Movie Review: Logan
By Ben Gruchow
March 9, 2017
The road trip does happen, Laura accompanying Logan and Xavier accompanying both of them to a mysterious destination in North Dakota they know only from coordinates. Along the way, they meet people who are still kind and hopeful, and the two men seem to come back from the abyss a little, while Laura (played, in a masterful and nearly wordless performance, by Dafne Keen) begins to recognize her own unique connection to Logan. On their tail are a group of mercenaries led by Pierce (Boyd Holbrook), proving Gabriela’s warning of danger all too real.
This is alternately tense and thoughtful material, and produces for us three moments of absolute cinematic perfection. The first involves a character at his final resort pointing a shotgun at Logan, the second involves a thrilling sequence set in a casino and performed in an extremely unique type of slow motion, and the third and most powerful involves a moment of stricken and revelatory monologue by Stewart, as we understand what might have happened to the rest of the X-Men all those years ago. This is followed shortly by an act of truly shocking and disturbing violence; we are reminded again of the difference between meaningless gore and the emotional displacement that comes with proper tone and mood, and how incontestably superior the latter is.
This, then, is the best kind of comparison to make between Logan and the films it follows. The former consists of sporadically enjoyable but popcorn-light adventure films with a thin but true strand of deeper investment woven through them; that strand finally reaches its full potential here, in a film of great impact and investment, very violent but never exploitative, conceived and executed with passion.
The movie is not perfect; it invests Pierce with about as many character shadings as I've spent on words describing him, and its grasp on what it is trying to say about violence, the urge to die and the imperative to live, and what it means to protect and care for a charge, starts to slip with the final rather jumbled set piece on a wooded hillside. But this was never about the explicit antagonist; its focus was turned further inward, and the final images deliver with clarity and poignancy on promises we didn't yet know were being made.
5 out of 5