Thursday, 9 March 2017

"Logan"

Be warned, this post contains spoilers. So if you haven't yet seen the film then toddle off to the cinema now before reading the following...

"Where can the horizon lie when a nation hides its organic minds in a cellar, dark and grim and they must be very dim."


This is a bloody good film not because it comes from the superhero genre but in spite of it. I heard on the radio t'other day that there are rumours of "Logan" getting an Oscar. I think it deserves it. The acting is superb especially the exchanges between Wolverine and Professor Xavier as acted by Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart. Moments of rage, of frustration, of a love, shared between master and pupil like that of a father and son but also moments of humour and of pathos. Those marvellous exchanges are mirrored when X-23, that is Laura, Logan's bred daughter, enters the story. Actress Dafne Keen plays the role perfectly. She has balls as big as Logan's, fights like, well, a she-Wolverine, is spunky, filled with attitude and brings with her an emotional tug that is neither sentimental nor soppy. 

Set in 2029, Logan's powers, that is his ability to heal himself no matter the injury, is deteriorating. The adamantium, fused by science to his bones, is now poisoning him. Growing old due to his fading power, his hair and beard turning grey, he takes care of an ailing Professor X whose mind, now classified as a weapon-of-mass-destruction, is collapsing as the rusty cogs of neurodegeneration begin their insidious ruin. Along with fellow mutant, Caliban, an albino who can sense other mutants, the trio hide out from civilisation on the borders of Mexico. There is no wall so, presumably, Mister Trump's plan fails so there is hope for us all. I jest. Forgive me.  

Logan acts as a chauffeur in aid to make money so that the small remnant of mutant kind can eat. He grabs what prescriptive drugs he is able to so that Charles Xavier's condition is kept in check. 

Pursued by a malignant force of people known as The Reavers, employed by a company known as Transigen who have been breeding mutant's, the trio flee after Logan tries to aid a young Mexican woman, and the child she claims is her daughter, is assassinated by Transigen's team of cybernetically engineered soldiers, lead by Donald Pierce. Transigen wants X-23 dead and at any cost. And if that means killing all who stand in their way, so be it.

This is a brutal film. So it should be. The subject is brutal. Potty-mouthed and able to rage at a given moment. The director, James Mangold, does not flinch from showing the side of Wolverine seldom seen before. We have all known what the character is like but the film franchise has only ever scratched the surface. Now revealed for the first time we see the man for what he is; a violent animal, feral and wild and able to inflict the worst injuries imaginable then go way beyond that without thinking twice.

However, what is really impressive is how the story contains such rich character development. The story bowls along on the back of it rather than just letting the action define events. 

What annoyed me, again from the radio show I spoke of earlier, was the way the critic suggested that this film takes the superhero genre to an adult audience and perhaps the comic book industry should follow suit. No. That is so wrong. Let us get our facts right here. More than thirty years ago Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons produced "Watchmen." That one comic book broke the mould of superhero stories then re-defined how they could be told. It had brutal violence, it had explicit sex, it had rape, but above and beyond that it was written for adults. At the same time, Frank Miller reinvented Batman with "The Dark Knight."  It too was aimed at adults. It is not the world of comics that needs to step up to the plate but rather the world of film. With "Logan" they do.



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Russell Cuts the Corn From The Brewers Whiskers.

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