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

7/10

    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 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.