First thing’s first, major spoilers ahead, so if you haven’t seen Logan and don’t want to know the full storyline, look away now.
Good. Moving on.
I love X-Men. I love Marvel, for the most part. And after Deadpool, I love R-rated Marvel movies. There’s something to be said about how realistic it is to hear the F word fifty times in less than an hour (maybe that’s just me). And so walking into Logan, I admittedly had some pretty high expectations. And for the most part they were satisfied.
First off, I have to give massive credit to DP John Mathieson. He worked on X-Men: First Class (my favorite X-Men film), The Man From U.N.C.L.E, and Gladiator, for which he won a BAFTA. Every shot feels smooth and decadent to the story, with rich warm colors abound and simple shots that go a long way in both moving the story along and ensuring the camera work doesn’t outdo the whole movie. When camera movement captivates me more than the story, I begin to worry a little. Is the story so slow that I can look at technicals and not miss key plot points? For Logan, this was somewhat true. The story itself is fascinating (and very familiar, but we’ll get to that), and at best completely captivating; at worse it drags a bit, but tends to redeem itself with twists in the storyline, my favorite being when Professor X suddenly is stabbed in the chest by someone who appears to be Logan.
This is the tricky part. While I understand some things just can’t be avoided, the Logan clone absolutely was pulled from Terminator: Genisys. It wasn’t even necessary to outright say that Laura is Logan’s daughter (you can see that from the trailers and from the moment one of the first fight scenes picks up and her claws come out–literally), and with that it wasn’t really necessary to make the mutant clone into another claw-wielding super killer. And I know, most people will say “but the movie is titled Logan, not Logan and Some Other X-Man“. But think of this: while X is giving his touching soliloquy in bed of how he doesn’t deserve to live out a beautifully simple life, instead of Logan Clone stabbing him in the chest, a young Charles Xavier Clone comes and crushes him with something (I don’t know what, use your imagination). Real Logan must then face one of his closest family members and fight to the death. Considering they barely touched on the whole “Logan is his own worst enemy” subplot other than an overly blatant schtick of alcoholism, the fact that Logan must face himself in battle wouldn’t be terribly missed. In fact, the evil guy (what was his name? Ajax’s redneck cousin?) said that X’s mind was basically a weapon of mass destruction, it would have made much more sense to bring in James McAvoy to try and kill off all the kid mutants (it’s like all of my childhood dreams came to life–you CAN be an 11 year old mutant!) and then almost off Logan just as Laura shoots X Clone with the adamantium bullet.
So, for those of you who haven’t seen the latest Terminator, how does this all fit in? Simply put, Schwarzenegger’s son has to help his Terminator dad fight off a younger, much stronger version of Terminator Dad in order to save humanity. Same beef with Logan, little Wolverine has to help big Wolverine fight of clone Wolverine in order to save part of humanity, in this case a small group of test tube mutant babies crossing the Canadian Border. The concept, far from unique to this franchise, is the exact same one used for Logan. One of the biggest problems writers face I think is the fine line between vaguely predictable (which is what you should always be going for) and overused (something you do not want to be guilty of). Sadly for this final X-Men Origins story, it falls into the overused category. And as predicted, Logan can’t survive the attack from his greatest enemy, and dies just as Laura begins to break down her walls and care for him.
Final score? While the ending was a tear jerker, I have to deduct points for the storyline. points added for very very vague and downplayed mirroring to treatment of undocumented immigrants, and the fabulously played Deadpool opener, and we have a final score of 6/10.