My thoughts on the small scale, high stakes, beautifully violent piece of entertainment that is Logan.
“Nature made me a freak. Man made me a weapon. And God made it last too long.”
The action genre is a fickle beast, prone to producing some of the worst tripe Hollywood has to offer. These misfires often include $100M+ tentpoles, ghost-written by studio heads who operate on the misguided assumption that bigger is indeed better. Where Logan succeeds is in how small scale it feels and looks – and yet how large its stakes actually are. Its hero is vulnerable (both emotionally and physically), and seemingly always in peril at any given moment. The mere thought that any one of these protagonists could get hurt (or worse) fills you with more dread than conventional city-wide destruction. There’s no end of the world scenario here. No giant blue beam pointed at the sky. Just good ol’ fashioned brawls and skirmishes, decorated with loose limbs and painted in a lovely deep crimson shade of red.
James Mangold counterbalances the usual action narrative clichés with unpredictable pacing, and enough character depth to make sure you’re invested in the overall outcome. The film even carries a certain degree of visual flair, although nothing quite to the level hinted at by those gorgeous black & white viral images. Much like its underrated predecessor, it feels more like a B-movie than the blockbuster it looks set to become. There’s a pulpy vibe to these characters, infused with more traditional Western archetypes. The old, grizzled cowboy, drinking himself to death, his young, naïve sidekick, capable of far more than you’d imagine, and the wonderfully compelling slimy bandit out to kill them both.
As it turns out, this anything-but-self-declared saviour of the comic book movie isn’t really here to save us at all. It’s here simply to entertain. And spill blood. Lots of blood.
They may not know how to connect two films together, but Fox are doing some really interesting things with their comic book properties at the moment – whether that’s on TV with Legion, or through R-Rated spin-offs like Deadpool & Logan. I believe we’ve exhausted every world-ending good guy vs bad guy tale there is to tell. In the interest of variety, I love that these smaller comic book stories are being told. This is the future of the genre.