Movie Review: Logan
By Lucas Henley
For the past seven years, Marvel has taken the cinema world by storm. Starting with the Iron Man trilogy onwards to Captain America and recently Doctor Strange, Marvel began another golden age for superhero movies. Honestly, they’ve been holding Hollywood together with all the money and media attention the films garner and don’t show any signs of stopping with many more series scheduled for the future. Even if I don’t like most of their films, I cannot deny that Marvel has found the formula to success so far this decade.
When the Avengers and its sequels came out, it received countless amounts of praise from critics and fans alike, but I’ve always had a different opinion of the Marvel dynasty. The films are extremely safe, with no risks or innovation to be found. They make a popular comic book come to life, make it PG-13, and write a script with the depth of a grade school novel. The acting is fine; the action scenes are good but overstay their welcome: it always just felt empty.
However, Logan is a completely different breed of Marvel. It is everything I have wanted from a superhero movie since the Batman Nolan trilogy: great action scenes, intriguing well written dialogue, Oscar worthy acting, and, above all, a story that for once is serious and isn’t plagued with clichés or elementary twists. My friend Erik Williams put it best: “The Avengers is for hopeful kids who haven’t truly been introduced to life, Logan is for 60 year old men who know tragedy.” The X-Men movies have been hit or miss over the course of the past decades, but the series was definitely worth it if it led to this magnum opus.
Without spoiling much of the story, I will say that this movie knows how to do pacing, and how to make a road trip interesting. The reluctant hero escorting the lonely chosen one is a common basis for a story, but the producers knew what they were doing and played to their strengths. I think that’s part of what makes the story so great. Logan is overflowing with story and character archetypes from the Bible, to Shakespeare, to Westerns, to just good ole classic story telling. Yet despite pulling from these patterns, Logan remains creative and suspenseful because it is mastered so perfectly in the film. This is what separates good films from great ones and I think the writers understood this. The dialogue is great throughout, but astounding in the scenes where it mattered. Logan is a depressing mature film with a lot of death, gore, and despair. Yet surprisingly, in a story about mutants, the movie tackles themes of mankind more than anything: the facets of nature and what life is about. I contemplated these things the entire film and, even though throughout the film I was in a pessimistic emotional state, I came out of the theater with a huge smile on my face.
My other emotions included pure shock at how great the actors were. Not a single talent was wasted and I honestly can’t think of an actor who would be better for any of the roles. Patrick Stewart and Hugh Jackman stole the show, portraying Professor X and Wolverine flawlessly. They both stated this was their final time working on an X-Men movie, and they gave the perfect sendoff. I was also pleasantly surprised by Dafne Keen, because children in films usually make me want to lose all five senses, but she did an exceptional job and had great chemistry with Hugh Jackman.
I haven’t even mentioned the fantastic action scenes with great choreography and solid camera shots. The music and sound of the film also contributed heavily to the intensity of the scenes, and I especially liked the use of Johnny Cash. The special effects were great too, a testament to their use of the R rating.
Logan is a masterpiece and if I wasn’t broke I’d go see it again. I only have one nitpicking complaint and that is I wish the ending was less abrupt and drawn out more. Other than that, hat’s off to the entire production crew. If this is what we get from future superhero movies, then my opinion on the seemingly dying franchise will change very quickly.