested that I have ever been in a comic book movie. It addresses a question that film audiences have never had the answer to: What happens to superheroes when they get old? It’s a good question, and quite possibly one that most of us never really wanted to think about. We don’t want our heroes to get old. We want them to be forever young. But as Logan shows us, that’s not, and cannot be, the case.
While I feel like most other comic book movies rely heavily on visuals and special effects, Logan felt more character and story driven, and seemed to take a more realistic approach, for the most part. As such, the somewhat slower pace of the movie felt warranted. Additionally, it didn’t make as much of a spectacle of the superhero powers, and instead those were a more of a secondary, though integral, aspect to the storyline. There were some pretty great action scenes, though, especially involving the little girl, Laura.
Speaking of which, I must say, I was extremely impressed with the acting ability of Dafne Keen, who played Laura. She was certainly reminiscent of Millie Bobby Brown’s character, Eleven, on Stranger Things, in that she could convey so much just with her eyes and facial expression, without having to say a word. I had to look this girl up. She is an 11-year old Spanish actress, who has only one other acting credit to her name, which was a Spanish TV show. But judging by just how talented she was in Logan, I see a bright future in acting ahead for this young girl. That’s not to take away from Hugh Jackman’s and Patrick Stewart’s stellar performances. They were both amazing, as usual. But newcomer Dafne Keen kind of stole the show.
I guess my biggest complaint, though, is that the villain seemed inexplicably resilient, especially with how easily all his lackeys around him were being taken down. He didn’t seem to really have, or use, any extraordinary abilities that would keep him safe. I felt like he could have easily been taken out much earlier, but then I guess there wouldn’t be a movie.
All in all, if you’re looking for a fun comic book movie romp, this is not it. That’s not to say that there aren’t any fun or funny parts, because there are a few. But that is not the overall tone. However, if you’re looking for something deeper, more meaningful, and heavy-hitting, you’ve come to the right place. Don’t say I didn’t warn you though.
My rating: 8.5/10
Josh’s Movie Review of
So Logan has finally come. The final movie likely for Hugh Jackman as the regenerative adamantium-skeletoned mutant X-Man. And spoiler-alert–this movie is a depressing one.
The movie takes places in the future. A future where mutants seem to be all but extinct. The only ones remaining seem to be the few that have survived until 2029, the year the movie takes place. Among the handful of remaining mutants is Xavier–but he is suffering from a degenerative brain disorder, and is not the Professor X we know and love when he was teaching other mutants to learn their power. There is one young mutant that movie centers around though, and that is X-23, or as she is simply known in the movie, Laura.
This comic book story, very loosely based on “Old Man Logan” revolves around a now old, weathered, broken Wolverine being asked to save this little girl, who exhibits similar powers to his own. Through the course of the movie we learn more about why the world is the way it is (and some of how things have changed since the events of Days of Future Past), and unfortunately, things in this timeline do not seem particularly better for mutant-kind. This makes for a pretty depressing movie, as we see calamity after calamity strike a man who we have seen already beaten to death emotionally and physically through his 150+ years of life.
But that story is a very compelling one, and one that really kept me engaged the entire movie. This is not your typical comic book action flick–it certainly has its moments of fight scenes, and over the top action, but there are a lot of adult moments in the film to. The connection between Xavier and Wolverine at this point in their lives is both sad, and relatable. One I think many normal humans have in their everyday life.
I have always been on the fence on whether movies need an R rating or not. Deadpool had a big controversy surrounding this, but I feel his character required the R rating just because of the absurdity of his character. But with Logan, I think I have been swayed a little more in favor of giving R ratings when necessary. There were some visceral moments in the movie that would I think were only possible with an R rating, and would not have been as impactful if the movie was PG-13.
As for the actual acting in the film, Hugh Jackman’s and Patrick Stewart’s performance is no surprise–they performed extremely well. But I was concerned about the child actor. Dafne Keen, the girl who plays X-23, comes off as a fierce, but lonely girl in this movie, and I think she does an extremely good job in this movie. I was really impressed with her ability to act in the film, especially because of how critical I can be about children’s parts in movies. (This makes me sound like a horrible person, doesn’t it?)
I have a few quibbles about the movie, which revolves around a few spoiler-y parts of the film, so I do not want to ruin those for people who have not seen the film. Suffice it to say, I think that the “enhanced” villain of the film was a disappointment, and not because of the actor who played that character, but it just didn’t feel right to me. I think there was a better villain choice for the film. I even have a specific one in mind, but again to avoid spoilers, I will have to keep that one to myself. I also was not so impressed with some of the other child actors that show up in the film. They unfortunately did have some of the problems I often have with child actors, and my inability to look at them as more than actors in a film, rather than seeing them as characters in a story. My last complaint would probably be pacing, in that the movie was a little slow.
However these are very minor complaints about an otherwise stellar film. I will also admit that I feel my last complaint about the film is a bit of a hypocritical one, as I think Logan did a great job changing the tone of comic book movies, and I hope to see more that are outside of the typical Avengers comic book movie, super happy-going films. I want to see dark and gritty versions of comic book stories, as much as I want to see the lighthearted, fun ones.
It is hard to rank Logan with other comic book movies because of the unique tone it has. Avengers gets you pumped up with the awesome heroic camera pans it does, and just feels really different. Logan, meanwhile, has you sad and depressed as your characters are broken at every turn. But I think if I have to assign a number, I would give it an 8.5 out of 10. If there were a couple of minor tweaks to the story, I think I would give the movie 9 or 9.5, and it could compete for favorite comic book movie of all time.
One final note–I think Hugh Jackman deserves a lot of recognition for what he has done for the comic book movie franchise. X-Men was right at the beginning of the comic book movie genre’s birth, and he has played this character in practically all of the X-Men films. Having to say goodbye to him as Wolverine is going to be tough and I will remain hopeful that we can at least get a Deadpool/Wolverine crossover.