Movies are such a powerful way to experience stories… this time we get intimate and brutal… so what did I think?
Directed by James Mangold
In the near future the X-Men are dead and Professor X has dementia and is cared for by a broken down Logan, a limo driver and drug procurer and Caliban, an albino and mutant tracker. When a girl, Laura, and her nurse find them on the Mexican border they draw some bad men forcing our heroes to make a last stand.
I was really caught right away by the intimate story. This isn’t about saving the world. A lot of time is spent setting how Logan and Xavier’s current situation. All is NOT well in the world nor are they happily living life. Both men are broken down and can no longer stand up to the pressures and rigors they’ve been called to in the past.
While Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart gave their all for their performances it is the young Dafne Keen that wowed me. When she whipped around and attacked her first guy you were blown away. Was it violent and rather stomach churning… yes but it was also amazingly reflective of Logan from the past. For her first role I am quite started at her emotive performance. She doesn’t talk and yet you feel like she is saying so much through her eyes and body!
While I wasn’t really interested in a story about two broken down super heroes I was totally behind seeing the story about a young female wolverine who escapes from her prison. And boy did Laura make it worth my while! It’s her journey you are interested in, she becomes Logan’s motivation and Xavier’s legacy…
The relationships are super powerful and create this motivation that draws you right through the movie. Logan just wants to give Xavier a peaceful death where he won’t be ashamed of himself as he’s dying. Xavier doesn’t want Logan to give up the great fight when there is still one more battle that can be won. Their very adult and almost father and son relationship is incredible. They have this happy bubble time that you just want to howl when it is all ripped to shreds.
Then there is the relationship between Logan and Laura. Filled with teenage angst and parental uncertainty from not knowing one has a child, there is a period of adjustment that is as powerful as the father / son jockeying. By the end you know what is going to go down and you settle back to take it all in… happy that Logan is still the Wolverine you always knew. This is hands down the most moving super hero movie I’ve seen.
While the villains are tough they aren’t over the top insane powerful, they simply have resources, numbers and youth on their side. We have X-24 (Logan’s clone except angrier), Donald Pierce (head of the Reavers) and Zander Rice (the brains behind the experiments) who all work well together playing their parts in opposition to our heroes.
There are some major battles with our six players and some collateral damage that will just blow you away. These aren’t your typical CGI battles but some down to earth, get back to the basics magical realism sort of special effects that pair well with the intimate story.
Why the 4 stars? Too violent. Needlessly so to my eyes. I know the fan boys are loving it and that is fine but no child should see this film and potentially no teenager either (they can always see it as a grown up later). Plus I would love to have seen more of the other kids (Maria, Danny Rhodes, Valet, Rictor, Mohawk, and Delilah). To me the movie was finally getting good right at the end when it was all over. I loved how all the kids had history together and you could see it very subtly between them at the end.
BOTTOM LINE: A violent, intimate look at the passing of the X-Men torch to the younger generation of mutants.
Probably my favorite aspect of the film is Logan having to face what is potentially his daughter and his twin brother. These are two aspects of his inner self, one pure and innocent and the other angry and wrathful and both much more powerful than he is now. Sometimes the only thing you get to decide is how you’ll finish the job.