Directed by James Mangold
Story by James Mangold and David James Kelly
Screenplay by Scott Frank, James Mangold, and Michael Green
Characters by John Romita Sr., Roy Thomas, Len Wein, Herb Trimpe
Character Laura Kinney/X-23 Created by Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost
Music by Marco Beltrami
Cinematography by John Mathieson
Film Editing by Michael McCusker and Dirk Westervelt
Casting By Lisa Beach and Sarah Katzman
*There is a CLAW! There is an actual special scene before the movie and you are going to adore it. Get there early!*
Thank you, Entertainment Weekly, for devoting the cover of your latest issue to a giant spoiler to this much-anticipated film. There are some people who are greatly looking forward to seeing Logan who haven’t read Marvel comic as it came out, nor is everyone who enjoys the movies a hardcore fanfolk of the different X-Men universes. We wouldn’t want audiences to die of suspense though, so thank you for that.
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This is a darker vision of the of X-Men than which audiences are accustomed. It is altogether a more emotionally connected one, also, giving more than the heartache obvious on Wolverine’s face as he tried to reach out again and again for Jean Grey only to have to see her love for Cyclops. In the earlier films, empathy is almost exclusively an incredible power held by some Mutants, not an emotion to be explored in-depth when there are fight scenes, buildings and vehicles to destroy, and special effects, not to mention more incredible powers to be highlighted. What has changed to knock that blueprint off the table?
Simply 2029. The world is a much different place. Those who are left are living in a rusty dystopia where the line between governments and corporations has finally been blurred completely. That scenario never has a happy ending, because you cannot put the special interests in charge of themselves without grinding those not on the upper tier at that point into dust. And the people at the top don’t have to see the world as it has become; the dust from droughts and mud from monsoons never reaches them in their homes above the cloud lines.
Those who are left… There is no escaping a weight of loss and wistfulness throughout Logan as you realise that all those astonishing Mutants are gone — heroes and villains and those who were never certain where their loyalties truly fell. (Some will already know what wiped the hundreds of thousands of them out, but for those who don’t, they will not find the answer here.) An X-Men universe with only one or two battered Mutants is sombre place, not the world where anything could happen and a new Mutant was definitely going to show up and electrify us all. Sometimes literally. Here in 2029 all that remain are melancholy memories of the school, the battles, the victories, the resurrections, and, yes, the losses. But, not losses like this stark and lonely plain.
Logan has lived around two hundred years and by the beginning of the film he finally looks as if he is starting to feel it. Obviously, he doesn’t look two centuries old, but looking into his eyes you see a man who feels and remembers every minute of that time and, just maybe, that has been long enough for him. So tired inside, tired of the things he’s seen and all he’s had to do to survive and try to save his friends and the ones he loved. Maybe that is why his body is healing ever more slowly and immortality does not seem so likely anymore.
But, there is another kind of immortality and she has just been thrust into Logan’s life, slashing and kicking and faster than, well, Wolverine these days. Meet Laura, a cyclone of slaughter and rage, and the number one target of the largest of one of those Corporate/Oligarchies, willing to do anything to get her. So, against his wishes, though he wants nothing to do with helping those who need him anymore, Logan goes on the run with Laura.
And the bad guys with their bottomless resources are never more never more than a step behind.
Logan boasts an impressive cast even in the small roles, of which there are such things. Boyd Holbrook makes an excellent evil pointman and has been good enough at it to play the character in two Liam Neeson non-Taken films. Tracker Caliban is played by none other than Stephen Merchant, whom you may know as Ricky Gervais writing partner for The Office, star of Hello, Ladies, or Barron Hilton in the TV movie Art Of The Deal. Elizabeth Rodriguez from one of my top five movies, The Drop. Eriq La Salle plays Will Munson, but the ER fans will remember him as Peter Benton. The movie is lousy with talent.
All told, I’d say it may be the best of the three Wolverine films. There were some gentlemen leaving the theatre who compared it unfavourably to Suicide Squad. *ick* Maybe, if the inclusion of emotion takes precious time away from blood, green-screen, and motion capture, you will be disappointed, if that is the only thing you want, because there is still a shitload of that stuff. Or, if you want more from your superhero/action movies, this is just for what you are looking. One of my other top five all-time movies is just like that.
*AH! There is a CLAW! There is actually a special scene before the movie and you are going to adore it. Get there early!*