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Logan – film review

March 4, 2017

LOGAN

Brutal body count with heart distinguishes Jackman’s fnal bow as Marvel fave.

Reviewed on Thursday 2nd March 2017

logan-hugh-jackman-2017

Directed by James Mangold. Screenplay by Scott Frank & James Mangold and Michael Green, story by James Mangold. Starring: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Richard E. Grant and introducing Dafne Keen. Running time: 137 mins.

NOTE: THE FOLLOWING REVIEW IS SPOILER FREE.

It is no secret Hugh Jackman has been wanting the opportunity to play the Wolverine character in a more adult-oriented, less ‘comic booky’ vehicle (something which 2013’s The Wolverine originally hoped to achieve – but ultimately failed to follow through on). And with this, James Mangold’s own follow-up to that particular missed opportunity, Jackman has fnally gotten his wish. And, refreshingly, it appears there was very little (if any) studio meddling in this fnal installment of Jackman’s highly-regarded multi picture run as the Wolverine character.

Make no mistake, sporting a level of violence and brutality not seen in any previous Marvel releases (aside from last year’s Deadpool) – this flm is unashamedly aimed at mature audiences. Featuring numerous skull stabbings and limb-loppings, it’s diffcult to guess the exact body count – but I’d dare say it would defnitely be up there with 2014’s equally hyper-violent John Wick.

Being the last mutant of his generation, Logan’s immortality has clearly taken its toll since we last saw him. A bitter, haunted shell of his former self, now living in self-imposed exile from society, his regeneration powers waning, Logan works as a limo driver in order to supply an ailing Professor Xavier (Patrick Stewart) with the drugs he needs to keep his increasingly erratic and potentially dangerous psychic abilities at bay. And much like Michael Douglas’ character in Romancing the Stone, Logan’s external yearning (the thing which kick-starts the plot) is to earn enough cash in order to buy a boat and simply sail away; while his internal yearning (being the one he is unaware of) is to rekindle his ability to care for others (for, immortality, as we know, makes one vulnerable to the trauma brought about by the continued loss of loved ones). As it turns out, the solution to both Logan’s inner and outer yearnings arrives in the form of Laura (Dafne Keen), a hunted young girl Logan is hired to transport across the US to rumoured ‘sanctuary’ in Canada.

Despite the dark, gritty tone, there is a deeply-felt emotional core to this flm; provided by the beautifully realized chemistry between Logan, Xavier and Laura; giving us a real sense of authenticity not usually seen in more one dimensional comic book fare.

There is no question Jackman inhabits the role he has claimed as his own. And much like Christopher Reeve as the quintessential Superman, it is diffcult to imagine anyone aside from Jackman playing this character in what will be the inevitable future reboots. And Patrick Stewart is always a joy to watch, but here (thanks to a screenplay which gives him plenty to work with) – he delivers one of the best performances of his long and distinguished career. And newcomer Dafne Keen (with Logan marking her frst ever big screen appearance) – as Logan’s rebellious charge, is also very good.

While the opening action sequence in which we see Logan single-handedly take out   a gang of would-be carjackers is shot a tad too close to get a clear sense of what is going on, Mangold does handle action more coherently later on – particularly with Logan’s narrow escape from his New Mexico retreat with the bad guys in pursuit. Another standout sequence is the beautifully-staged scene where Xavier uses his psychic powers (like a human EMP) to paralyze a Vegas hotel full of people when     the bad guys attempt a takedown. Interestingly, although taking place in the year 2029, the depiction of the future is fundamentally no different from present day; with automated cargo trucks barreling along the highway being the most outlandish concept (an idea, incidentally, most likely cribbed from the long forgotten 1990       sci-fi thriller Solar Crisis).

My only quibble with Logan is the flm’s length. While the running time of 137 minutes is warranted to some extent (this being Wolverine’s alleged swansong), it does tend to drag somewhat heading into the fnal act. However, for those, like me, who have felt this tiresome tsunami of comic book movies currently clogging the cineplexes to be generic, bland and repetitive in the extreme – be rest assured; Logan is something else. It isn’t just a great comic book movie, it’s a great movie – period.

4 stars out of 5

Star ratings: 1 – poor / 2 – below average / 3 – good / 4 – excellent / 5 – unmissable

Viewed at the Event Cinemas Megaplex Marion, Adelaide, March 2nd 2017

Greg Moss is a flm school graduate with a background in directing music videos     and is currently seeking representation as a screenwriter. He likes creative people, feeding the cat and watching genre movies. Greg can also be heard on the Blu-ray commentary track for the 1980 sci-f thriller Saturn 3, out now from Scream Factory.

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