I’m all for trying to shake up the typical superhero formula, but there has to be some sort of a means to an end.
“Logan” marks the ninth and final time of Hugh Jackman playing everyone’s favorite clawed X-Man, and this time he must escort Professor Xavier (Patrick Stewart) and a young mutant (Dafne Keen) from Texas to the Canadian border. Richard E. Grant, Boyd Holbrook and Stephen Merchant also star as James Mangold returns to direct.
On a technical level, there isn’t much wrong with “Logan.” It looks good, with settings ranging from dusty, sun-soaked Texas to lush, green North Dakota, and for the most part the action is captured well by cinematographer John Mathieson. Mangold and company take advantage of the R rating and don’t shy away from Logan eviscerating henchmen left and right. There are some points where the action does get extra bloody and they overcompensate, like showing a man get decapitated and having his bloody head roll around. It’s almost as if to make up for the past 17 years of us having to use our imaginations as to what happens when a man with claws impales a human.
Jackman portrays Logan at his most broken down and vulnerable we’ve ever seen him, although at some points it is hard to see where Jackman’s take on the character ends and his own exhaustion of the role begins. No one is questioning his dedication to the character that he will forever be synonymous with; however, there are times throughout the film it appears he is simply going through the motions, which may not even entirely be his fault as stepping into the same shoes for almost two decades may make putting on that facade second nature.
There are some attempts at humor, and a lot of them do hit thanks to Stewart’s dry British wit, Jackman’s growling delivery or newcomer Keen’s nuanced actions, even if it is at the expense of creating a slightly tonally confused narrative.
Which brings me to my biggest gripe about “Logan,” and that is its tone and delivery of its story. Like I started off with, I have no problem with films trying to reinvent the wheel of their respective genre, so that “Logan” wants to be a gritty, grim and realistic take on one of the more tortured souls of the comic book world is fine with me. However, the pacing of the story is equally as bleak, with the action all too often not coming across as fun and more so as numbing, and the character moments, as well-acted as they are, feel weary.
“Logan” is made with the best intentions and diehard fans of the character and comics will find more to love in here than the casual filmgoer, but otherwise the film is a letdown and drags for many portions throughout. If this truly is Jackman’s final bow as the character of Wolverine then he deserved better, but just as the film strives to tell us — no matter how dark and unsatisfying the world is, you just have to keep on grinding along.
Critics rating: 5 out of 10.