Logan: Slasher Film or Hero Flick?

June 25, 2017

 

The opening scene in "Logan," the "dark and edgy" off-shoot of Marvel's Wolverine saga, features a pepper-haired Hugh Jackman getting his limo jacked at gunpoint by a Mexican gang somewhere near the Texas border. The first resistance that he offers the one-dimensional gangsters is rebutted with a shotgun blast to the chest. 

 

Down but never out, Logan heals and picks his body up and shreds these men in a series of the same three or four choreographed fight moves with his adamantium-claws that we will see for the rest of the movie: there is the chest punch, death by heart puncture; the gut punch, death by disembowelment; his favorite chin uppercut, death by holes in the brain; and a slash he uses as a counter-attack. It is as if he's just learned the basic moves in a video game featuring himself, and can't do much besides button-mash the same jab combos with his claws. 

 

He does pull out a few new tricks in this installment of the X-Men series, which is rated-R and set in a 2029 world where all mutants have perished (so the plebes believe, anyway). His steely-eyed glare at civilians and various renditions of "shut the fuck up" are nice additions to his sparse fight package. 

 

To add a little more edge to the film, they introduce a child to the story-line who we find out is Logan's daughter as she fights off a troupe of paramilitaries with her, dun-dun-dun... two claws and a cute little toe knife derived straight outta "Wild Wild West." She doesn't have a line for the first half of the film, but the moment after her first big fight where she walks out with some hulking enemy's head in her armpit suggests this one is more about action than words anyway. It is unclear if this nine-year-old mass-murderer is meant to be a hero, foil, or just entertainment, but her fight package is certainly a step up from her Daddy's, even if she doesn't utter a compelling sentence in the whole flick.

 

The one character of interest might be the ailing Professor X, whose bouts of epilepsy paralyze the surrounding vicinity, so they put him in a bunker and give him heroin and other drugs so he can stop being such a major bummer. He does have the film's most interesting line when he tells Logan, "I always know who you are, I just can't always recognize you," followed soon by the worst, "fuck you and fuck these drugs." For a character we've never heard swear in any other installment, these lines sure are provocative! 

 

"Logan" carries on in predictable fashion, with the titular "hero" leaving a trail of dead anywhere he goes. He feeds his albino friend to the hunters on his tail and soon after takes a nap while his host family are killed by a cyborg version of himself -- Buzzcut Logan. This one meets a grisly death: truck smash into spikey-things, but not before he murders Professor X in his sleep then beheads a woman and her child in their bedroom just for fun. (They played this movie on an airplane, just FYI. United Airlines to be specific. I'm kidding. They don't show movies on United for free.)

 

A few more fuck-bombs and a stampede of slave-children running through the forest finish this one off, but the film fails to deliver on anything but bloodshed, choosing meaningless murders of nameless military men instead of exploring what it might be like to be invulnerable to physical pain yet still vulnerable to feeling and fatherhood. There, Logan is lacking, providing no response besides rage and death to the crumbling world around. 

 

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