Film Notes – Logan (2017)

Now this is a comic book movie I can dig. It manages to avoid some of the pitfalls that I find tedious in other such films. Thankfully, there is no hour long origin story, which many comic book movies insist on. Just like the comic book medium itself, Logan leaves it up to the audience to either go and explore the history and the world of the characters further or to just enjoy the slice of the story they have right in front of them. In this instance, the fact fact that this particular slice of story works mighty fine on it’s own certainly does help.

Another pet hate of mine is when a comic book movie devolves into a CGI wank-fest of barely intelligible action sequences that bang on for an impenetrable and mindless hour before the never-can-it-come-too-soon end. For me, the more these manufactured images become stupendously fantastic and subsequently fractured from reality, the more they start to seem like a frenzy of fast moving dancing storm clouds: Pretty maybe, but of no consequence at all. Not so in Logan, this film has some real rip-snorting chase sequences, shoot-em-ups, hand-to-hand combat and lots of vicious slashing and stabbing. It is is visceral, up close and personal.

I just realised that James Mangold directed Walk the Line, and that kind of makes a lot of sense. In that film, we see Johnny Cash struggle to deal with the hurt that he has done unto others, especially those that he loves. Logan faces similar issues of guilt, self-punishment and redemption. Albeit, for Johnny Cash it was substance abuse rather than adamantine claws that caused all the damage. Unfortunately, Logan is played by Hugh Jackman. He tries really hard to bring Clint Eastwood’s stoic and taciturn persona to the screen, but all his efforts just betray themselves in a performance that seems as protracted and agonised as his character’s deteriorating condition.

On the other hand, what a treasure is unearthed in Dafne Keen! As Laura, she looks so cute, like a self-professed and pissed off little pixie. But you sure don’t want to piss this little girl off and see her chuck a tantrum. She has the coolest most bad-ass fightin’ moves in the whole film. She could totally whip my butt. And there is something strangely affecting about watching a small child brutally destroying hordes of grown-up assholes. I hope that Dafne is able to graduate from the MCU when she grows up and become a fascinating force of her own in cinema one day.

Surprisingly, one of the people I just came out of the cinema with said that they thought this movie was bleak and depressing. Personally, I found it uplifting and full of hope. Sure, the mutants are on the brink of extinction and everyone is kind of miserable and dying for most of the film. But even when everything looks so bleak and the world appears to have turned to shit, we can always look to the children for a greater sense of meaning and purpose beyond ourselves.

Even if those children are freaks made accidentally by an abortive and out of control evil experiment.