Logan is my first proper 2017 film-release movie review. But let’s detract abit here. After a pretty exciting awards season last year which, for the first time, awarded Best Picture to a movie (Moonlight) which was also my favourite, 2017 seemed to cement itself as the year for the underdogs. It saw Roger Federer came back from the dead to beat Rafa Nadal in the Australian Open…both of which induced my loud and screaming exaltations of ‘Holy fuc*’. On February 5th, the New England Patriots dug deep to pull of a historic comeback win against the Atlanta Falcons; Just this week, FC Barcelona came back from a 0-4 deficit in the first leg of the Champions League round-of-16 to beat Paris Saint-Germain 6-1 at home to progress in the most incredible and unbelievable fashion. So you might be asking, what the hell is your point? Logan, it seems, doesn’t really fit in into the discussion. But it is a movie that has restored my faith in an ailing, crowd-pleasing and trope-sticking action-fest that has become of the superhero genre. I guess my point is that it’s an unlikely hero. I’ve never been particularly drawn to the Wolverine canon nor find superhero films particularly stimulating, insightful or simply ‘good’. X-Men: Days of Future Past was a rare gem and Nolan’s Dark Knight was decent. But Logan is a class above. I think it’s suffice to say this is the kind of gritty neo-western kind of affair that’s more invested in emotions than easy resolutions and more attuned to the sensibilities of the human than the extraodinaire of the mutant. It’s not totally genre-breaking nor is it the art-house anti-hero movie like Drive, but Logan sets itself apart enough to catch my eye and break my heart. Poignant, emotionally-charged while still offering loads of gritty action and bloodshed, Logan is a triumph.
Perhaps the best scene in Logan is the dinner scene where Logan, Charles and Laura get invited to have dinner with some decent family in the outback en route to their destination. It’s a moment you never actually see anywhere in any other superhero movie. In one scene, the whole disconnect in the mutant-human dichotomy makes way for familial warmth and acceptance. The lead-up to their dinner together is yet another quiet and subtle scene that is proof of the film’s more character-driven sequences.
From riveting action-sequences, car-chasing dirtroad action, slicing, blood and deaths, the film is able to unearth the consequences of character choices and fate as something psychologically taxing and difficult. There’s an authenticity to the way it’s characters are portrayed. Perhaps it’s because James Mangold’s scenes involving the toxic-yet-understandable cynicism of Logan and the way that Hugh Jackman fully embraces the nilhilistic narrative arc for his character that gives the film something to chew on seriously. Charles degenerating condition and Laura’s unfortunate conception confront us head-on, and the vulnerability and volatility of their situation strikes home in one personal way or another. By showcasing the weakness of his protagonists and, more importantly, the real-world decisions and actions (instead of their superpowers) that empower their character, Logan is the first truly realist type of superhero film that becomes much more than a superhero film.
I’m sure most of you have already seen the film but I won’t reveal too much for the benefit of those who haven’t. It’s the first truly good superhero movie that manages all of it’s moral themes without the typical grandeur of the superhero genre. It doesn’t try to be more than what it is. But in conclusion, Logan is a film where we can relate to these characters in a way where their redemption and struggle is inherently ours as well…something we internalize and empathize rather than gawk and wonder at from a distance. And that is something truly great in my books. I loved Logan ❤
Dafne Keen is absolutely smashing it in this film and Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart give extremely engaging and touching performances.