Movie Review: Logan (2017)

I missed Logan when it was in the cinema and my hubby decided that he had no interest in seeing it. So, I caught it on a recent flight. But I’ve seen all the other X-men films so why not this one? It’s a problem though. On the tiny screens in airplanes, I find that a movie’s faults can really become evident. Fight scenes aren’t particularly engaging, beautiful cinematography is lost. Holes in storylines can gape.

X-men was my favourite comic book in my early teenager years. It was a clear metaphor for being gay, the idea that your powers manifest in adolescence and the world shuns you for it. And it was a delicious escape and fantasy world.

I had a fondness for Wolverine because he was Canadian, as simple as that. They made his character slightly grouchy, and slightly loveable, and when they cast Hugh Jackman as Wolverine in the first X-men films, I was enthralled. He was appropriately grouchy and attractive, and had an animal sex appeal. When was that first X-men film? Twenty years ago? Apparently, this is the ninth film that Jackman has done Wolverine.

I’d heard that this latest installment was OK (in fact, the reviews are rave) and the trailer looked pretty good. So, I was disappointed with a plodding two hours with a bare plot where everyone dies. I used to say that when everyone dies it’s like Macbeth but these days I say it’s like the Red Wedding on Game of Thrones. Anyways, everyone dies.

I was hoping that because they had a child actor that things wouldn’t be cutesy, but this was the opposite. It’s hard to feel sympathetic to Laura, the young character, Wolverine’s mini-me who growls and screams her way through the script. She has a certain intensity about her which is impressive but to what end?

Jackman growls his way through the whole film, broken, upset and grouchy and I wasn’t really caught by the story. People are chased. People are killed. There are bad guys. It was admirable that Patrick Stewart and Jackman give their all to their characters but have to work with dialogue like “I suck at this. Bad shit happens to people I care about. Understand me?”

I also couldn’t follow the logic of the language. Laura was born in Mexico. She refuses to speak until late in the film, upon which she switches back and forth between Spanish and English, yet expects people to understand both. Then comes out with some sophisticated sarcasm. “Nice man,” she tells Wolverine, who weirdly, seems unable to moderate his growl, the tone and way in which he speaks whether he’s speaking with Professor X, Caliban, a store clerk or a 12 year old. Sure, he’s meant to be an honest beast, but he’s intelligent, and it feels kind of stupid to talk to everyone in the same way. “What are you going to do now?” asks Laura. “Find the nearest bar,” he replies as if he was joking with one of his friends, except Wolverine doesn’t have friends.

Meanwhile, Professor X with his formidable intelligence is likely to speak many languages, but here he speaks bad Spanish with a terrible accent with Laura. Wolverine pretends not to understand the language at all. It’s a weird linguistic world; how much of what language do people speak or understand? It didn’t feel logical to me.

I was reminded of the magic of the X-men films right near the end where they imagined the mutant powers of some of Laura’s young peers, But too little, too late, after so much non-magical blood and gore. Disappointing.

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