Logan is the best Wolverine movie, and it is arguably the best movie its director: James Mangold has done. That’s enough for me to register it as a positive review on Rotten Tomatoes, though I must say when I see a trailer like this one had, the best of the year since Suicide Squad’s, expectations tend to fly way beyond that. Adding to that great feedback from early critic screenings you have yourself a recipe for being let down.
Logan is smart enough to ground itself by doing the one thing no comic book movie does nowadays, have an honest to goodness ending. Though I will say the biggest letdown was most disappointing when the theatre lights came up 10 minutes before the movie was about to end. That really took me out of the moment. Though I believe any movie’s true nature will be able to shine through the experience one has while watching it, I must say it ruined my cinematic going experience. Shame on you Landmark Cinemas as you must bear the burden of a filmgoing experience I wanted perfect but ended up coming short. That said, the overall feeling is not completely their fault as the movie right from its title starts to gather a bunch of nitpicky elements that any film franchise with this sort of baggage is going to struggle to carry.
“Those are chrome plated lugnuts, you’re not going to take them off you’re just going to strip them.” Later on, those same nuts are found in pursuit of the driven vehicle, a small but pointed mistake the film makes among many others. These all seem representative of “too many cooks in the kitchen” or rather writer’s in the writer’s room. Small overlaps or things that should have had better oversight like a roadside instance where Charles uses his powers in a way that has never been done before, but also doesn’t quite make sense. It sure moves the plot along but doesn’t feel either as organic or poetic as it wants to be.
James Mangold frequently has this problem in movies where his brilliant setup is often undone by a weak third act. In a way he’s the director’s equivalent to screenwriter Damon Lindelof, but like that creators work on The Leftovers he finally seems to have learned from his mistakes. The movie, somewhat appropriately as slow as it is does not falter in its ending, as it remains consistent with its second act. I found that the movie did drag a lot more than I expected to, but as Hugh Jackman’s final turn as Wolverine I was happy to stay in that world as long as the film would let me.
The biggest somewhat hidden strength to this franchise is its characters and that is revealed in this chapter in three ways. Patrick Stewart, in the movies best combination of star and setup manages to play the dangerous mind of Professor X as dementia enabled potty-mouth while still managing to seem like the same character. Newcomer Dafne Keen as Laura the mysterious child Logan must help in a The Last Of Us/ Children of Men style setup that repeats those beats to a lesser effect is a wonderful new wild card addition to the film canon and part of me wishes she manage to stick around despite this purportedly being the final entry. Finally, Boyd Holbrook gets a slick introduction playing the villain in pursuit who should’ve gotten a bit more to do.
There are enough elements here that can be exercised to make a great film, unfortunately due to the direction, [Mangold is good, not great] they are exercised in a way that coupled with its somewhat uneven plot development and pacing aren’t realized to their full impact. Much you can forgive for the movie at least introducing these intriguing elements, like the mysterious corporation that houses and hunts mutants. For a film series as long as this not to hold your hand makes sense. Instead like Wolverine, giving enough time to sort itself out might have been the most important choice, but regardless the overall package Logan ends up with is still one I wish I was more satisfied with.
Series Ranking: Logan > The Wolverine > X-Men Origins: Wolverine
This movie must’ve used temp tracks while composing its score I thought to myself [I later checked & this was true]. Shame because there were perfect moments where a good score could have fit in here & Marco Beltrami is a respectable name but alas it wasn’t.
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