The films in the X-Men Series have never held my attention for long. I’ve seen the first, and a few off and on since then (including “The Wolverine”, this director’s and the titular Logan’s last film, which I found decent if not groundbreaking, a trend which will continue), only being curious when hearing positive things and never fully investing in the world created.
Last year saw the release of “Deadpool”, an X-Men tie in film I did see, and met with some disdain. Held back in it’s desire to be new and fresh by the same tropes it was mocking/turning on their heads was my main complaint, another sentiment which will be repeated. And now in 2017 the viewing world has “Logan”, a rated R action film about Wolverine and Professor X’s adventures in the future. As one would expect, it’s grim and dirty, much more akin to “The Dark Knight” than anything Fox has done, superhero-wise. But just including more bloody action and depressing plots lines does not improve it as a film.
In “Logan”, Wolverine is living out the end of his life taking care of Professor X and attempting to get enough money from being a limo driver to buy them a boat to live on. His plans come to a dramatic end when a new mutant is brought to him, one of the few to have been created in the past years. Then, the three of them embark on a journey across the U.S. to a place called Eden that Wolverine doubts exists.
The film goes on like that, with spurts and stops, for the majority of its two-plus hour runtime. It grows exhausting, and when one setback compounds another, pointless. The action is gorier, to be sure, but hardly better because of it; instead of the fluid, thrilling action films like “Dredd” or “The Raid” have to offer, it is as blurry and edited as the majority of PG-13 superhero (or not) action films to come out this past decade. There are strong moments of action, (when the children use their powers, for example), where it shows what would happen if people with X-Men powers were unleashed on a realistic world, but for the most part it is cartoonish and pointless as much as what you would’ve seen in “X-Men: Apocalypse.”
What really is off about “Logan” is how late it feels. Sure, it looks more polished and superior to most of these films, but there is so much that just recalls an 80s-early 90s action film. Hugh Jackman, though excellent in the scenes where he gets to give dramatic moments, attacks much like Jean-Claude Van Damm or Sylvester Stallone would, full of lumbering and hard to believe combat. There’s a scene of awkward, miscellaneous nudity, of course, and a begrudging hero accepting money to help someone and eventually becoming emotionally invested. Some of the tropes blend in well together, a fight scene between Wolverine and someone with the same powers towards the middle of the film calls to mind, but most make the opposite end stick out further.
There really isn’t much to distinguish it from “Tango and Cash” or “Hard Target” except the overall quality of the picture. Which isn’t to say there isn’t fun or enjoyment to be found here, of course there is, as there is in those two action flicks previously mentioned. The difference is that this is sitting atop many people’s favorite superhero films of all time list, which it hardly deserves. It’s a passable film, just nothing special, and it saddens me to see it heralded as that.
Logan: 3/5 Cigars