Hanging Up The Claws.
Firstly of all, this is the review that, apparently, is destined to not be written, as every time I sit down to write it, I’m instantly dragged in another direction by some other crap, so we’ll see if it will ever see the light of day.
Anyway, it was Reuben’s birthday over the past week so, in celebration, the lads were on the town. By which I mean we went to the cinema and got a burger. Rock the f*ck on.
Moreover, after numerous ID related worries, we got our asses down to this flick, the latest and (by all accounts) last in Hugh Jackman’s series of Wolverine-led X-Men films, with the actor reportedly retiring himself from the role that propelled him into mainstream attention all those years ago. Taking place in the near future, Logan is a burnt out limo driver, who still can’t escape his violent past as he helps a young mutant (who have since been thought to have been extinct) and chaboi Charles Xavier across the country to a safe haven called “Eden”. And, when I say ‘violent’, I do mean it, as, with a 15/R rating, it can be argued that this is one of the most mature movies Marvel has put out to date.
I guess I better talk about Jackman’s performance first, considering that, basically, all of the film’s marketing was centered around him, as you can rightly expect. Throughout the X-Men franchise, I feel as if Jackman’s approach to the character has varied, sometimes going for the snarky, almost-Deadpooly (although not nearly to the same extent) type of character, such as in the first X-Men film, or his brief appearance in First Class.
*Speaking of Deadpool, you guys should totally watch that teaser the just came out for Deadpool 2*
Anywho, sometimes Jackman goes for the grizzled, “leave me alone” character-type. I think it’s safe to say that, in Logan, he goes for the former. Honestly, I don’t think he’s played the character better. For a superhero film, this is extremely dark and he puts in a dark performance, perfectly capturing the “anti-hero” archetype.
Joining Jackman is series staple Patrick Stewart, the only other returning X-Man in the film, as well as Stephen Merchant (he lives from ’round ‘ere he does) and newcomer Dafne Keen, playing the young mutant in a spectacular breakthrough role.
Surprisingly, it’s Stewart who brings a lot of the comedy in this film, yes, there is comedy, rather than the Office-writing Merchant. However, don’t get it twisted, fool, he ain’t no laugh-a-minute rollercoaster, as a man coming to terms with his own mortality and failing health. Similarly, as the mutant-tracking Caliban, Stephen Merchant manages to complete exceed my expectations, being much more than just a comic relief, and adding another level to the story. And he kept his Bristolian accent, way-hay!
That being said, it’s possible that Dafne Keen surprises me the most in her first feature appearance as Laura, the girl with very Wolverine-like claws and tendencies. I don’t know what that could meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan…
Kidding aside, as well as my well-documented disdain for many child actors, Laura ended up being one of the most charming characters in recent memory, balancing out child-like tendencies, like reading comics and trying on sunglasses, with literally ripping out a man’s throat. Aww, how precious. She managed to play the role perfectly, even making me shed a manly-man tear made of testosterone and guns near the end. Very good, indeed.
She did bloody scream a lot though, which leads me onto one of my slight quarrels with the film. Everyone just screams all the time, whenever they kill someone, which is a lot. Not just that, it’s the same “URRRRRRRRAGGGGHHH” every single time. It negates the mature effect of the film if I can’t enjoy the action without listening to the aural equivalent of Huge Jackos spitting in my face.
Don’t get me wrong, however, while the screaming only bothered me slightly, the action rocked my damn socks off. It came thick and fast to break up the heavy dialogue and blew me away every single time. Logan earns its R-rating, as well, as you couldn’t count the amount of limbs lost in this film on an inbred’s hands, i.e. a lot. Plus, the stellar camerawork means that we aren’t subjected to nauseating shaky cam pieces, but well-directed, extremely well-choreographed absolute bastards of fights.
This leads me nicely on to my next point; this is a very stylish film. Everything is shot with such a polished, but somehow rustic, filter that every scene is a joy to look at and the action is probably the strongest example of this. Far too often nowadays, many films (not naming any names… manofsteel) opt for the gritty, as I said shaky cam, looks-like-they’ve-been-filmed-for-WorldStar fight scenes, which is disappointing. Though it’s starting to make less of an appearance, it was still noticeable in quality films like Deadpool last year, and it’s a trend that has been bugging me for the past few years. However, Logan, as I said, isn’t one of these offenders, and it’s a feature that hasn’t gone unnoticed, and has made each punch that much… punchier, for lack of a better word.
However, you could possibly class this film in the “style-over-substance” category, maybe. Now, I’m not saying it’s a shallow piece of crap, it’s an absolute beast of a film. That being said, the plot does have a touch of the “Fury Road” about it, to me, it’s just “go here”. Sure, they get up to multiple exploits on their way (the rascals) but boil it down and that’s what it is. There’s plenty of character development and everything about it is fleshed out, fer sure, but I feel like the stylishness of the film kind of overshadows it at points.
Then again, it’s an absolute blast from start to finish. It may be very stylish, but there is a good backbone to everything. When you get down to the punch, Logan is a film with heart. Perhaps it has a few other organs slapped in there as well, but it has a good heart and good emotional development for the characters. This is beginning to sound like my wrap-up paragraph, better just start that then.
Overall, Logan, with its heart, is a brilliant film. Its story is fleshed out really well, as is the character development and sense of sentiment that is tastefully dotted through. Speaking of flesh, it is also a fabulously violent and action-packed film that will satisfy any superhero fan, and movie fan in general. For a film that is two and a half hours, it really doesn’t feel like two and a half hours. I can honestly say that it’s one of the best films Marvel has put out to date, definitely the best film of the year so far (the Guardians might have something to say about that though) and a fine send-off to the “snikt”.
Lots of hugs, kisses and lacerations