NO WAY TO TREAT A SUPERHERO
Film Review by Fiore
There is a special breed of fanboy who likes when superheroes are dark, brooding and display tremendous human flaws wedged in between their powers. This is not my concept of a superhero. They should be better than mere mortal men; an icon to emulate. Wolverine, one of my favorite of the large cast of X-Men is not presented this way in LOGAN, and I think that’s why I have such a problem with this film.
A while ago, BPTV Director Dave Cable lent me a comic series called The Avengers Ultimate. It presented the superheroes comprising the Avengers as tragically blemished people. I was not impressed with the series, though I understand it was well received and serves as the foundation for many of the Marvel films.
As for the X-Men, I’ve stated repeatedly I truly enjoyed Brian Singer’s initial trilogy. I have not cared for any of the other seven films. The prequels were dauntingly boring and kept quality stars like Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy from better projects. The two solo Wolverine films were mind-numbingly insipid.
When it comes to the X-Men, Wolverine is the second-best character. The first is unquestionably Mystique as played by Rebecca Romijn, not Jennifer Lawrence. If I could have any of the X-Men super powers, it would be hers. Wolverine runs a close second. As played by Hugh Jackman, he embodies all the essential male qualities feminists hate.
Now, all that background should provide my mindset as I entered the press screening for LOGAN. The film is billed as the final Wolverine flick, as Hugh Jackman is a bit too long in the tooth to continue jumping around like a crazed animal. I desperately wanted LOGAN to be Jackman’s epic swansong; something that would let one of the best X-Men go out with style and dignity. What I received instead was a meandering movie that featured Wolverine sleeping most of the time, and whining like a PMS woman the rest of the time.
The year is 2029 and all the mutants have been eliminated; all except for Wolverine and Professor X, Charles Xavier, again played by Patrick Stewart. Here is the first of LOGAN’s many inconsistencies. The last we saw of Charles, he was disassembled into atoms by a psychotic Jean Grey, who had manifested as Phoenix. True, after the credits, Charles’ essence appeared in the body of a comatose quadriplegic, but, how did he become Patrick Stewart again? There is no explanation and viewers, as well as fan boys, are supposed to ignore previous plot lines and just accept this scenario as a given. That is shoddy script writing, at best.
Wolverine is in hiding with Professor X in Mexico; though he periodically crosses the border to serve as a chauffeur to make some mullah. Logan keeps Charles in a drug induced haze because the good professor, the most powerful mind in the world, is suffering from dementia. Occasionally, his mental outbursts lay waste to towns and cities. To compound the tragedy, Logan is dying. The adamantium fused to his skeleton is now poisoning him, making it difficult to utilize his talons and his healing ability. Stewart looks, and acts like an old coot for his role, while Jackman is a shell of his former self. He lost considerable bulk compared to his previous outings as Wolverine. Logan wants to buy a boat so the two has been superheroes can live the rest of their days out in the middle of the ocean.
Perhaps I’m injecting too much into what is essentially a comic book, but since all the current graphic novel authors consider themselves to be the pinnacle of social engineers, how is it Logan, and everyone else, can cross the Mexican border without impunity? There is no wall, and apparently, no extreme vetting, so, what happened? Open borders by 2029? Does not seem likely, unless there is a progressive revolution. If there is, then why did the progressives kill all the mutants? That certainly does not hold to the mantra of tolerance and acceptance. The year 2029, in sci-fi/fantasy lore, is also the year Cyberdyne began its world conquest, forcing mankind to rely on one John Connor to prevent the rise of the machines. Yet, 2029 in LOGAN looks like downtown LA. The cars, buildings, cities, restaurants and fashion all appear as if in present time. A tale set in the future, should have some futuristic elements to it, even if it is a different future as depicted in the TERMINATOR series.
For antagonists, naturally, it’s the greedy, corrupt military complex under the Transigen moniker. Without mutants, they have decided to create their own mutants in laboratories, to be used as weapons. Is there really nothing original for a storyline? This one is so clichéd, no one flinches when it is revealed. Richard Grant plays Zander Rice, the mad scientist trying to make home-made mutants; and Boyd Holbrook is Donald Pierce who is the muscle for Transigen.
The fulcrum for the tale is Laura, a mutant child who has escaped the lab and is seeking asylum in Canada. She is played by Dafne Keen. There is no explanation why our neighbors in the Great White North are suddenly a sanctuary country for mutants. Laura was grown in a lab, and you’ll never guess whose DNA they used to format her. Obviously, she seeks Logan for assistance in her trek. Keen acts like so many irritating child characters in film today. She is a brat and by the third reel, you’re hoping someone will have the decency to kill her.
KEY SCENES TO LOOK FOR:
1. THE OPENING CARJACK SCENE
2. THE FARMHOUSE
LOGAN is directed by James Mangold, who also takes scriptwriting credit, along with Michael Green and Scott Frank. Their concept of concluding the Wolverine saga is noble, but allow world-saving superheroes to go out with a bit of dignity. They do not. Logan spends far too much screen time complaining, sleeping and hungover. And, in a message not intended for children, or those of weak constitutions, he manages the final battle in the concluding reel, only by injecting an illegal drug.
Micale McCusker and Dirk Westervett prove once again too many editors spoil the production. LOGAN drags in the second act, with many repetitious or unnecessary scenes; like the bathroom fiasco. Clocking in at two hours and fifteen minutes, the film is easily 45 minutes too long. There is, however, a solid soundtrack by Marco Beltrami, who continues to be a Hollywood stalwart.
Let’s take a look at the report card for LOGAN:
ACTING = C
CINEMATOGRAPHY = C
SOUND/MUSIC = A
EDITING = F
LIGHTING = C
SCRIPT = D
SFX = C
ACTION = C
LOGAN features heroes, who are not heroic. Superheroes in old age may not be pretty, but there should be some consistency with the personas they’ve established. For example: How is it Professor X cannot control his mind from wiping out an entire casino, yet he can control a herd of horses?
LOGAN is strictly for the fanboys who like to see their heroes humiliated. The movie is morbid and morose and not assembled well enough to make those qualities viable. Jackman is gone; with luck, I’ll be able to soon say the same about the entire X-Men franchise. It has not been worthwhile since Singer’s third film.