Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Review: Logan (spoiler-free)

Logan (first-pass / SPOILER-FREE)
Cert: 15 / 137 mins / Dir. James Mangold / Trailer

Okay, the sunset glinting behind Adamantium claws on the poster may not be the most subtle of messages, but it's clear from the marketing-campaign for Logan that Fox wanted to make a very different type of movie this time. Gone are the pouting, dynamic, crowded montage shots and lens-flared logos; here's a tired old man and a single word in Helvetica Black. There'll be less fuss this time. And so, around thirty of the faithful gathered in Screen 1 for the midnight-mass of a simpler sermon*1.

And a different type of movie was, indeed, what we got. It's still very Wolverine™, but with far less of an X-Men feel (despite being inextricably linked and frequently referenced). James Mangold is at the helm again, and the film has more weight and consequence than his Samurai homage, and is far angrier than Origins as a result. The year is 2029*2 and mutants as we know them appear to be all but extinct. Logan is lying low in Mexico, growing old and sick himself while nursing a severely depleted Charles Xavier, who is now prone to seizures which are a danger to himself and everyone around him. And into their lives is thrust a young girl; scared, wild and a complete liability. Her past is a secret that Xavier and Wolverine will have to unlock if there's to be any hope for the future. To say more would be too much for this first-pass*3.

Hugh Jackman's on reliably strong form, lower on the quips this time around and higher on the actual drama. Similarly amplified is Patrick Stewart, adding more depth to his existing character whenever Xavier isn't 'medicated to a safe distance'. And I'd like to say that young Dafne Keen steals the show as Laura, but short of her action scenes (of which there are plenty), she ends up jostling for position with her co-leads. Don't get me wrong, she's great, but she isn't given the room to shine until later in the film (despite being the most furious thing in it from Act I).

And what Wolverine lacks in one-liners, he makes up for blade-work. As was noted in the trade papers around this time last year, lessons were learned from Deadpool in that you can make a comic-book movie ridiculously violent and still sell enough tickets to justify the exercise commercially. It's never lingering or too exploitative, but if you've wondered what it would look like to see a gang-member or mercenary have Adamantium claws skewering their heads? Look no further. Look no further many times, in fact. The film earns is 15-certificate in the first ten minutes and keeps it proudly on display thereafter. It's probably not unfair to say that this is the Wolverine movie fans have been waiting for, for the last seventeen years or so…

The business-end:
• Is there a Wilhelm Scream? …see below.
• Is there a Stan Lee cameo? No.
• Is there a mid-credits scene? No.
• Is there a post-credits scene? No.

I told you it was different…

So, watch this if you enjoyed?
Well y'know, Wolverine-type movies.

Should you watch this in a cinema, though?
If you're going to see it at all, see it big.

Does the film achieve what it sets out to do?
I think so.
Although I'll be watching it again, just to check

Is this the best work of the cast or director?
In this series, it may well be.

Will I think less of you if we disagree about how good/bad this film is?
I shouldn't imagine so.

Yes, but is there a Wilhelm Scream in it?
You know that thing when you see "AAIIEEE!" written in a comic-book and that's the speech-bubble equivalent of a Wilhelm Scream? Well it is, and that's in this film. So yes.

Yes, but what's the Star Wars connection?
Level 2: This film's got that Richard E. Grant in it, and he was in that Withnail And I with Ralph 'Ric Olié' Brown…

And if I HAD to put a number on it…

*1 While an audience of around thirty doesn't sound like a lot (and indeed isn't), we can take comfort in the fact that it at least triples the footfall for last year's midnight-showing of Apocalypse, even if that was a turnout which the film kind of deserved. Also working in the film's favour tonight was Fox's scheduling-gimmick. This wasn't actually a midnight screening, but a one at twenty three minutes past ten. As in 10:23. As in X23, in reference to one of the characters in the film. Although by the time we'd enjoyed the requisite amount of adverts, trailers and adverts, it was more like X49, to be fair. Still, I mustn't grumble about being able to do my late-night cinema viewing at a slightly more sociable time. [ BACK ]

*2 There are self-driving cargo-containers in the 2029, but Logan's got an iPhone 6 and people are still vaping. Sometimes it's best not to question the future too intensely. [ BACK ]

*3 Yes, unlike Apocalypse, I'm actually planning on seeing this again, at which point there will be spoiler-ific words. It's not like I'm sworn off Apocalypse, I just haven't bothered watching it since that first time. Waiting for the BluRay to come down to under a tenner, by which time I might have forgotten how problematic the film is… [ BACK ]

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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