(US - 2017)
Directed by James Mangold. Written by Scott Frank, James Mangold and Michael Green. Cast: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Dafne Keen, Boyd Holbrook, Stephen Merchant, Richard E. Grant, Eriq La Salle, Elizabeth Rodriguez, Elise Neal, Quincy Fouse, Rey Gallegos, Daniel Bernhardt, Jason Genao. (R, 137 mins)
I hit a wall with Marvel and DC movies about a year ago with the realization that I just didn't care about them anymore. LOGAN seems to be cognizant of that sentiment as it's a comic book movie like no other, one that seems designed for people who are tired of the same old comic book movies. It's a risky proposition for something so commercial to go so defiantly against expectations. An established, moneymaking franchise hasn't wandered this far in an unforeseen direction since UNIVERSAL SOLDIER: DAY OF RECKONING. For starters, LOGAN is the most graphically gory film of its type since the 2008 cult classic PUNISHER: WAR ZONE, almost playing at times like it comes from an alternate universe where Mel Gibson was hired to direct THE PASSION OF THE WOLVERINE. It's doubtful that this move into hard-R territory would've been possibly without the huge success of the smug and douchey DEADPOOL, but that's where the comparisons end. A deconstruction of its franchise's own mythology and a downbeat, mournful elegy of the dark side of heroism inspired by Mark Millar's Old Man Logan comics series, the ambitious LOGAN is cerebral and audacious, an outside-the-box attempt at exploring the psychology of a scant few lost and broken X-Men who are the last of their kind and know the end is near. It's visceral, bleak, and uncompromising, with director/co-writer James Mangold taking a more personal thematic approach to this than he did on 2013's little-loved THE WOLVERINE, which he took on as more of a gun-for-hire job after Darren Aronofsky quit during pre-production. The Logan of LOGAN is more in line with other Mangold protagonists like Sylvester Stallone's Freddy Heflin in COP LAND and Christian Bale's one-legged Civil War vet in 3:10 TO YUMA: sad, bitter, burned-out and beaten down by life, and generally just going through the motions until something comes along that inspires them to give a shit again.