Logan

February 17, 2017 by  
Filed under Jerrod, Reviews

Starring: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Dafne Keen
Directed by: James Mangold (“The Wolverine”)
Written by: Scott Frank (“The Wolverine”) & James Mangold (“Walk The Line”) and Michael Green (“Green Lantern”)

In the 17 years since Bryan Singer’s “X-Men” birthed the modern comic book movie, there have been a sizable number of really good films in the genre—but transcendent ones are as rare as adamantium. 2008’s “The Dark Knight” obviously makes that list, and many would put 2012’s “The Avengers” right behind it, followed in some circles by last year’s “Deadpool.” And now, nearly two decades after his first, career-making appearance as Wolverine, Hugh Jackman and director James Mangold join their company and outdo every film in the X-series—and most comic book movies, period–with the R-rated “Logan.”

Set in 2029 after something mysterious (and blissfully unexplored) left most mutants dead, “Logan” opens with Jackman’s erstwhile berserker X-Man, weak and hungover, sleeping in a limousine. When a group of guys try to steal his rims, Logan can’t muster the strength to take them down—until a shotgun blast to the chest awakens his anger and he cuts them to ribbons. Later, he’s met by a woman named Gabriela (Elizabeth Rodriguez) who offers him $50,000 to take her and her young daughter, Laura (Dafne Keen) to North Dakota—both of whom are also wanted by a ruthless, robotic-handed mercenary Donald Pierce (Boyd Holbrook). When the shit hits the fan, Logan and an elderly, dementia-addled Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) escape in the limo with Laura, who mysteriously mirrors Logan in both rage and the presence of razor-sharp claws that extend from her appendages.

Clearly owing a debt to the financial success of the brilliantly profane and grisly “Deadpool,” Jackman and Mangold were taken off the PG-13 leash, free to pepper “Logan” (seemingly not beholden to much of the series’ notoriously convoluted timeline) with all of the fucks and gory decapitations that have been missing from the character’s DNA. It pays off, too, allowing the film’s achingly bleak, last-of-its-kind tone to wash over everything without the compromise normally required for something meant to sell action figures and breakfast cereal. 17 years later, after pretty great movies (“X2,” “X-Men: Days of Future Past”) horrible duds (“X-Men Origins: Wolverine”) and underappreciated turns missing just a little something (“The Wolverine”), Jackman—in what he insists is his final performance in a role he 100 percent owns—finally has his comic book movie masterpiece.

The Wolverine

July 28, 2013 by  
Filed under Jerrod, Reviews

Starring: Hugh Jackman, Tao Okamoto, Rila Fukushima
Written by: Mark Bomback (“Live Free or Die Hard”) and Scott Frank (“Marley & Me”)
Directed by: James Mangold (“3:10 to Yuma,” “Walk the Line”)

When we last saw Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine, it was in the dismal “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” (if you don’t count his hilarious cameo in “X-Men: First Class,” that is). Marred by a dumb, continuity-shredding storyline and crummy special effects, Jackman’s first solo turn as the mysterious mutant fell flat, disappointing X-fans and shelving what had been a planned series of origin stories for other mutants. Yet with comic book heroes ruling the box office and Jackman’s absolute ownership of the Logan/Wolverine role, the character’s solo adventures continue with this latest entry, simply titled “The Wolverine.”

In a prologue set in the Japanese city of Nagasaki on August 9, 1945, Logan is being held prisoner, trapped underground in a well. When the atomic devastation awaiting the city becomes evident, Japanese soldiers start performing harakiri. One young soldier, Yashida, is stopped by Logan before plunging a sword into his belly. Using his mutant healing factor to withstand the nuclear assault, Logan shields Yashida from the blast, saving his life. Sixty-plus years later, a dying Yashida, now the head of a huge technological corporation, requests a visit from the troubled, near-immortal Logan, offering him something the mutant could never attain on his own: mortality. After telling the old man no thanks, though, a strange doctor and a clan of ninjas look to take Logan out of the picture in order to get to Yashida’s daughter.

Directed by James Mangold, “The Wolverine” is the freshest, most satisfying X-movie since “X2” hit theaters a decade ago. For most of its running time, it feels nothing like the comic book movies that pop up every summer. While it pays to know what happened in previous films in the series (“The Wolverine” picks up after the events of “X-Men: The Last Stand”), the film isn’t beholden to plot points and table-setting put in place by what came before it. This is the real Wolverine solo film fans have been looking for, packed with high-energy action sequences that stretch across Tokyo city blocks or, most impressively, on top of a speeding bullet train. “The Wolverine” loses steam toward the end, unfortunately, when sweet ninja fights give way to robots and lame mutants, but leaves fans on a high-note when the obligatory post-credits sequence sets up Logan’s, and the X-Men’s, next adventure.