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March 13, 2017 | by  | in Film | [ssba]

Logan (2017)

Director — James Mangold

Good heavens above, I did not think that in March of the cinematic year, my two favourite films thus far would be M. Night Shyamalan’s Split and the tenth instalment of the X-Men franchise. Not bad, not bad at all.

In Logan we find Hugh Jackman busting out his claws for an eighth round as Wolverine. Thankfully, even this late in a series which has always held as much potential to be brilliant as well as awful, the final product is outstanding.

The opening scene sets a tone wherein we follow Logan on a path of redemption that starts with him in the darkest place Wolverine has ever gone to on film. It was a risky move for an otherwise bankable genre, and the darker tone is echoed perfectly by an increased level of violence that, though gory, does not detract from the quality of the film. In fact, it was refreshing to see a realistic portrayal of what happens when an insanely muscular man with six massively long blades in his knuckles is let loose on a couple of dozen baddies. The result undeniably falls into the category “metal as fuck.”

Every action sequence is packed with tension and adrenaline and, unlike the majority of blockbuster content, you can feel the slicing and dicing thanks to the visceral direction of James Mangold.

This would all be for nothing if we didn’t feel for the characters. There’s a colossal weight of the past upon Logan which comes through in more vulnerable moments, and similar regrets haunt the ailing Charles Xavier who Logan cares for. Both have lost people, and there comes a point when it doesn’t matter that those characters died in the two worst instalments in the series (The Last Stand and Origins: Wolverine) because you just want to give them a hug.  

It’s basically icing on top of the cake when you add the fact that in 2017 the themes of X-Men are more relevant than ever — in the universe, mutants are still being treated as poorly as in the past. The film often pauses to make societal observations and grants a surprisingly comprehensive insight into xenophobia, ethics, and being a minority.

Let me remind you that this a Wolverine film — about a cigar-smoking, cursing, indestructible man-mutant played by Hugh Jackman. Of equal note to Jackman’s home run as the title character is Dafne Keen, who plays Laura, a young counterpart who attracts a lot of attention from some seriously evil people due to her considerable abilities. She nails it in every scene. The only real problem with any of the characters comes in the form of the villains, in that one is really good, and the other is more of a C+. All in all, in a series that has had its serious ups and downs, this end to the penultimate chapter is both riveting and satisfying for fans of both its characters and action/superhero films in general.

— Finn Holland


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