Logan Second Opinion

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Posted March 14, 2017 by Jean-Luc Botbyl in Movies

To say that I have conflicting thoughts on Logan may be an understatement.

On one hand, the film is an incredible, albeit stark, treatise on the future of America. A future in which the marginalized flee north, to Canada. A future in which corporations have more say than the common man and the government brews up secret murder machines to keep the population in check.

For a superhero film, it’s social messages are shockingly timely and handled with a surprising degree of subtlety. This is the high point of the film, and it’s almost masterful. At times, perhaps it is.

On the other hand, the entire first hour of Logan is a contrived mess. The first 15-20 minutes feel necessary for, at most, five minutes. Just when it starts getting good, with the first action sequence, the film diverts its attention to a massive exposition dump. Yup. It’s a sequence in which multiple aspects of the film are over-explained at painful length.

On top of it just being poor form, the device through which the exposition is delivered doesn’t even make sense. I feel like normally I’m pretty good about suspension of disbelief, but if the exposition dump itself hadn’t pulled me out, the sheer idiocy of this device sure as hell did.

In fact, there are quite a few parts of Logan that don’t make much sense. The plot is pretty contrived and simplistic. On top of that, the film often writes itself into a corner–it has to come up with explanations for things that don’t make sense, like Caliban being around. These explanations augment an already bloated run time.

Some of that I would be willing to forgive if the character journeys had justified it. The problem is they don’t, and there are elements of character development that feel forced. The film is emotionally manipulative, in the sense that it doesn’t earn most of its big emotional beats.

I wish could say the same about the R-rating, to be honest. Sure, the hyper-violence contributes to the portrait of America Logan is painting–but it’s often also gratuitous, and overly so. Some people will be into that, I’m sure. As for me? I found it cringe-worthy and unnecessary, though the action is definitely pretty cool across the board. The same goes for some of the swearing. It’s as if the writers saw that they could get an R-rating and went “Ooooh time to throw the “fuck” word  in every chance we get!”

All that being said, the performances on their own may make the film worth seeing. Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart are both in top form, chewing up every on-screen moment they’re given. Unlike many other aspects of the film, the excellence of their performances have not been over-exaggerated. Equally phenomenal is Dafne Keen’s X-23, a character I’m pleased we finally got on screen, if nothing else.

I do get the sense that a lot of the hype surrounding this film comes from people really only holding onto the back half. And sure, there are some excellent character moments here. If it weren’t for a rough first half, I expect the ending would have been gut-wrenching. As is, it was definitely the one part of the movie where I felt something.

Even more impactful is the series of scenes in which the trio hole up on a farm with a family all too willing to lend a helping hand. This was the turning point for me, where everything began to feel genuine. It’s also the perfect contrast to the rest of the film, and it carries an excellent social message.

At the end of the day, I don’t think Logan is a bad movie. But it makes far too many missteps for me to come away calling it good, or even saying I liked it. Perhaps a second viewing would do more for me, but I can’t say I’m particularly interested in rushing out to see it again.

Logan



Logan

6.5

Final Score

6.5/10

Pros

  • Incredibly strong performances
  • Social messages are well handled
  • Some solid action

Cons

  • Abuse of the R-rating
  • The first half is a mess
  • Long to the point of being bloated
  • Major character moments feel unearned



About the Author

Jean-Luc Botbyl

Jean-Luc is a grizzled veteran of We the Nerdy. Most days, he just wonders why he hasn’t been formally fired. Follow him on Twitter at @J_LFett to make him feel validated.


  • Sabretooth

    i’m not afraid to say i strongly criticized this film about the tone of violence-as quite a few are. while the tone of the violence was what kept me from seeing the film-there’s also the fact that the film ruins the xmen and the superhero gen, logan….and the story, itself. the xmen were formed to help mutants to control their powers so that they could help those in trouble and then become accepted by human-this was a golden opportunity to truly began to accomplish that mission-the summery said this film was set in a hopeless future-logan could’ve restored the xmen and took x’s place as leader and have the xmen be remember for bringing the world back from the brink……NOPE! now, for how this film’s ruined the superhero gen.. the superhero gen was meant to inspire good and hope-yet this film does everything to dash hope hope-like the scene about the comic book and the family. as for logan-he’s never liked senseless killing-at lest in the past films-yet he seems not to mind it at all, here. i am aware he’s struggled in the passed-it’s been shown-as has his restraint-but i find it unbelievable that at his age and after all those years as an xmen that he still has those struggles that has only gotten worse….especially as i recall a quote directly from logan himself ”I was your most helpless student, and you unlocked my mind. YOU showed me what I was, you showed me who I could be”. now, for the story. as i understand it, the story features a remorseful logan wanting better for Laura-i can believe that due to him being more violent then ever and dashing laura hone concerning the comic…..the film has no direction. while there are a good size of us who felt this way-no one has denied that it did in fact have the potential to live up to the hype.