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Logan reviewed: X-men's finest hour?

Having been an X-men fan my entire life, you would think that I’d have been X-static at the thought of 'Old Man' Logan appearing on the big screen.

You would’ve been more wrong than bright yellow and blue spandex!

History (in particular 'X-men origins: wolverine' and X-3' I'm pointing a large adamantium claw at you) has slapped me harder across the face than having to endure Will.i.am fighting sabretooth. I X-pect nothing anymore from an X film and hope to be pleasantly surprised.

I have collected X-men comics for 30 years and have 50 years plus reading material. I know the source material and because of that- I am connected to the characters (perhaps too much). My nervousness comes from two errors that I feel X-films and 'superhero' films inherently have; they rely too much on Wolverine at the detriment to other characters and the genre has diverted too far away from source. I don't mean they have to replicate a story from page to screen - what I mean is that film makers need to appreciate that these characters have a long standing history and relationship with READERS. I don't want 90 minutes of chewing gum for my eyes like Suicide Squad was; I want a story. I want a film about a hero not a superhero film made for the screen and the masses.

That is where Logan breaks the mould of the genre.  It is subtle but the beast lies within the detail - and Logan is filled with little details that you may not pick up first time. It had layers which you need to slice away at to really appreciate the love that went into the film. I can hand on heart say that Mangold is an X fan but he succeeded by making a film not a superhero flick.

No spoilers....

Logan (note that the title is not Wolverine) is no superhero in any sense (heightened senses or not). The film cleverly plays on what we consider a 'superhero' by teasing us with Wolverine in the form of comic books and toys. In the real world heroes don't wear spandex and many don't have a choice about becoming considered by others a hero. There is a fine line between hero and not - something eluded to with Caliban and Professor X, Logan's companions. Heroes sometimes make mistakes and have to live with the harsh reality of their actions. Something explored in the film. 

To me, Logan was a film about humanity. It was realism. It was a film that really had nothing to do with the superhero genre, it just happened to (to his reluctance) pull Logan into a story that was already playing out. There was no ultimate bad guy aiming to take over the world to which the hero of the film swooped in to save the day; it was gritty and hard and real. It opened wounds and left them there. The detail and symbolism was everywhere; be it reference to other X-films, be it a sword on the wall (by the way ''The Wolverine - Mangold previous Wolverine film actually gives the end of Logan away), or be it scars that remind us what it means to hurt and be human and a hero. 

I loved the film that Logan is; a gritty western story of what it truly means to be and act human and the line between hero and villain. The use of the old western film 'Shane' in the film was no accident. Shane - a film about an old gun slinger who explains the impact killing has on one’s soul mirrors the emotional pain a hero has to bear for doing 'the right thing'. Not one for the kids (swearing and blood galore) or those wanting to see a film where a superhero saves the day in the pattern every other superhero film follows) but for those fans of comics, good story telling and good film making.

Jackman and Stewart were incredible. While I hate that the cinematic representation of X-men has become Wolverine; when an actor takes a part and becomes that character to the extent that you can't split Jackman / Logan with an adamantium sword; he deserves the accolades. I expect Hollywood won't recognise him for this due to the genre but he has made us believe he's Logan and there's no bigger praise for an actor.

Huge thanks to FoodnFilm for showing Logan as its second event. The networking brainchild of Scott Hadden brings the love of film to the arena of networking in a way that's both unique and effective. The great venue of Hard Rock Cafe presents two hours of networking and food before moving to the Odeon Printworks where you can emerge yourself in not only the film but the incredible company. I strongly recommend both the film and the event. 

Chris Longbottom March 2017

 

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