Part western, part road drama, part futuristic sci-fi, Logan is a magical standalone piece of cinema despite its franchise connections. The first trailer was gritty and resonant and, if you didn’t know better, you might not have pegged it as an X-Men movie. There’s no giant monsters, no fate of the entire planet at stake.
I grew up with the X-Men. They empowered me. Kid-me would not know what to make of this movie. And that’s not just because of the graphic violence. Logan is what I didn’t realize I needed from the X-Men as an adult.
It’s the quietest, most introspective action movie I can recall. It tackles aging, ability, disillusionment, family, personal baggage, and hope for the future with heart and fight scenes. It’s not what you’d expect from a superhero movie and it’s hard not to want more like this.
Relating to the notion of wanting to pack it in, avert your eyes, even run away is not so difficult. Together James Mangold and Hugh Jackman have created a character and story where you don’t fault the man known as Wolverine for feeling the way he does. You find yourself wanting Logan to attain what’s right for him anyway. Patrick Stewart’s theatrics give way to a voice of peace as a Charles Xavier grappling with mental illness and tragedy. And Dafne Keen as Laura simultaneously brings fierceness and vulnerability to what could have so easily been an one-dimensional plot device of a role.
This film takes these three generations of main characters on beautiful arcs while developing their relationships with each other. The growth of both Logan and Laura is paced so honestly. There’s a complexity deeper and different than most passings of the torch. Resolutions are tough and yet somehow acceptable. It all serves as a fitting goodbye to Jackman and Stewart as these characters they’ve made their own.
It’s been so easy for superhero movies to succeed with flash and formulaic sequences. Logan is not without spectacle or CG, but it is grounded. Logan reminds us of the power of characters themselves and leaves a desire for more of this profundity in storytelling, for more of this willingness to break out of the mold.
Taken w/ LEICA S, 90mm, ISO 100 1/125 ƒ6.8 — photo by JM pic.twitter.com/V05Ex0IMA4
— Mangold (@mang0ld) January 15, 2017
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