Written by: Daniel McDonald
I’ve been posting quite a bit of my 20/20 series of T.V.F.T.T.P. because there’s mucho buried treasure at your fingertips, I want to make sure you folks are taking advantage of.
I have to submit this review, because A) I had the glorious opportunity to visit the local cinema (my church), B) A film opened over the weekend that is not only top of the line in its genre, and C) it is top of the line AND easily the best 2017 cinematic offering so far, period.
I was so impressed by LOGAN, Hugh Jackman’s farewell to his signature X-MEN role. For the record, I am a casual Comic Book film enthusiast at best. I see and enjoy them (mainly for the humorous dialogue, colorful characters and MARVELous (YEPPERS, I went there!) special effects. There have been standouts (for me ANTMAN and DEADPOOL) and serious failures (the shockingly bad reboot of THE FANTASTIC FOUR and I was very underwhelmed by BATMAN vs SUPERMAN, overblown, confusing and acted without charisma).
But, ladies and gentleman, I am So very happy to tell you that LOGAN is an incredibly well-written, directed and especially acted film…of ANY genre. The A- list level talent on both sides of the camera was close to cinematic perfection (and believe me, no one is more surprised than yours truly about what I have and will continue to say – NO SPOILERS.) it’s NOT at all “Blockbuster slick, empty or overblown” and I hope you know that I’m talking about, not compartmentalism of the genre, just subjective opinion on things I notice from time to time.
This film is an emotionally honest, bold look at the damage these powers can do to a person’s existence, personality, jarringly harsh physicality and especially psychological effects on relationships.
Rather than affect the film paradoxically, the sense of grounding the sometimes supernatural/science fictional elements of its source material adds many levels of interesting subtextual, dramatic and especially emotional validity. Co-Writer/director James Mangold (whose career includes such diversity as WALK THE LINE, GIRL INTERRUPTED, COPLAND and Jackman’s previous X-MEN spinoff WOLVERINE), has the vision and sensitivity to give us, not another slick Sci-fi FX heavy re-tread. His script walks a fine line between Wolverine the hero and Logan the damaged, self-isolated man, his life (a depressed, judge mental Uber driver) has turned him into…the tone is seriously dark, extremely violent (realistic, not overly exaggerated and quite visually painful) the existence of a man waiting for his miserable life to end. The story touches on Logan’s past (his transformation into Wolverine, his relationship to what living a Superhero’s life can do – deterioration, paranoia, escape through alcohol) but also adds to his present existence a challenging new character while maintaining a decades old responsibility that has become yet another challenge he feels he is failing.
The developments of the story involves a practically mutant-free world, and how through behavior past and present, Logan ends up (despite major effort on his part) becoming involved with it.
Mangold has done an incredible job of keeping us entranced in such a depressing, emotionally draining story right up to its gut-wrenching final moment, the film is a bit overlong, but the breathtaking, magnificently shot (John Mathieson pulling some magical, practically unbelievable FX shots out of his very creative hat) with simply some of the best, electrifying editing I’ve ever seen (Micheal Mc Custer, Dirk Westerville) and stunt choreography (Steve Brown, Richard Burden) that is as authentic and exciting as anything from Asian cinema.
Now onto the brilliance that is Hugh Jackman. To put it simply, if Hollywood penalizes him out of a Best Actor nomination, simply because this is a Sci-fi, early in the year product, I’ll be much more than disappointed. Patrick Stewart matches him scene for scene, again Award worthy. The revaluation, however, is a scene stealing, absolutely enthralling debut of young Dafne Keen (that is as astonishing as Jacob Tremblay in ROOM) yet another strong nomination possibility. Boyd Holbrook keeps his “everything but the mustache twirling” Villain in check, his good looks and charm bely a truly vicious man. The supporting company are all effective in helping the film achieve its narrative power, and emotional validity.
But this one FOLKS, belongs to Mr. Hugh Jackman (and his director Mangold). If ANYONE had tried to tell me the excitement and devastation a Wolverine film would give me, to say I’d have laughed out loud is an understatement….
I’m just saying (and saying enthusiastically)…
This may seem like a case of serious over-salesmanship, but all you need do is check my track record. I don’t take this kind of praise lightly.