With Outstanding Performances and Incredible Cinematics, “Logan” Aims to Turn the Comic-Book Genre on its Head
By: Brenton Mitchell
Over the past decade, the prevalence of comic-book movies has steadily increased to become the premier genre for Hollywood blockbusters.
“Logan,” written and directed by James Mangold, breathes new life into the comic-book movie genre with a heavy dose of action, maturity and character development.
The film takes place years in the future with old, scarred Wolverine who spends his days drinking or driving a beat up limo.
Working towards a peaceful life, Logan takes care of aging, ex-professor Xavier. When the unforeseen existence of a new mutant forces arises, Logan is forced on a new road to freedom.
The film definitely earned its R rating with a high volume of gruesome action, full of gore and expletives, it delivers an unforeseen amount of character development and world building.
One of the film’s most notable points of separation is the tone.
Logan is not the typical good versus evil story, focusing not on the exploits of a hero, but the bitterness of a man who has been through too much.
A constant theme throughout the film is the feeling of isolation, backed by beautiful long shots of empty New Mexico desert and untouched woodland.
Mangold reinforces the theme by choosing to utilize a small cast, placing almost complete focus on the relationship between Logan, Xavier, and Laura.
It is this aspect that forms the winning element of the film, where each moment of screen time is used for characterization instead of as a set piece for the next explosion or punchline.
With a runtime of over two hours, Mangold does an excellent job of balancing character building with action scenes, making every fight feel important. Born from either desperation, rage, or grief, every hack and slash acts with a purpose that makes every successful attack worthwhile.
Excellent use of CGI and camera-work creates fights that are both clear and gruesome, with unflinching shots of Logan tearing through henchmen, claws swinging savagely.
While the gore is satisfying, it is never unreasonable, used as a tool to express the brutality of the world instead of just a way to keep the audience’s attention.
Though performances by Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart were excellent as expected, the breakout star is undoubtedly Dafne Keen as Laura.
With a miniscule amount of lines to work with, Keen showed an incredible amount of skill through facial expressions and body language, switching effortlessly between savage mutant and quiet little girl.
Though the film is a cut above its peers, it falls short in escaping the trappings of the genre completely.
The plot is boring and unoriginal, with most of its worth residing in the interactions between the main characters instead of the circumstances that brought them together.
When coupled with an unsatisfying villain and a few seemingly random plot elements, Logan is violently brought back down to earth in a crash of cliche.
While Logan succeeds in cutting the competition down to size, it fails in truly pushing itself past the barriers that it’s predecessors had made for it.
This is not a fault of the film itself, but rather an unfortunate side effect of the dismal state of the genre as a whole.
While fans may initially be turned off to Logan’s bleak tone, the film is definitely a worthwhile experience and deserves the praise it has accrued.
Providing an excellent way to close out two excellent characters and setting up the potential for many more, “Logan” is a great movie for both fans and new viewers alike.