Sunday, March 5, 2017
Why LOGAN (2017) isn't the be all and end all (spoilers)
The film set 12 years into the future has Logan and Caliban caring for a deteriorating Professor X. As far as anyone knows there are no more mutants being born. The plan is to buy a boat and sail off into oblivion. However a frantic woman is looking for Wolverine. She needs him to get a certain young girl to North Dakota so that she can get to safety...
Set in an alternate reality from any of the previous Wolverine and XMen films, Logan is best taken as a Marvel Elseworlds story - this is a might be what happened tale as opposed to a this is the next chapter. If you need any proof lets start with the film acknowledges comic adventures and has other continuity details that don't line up with earlier films.
Full of foul language and bloody violence the film earns it's R rating. It is also full of realistic violence and some very good set pieces. There is much to like or even love with the film...
... however coming out of the screening I found I liked the film but was very disappointed. It wasn't remotely what the reviews had made it out to be (not that they ever should be). The film isn't a grand reinvention or rethinking. The film is simply the same old story that we've seen in a variety of versions in ten or so other X films stripped down. It's a good film but nowhere near a great one.
My problems come from four places:
1- The pacing of the film is glacial. Yes there are great explosions of violence, but for a lot of the film its people talking or traveling. There isn't a great deal that is actually done. The film runs two and a quarter hours and it feels like it. I could feel the clock ticking. A brief pit stop at one point had me glance at my watch and I was shocked to find out that less than an hour had passed
2- The film is full of itself and its own self-importance. There is a ponderous nature to the film. It is clearly insisting it is about something- fathers and children, redemption, ect ect.This is a film that thinks it's going to be profound simply by weakening a mythic figure and then killing him off. Like many over thought art films it thinks that death is profound, and that killing off beloved characters instantly add weight to everything it is trying to do. The film moves like it is an art film and one that it is saying great things even to the point of silliness (for example the turned cross- which brought chuckles in my theater)...
3-...except we've been here before. The film is a western riff (SHANE). The plot is nothing new just another variation on the "hunt the mutants" plot in every other X MEN movie. The film is also a kind of remake of MAD MAX 2 (ROAD WARRIOR) with the girl replacing the boy, and scraggly Aussies in the lead. Add in all the similarities to all the comic book story lines that are exactly the same and you realize there is nothing new here. If you want proof all I have to say is...
4-...X-24. Really? How many times has a hero fought another version of himself? In comics? In films? And this is considered groundbreaking? No, not even close. I would have accepted it if it wasn't Logan's twin. The twin bit was way too much and I broke with the film at that point.Its a profound stupid (and a certain "r" word) that completely wrecks any notion of the film being profound. X-24 single handedly removes the film's chance of even being called groundbreaking when its a twist so over used anyone using it in any form should have to go to prison.
I could go on with other problems but it's not worth it.
And I need to restate- this isn't a bad film, just not nowhere near a great one.
Definitely worth a look but beyond that... you're on your own.