Logan Thoughts (Spoilers)

Click here for a spoiler-free review of the film.

After seeing Logan and having some more time to think about it, I wanted to share more thoughts on it without having to worry about spoiling any plot details.

First I have to address one of my biggest gripes. This is my first time seeing Boyd Holbrook in anything and I have to say I am more motivated to check out Narcos after seeing his performance. Do I have a man-crush? Maybe. From the first line of his first scene, I was enthralled. His performance initially hid the fact that the character, and the villains as a whole, were poorly developed. We know Transigen experiments on children and wants to weaponize mutant genes. It is obvious that an army of mutant children would be a terrifying weapon for their enemies, but the head figure (Zander Rice) also explains they created a virus that resulted in the lack of mutant births for the past 25 years. This is one of the most interesting machinations and is glossed over with a few lines of dialogue. It would have been interesting to see more of Rice’s role in this, and Pierce’s role in the curation of X-23 as the chief of security.

This brings up the issue of screen time. The film is 137 minutes, but didn’t feel that long to me, despite a late show time. I think an extra 15 minutes could have done wonders for fleshing out Transigen, Rice and Pierce. We wouldn’t need one solid chunk of exposition that drags the film down. I thought it would have been interesting to see X-23’s flashbacks, the same way we saw Logan’s in the original X-Men trilogy. These could have served the same purpose as the videos from X-23’s adoptive mother, and could have been more interesting.

Next, I just have to reiterate that Stephen Merchant is the man. Caliban had relatively little screen time compared to the main trio of Wolverine, Professor X and X-23, but he still held his own. Fear the light.

The death of the family during the farm scene came as a surprise. I had a feeling that something bad would happen once Professor X decided to stay the night. It came across as a careless move on his part but makes more sense analyzing the move from his character’s perspective. Westchester is where the X-Mansion is located and it is implied that he killed most of the X-Men in the “Westchester incident”. This also adds more reason why Charles says he “doesn’t deserve” a happy day like the one they had. He believes he deserves to be punished but he also wants to enjoy the company of other people before his death. He had years of isolation and is now somewhat carefree in his desire to enjoy life. Although it comes across as selfish, it is somewhat understandable.

However, the death of the family does make Charles’s decision tougher to cope with. Of course, he pays for the mistake as well when X-24 shows up. At first I thought Charles was having a flashback and was thinking they were adapting the X-Mansion incident from Old Man Logan, where Wolverine is tricked by Mysterio into killing the X-Men.

Instead, Charles dies, possibly thinking Wolverine killed him. Then the son, wife and dead get slaughtered. I was thinking that they would be saved at the last second, like most Hollywood films. Although their deaths were brutal, it was also good to see that the film truly wasn’t pulling any punches.

Some members of my audience audibly gasped when X-24 descends the stairs to meet Logan for the first time. For many people, it was a genuine “oh s***” moment. We know X-23 is a clone, now we see one that is Logan at his physical prime. These shots make use of digital faces but the effects are much more seamless than the version of **spoilers for Rogue One– Princess Leia in Rogue One of Clu in Tron: Legacy.

Although X-24 was an amazing physical threat, I feel as if his inclusion hampered the development and threat that could have come from Pierce. Like Zander, Pierce is mainly an overseer, managing the work of people underneath him. There is nothing wrong with villains like that, but maybe it comes across as more jarring, since he and The Reavers were marketed as the main, direct threat. Obviously X-24 would have been too big a reveal for the trailers and commercials, but it still brings up the issue of what audiences expected from Pierce.

Seeing Logan go near-berserk in the forest was an absolute treat. The roar after he takes the serum, followed by his sprint through the forest was cinematic gold.

 

Some people didn’t understand why an R-Rating was a big deal for this final film. Hopefully Logan shows why. Wolverine’s main weapon are metal claws he sinks into people, an R-rating works perfectly, for a solo film especially.  We don’t see stuntmen fall to the ground as Jackman swings his arms. For once, we get to see unadulterated carnage that truly immerses us in the experience. The casino scene, where Logan pushes his slaws, in semi slow-motion, through one man’s head after another is something we couldn’t have in a PG-13 film. The camera would have had to cut away with each stab.

The forest scene is something I’ve been wanting to see for a while and was delivered beautifully. Yet again. I have to comment on X-23. Many films are guilty of showing a woman with Angelina Jolie proportions knocking out 250 pound guys with one punch (looking at you Colombiana). X-23’s claws avoid that issue. We don’t see her overpower men for the most part. The flip she performs on the gas station attendant is the only example I can think of. Otherwise, she uses her size to her advantage, relying on stealth and agility to kill her enemies.

One thing that bothered me was that her transition from a borderline-feral mute to a more well-adjusted human seemed a little too fast. She nearly kills the gas station attendant because he tried to take her goods from her. At first I tried to rationalize that by saying that she interpreted his hands on her as a deadly threat, but her relationship with the Eden children contradicts that. Although the children were collectively treated as products by Transigen it is implied they had a pretty strong relationship with one another before they escaped. Since X-23, or Laura, is able to socialize with them normally when she arrives her reaction to the gas station attendant seems out of character. Then again, we didn’t get to see her interact with the group much. Most of the film from that point on focused on her interacting with Logan and their fight with Transigen. It would have been interesting to see how they all reacted to being together again.

P.S- Some people might laugh at the fat kid running, but that kid was hauling ass.

 

Green Room Review

Entertainment Value: 9/10  Critical Value: 7.5/10

It’s been a while since I have done a film review, but I recently watched Green Room and decided I should do another. I’ll likely be doing one for Rogue One as well, which I should be seeing today. Green Room came up on my Netflix recommendations and I remembered hearing about it through Patrick Stewart’s social media. As I checked the cast list I also realized Anton Yelchin was one of the leads. His death earlier this year was an unfortunate and early end to a great career. He was one of the only good things in Terminator: Salvation and I also enjoyed him as Chekov in the new Star Trek films. Green Room is actually his last feature film to be released while he was still alive. In a way, watching it was my own tribute to him.

The film follows a punk band who perform at a remote skinhead bar. After witnessing a murder, they end up trapped, surrounded by skinheads who want to eliminate the witnesses. The film has received rave reviews and although I didn’t like it as much as many people did, I definitely enjoyed it. The plot isn’t anything special, the quality of the movie lies in its cast and the execution of the thrills. Yelchin and his band members, The Ain’t Rights, aren’t introduced as sympathetic characters. We see them siphoning gas from cars within the first ten minutes but the movie quickly manages to make you root for them. Another one of the main characters is a Neo-Nazi and I was actually rooting for her as well.

The other actors all blend into their roles as well, especially Alia Shawkat and Joe Cole. We don’t get much character development for any of the characters but I was still attached to them, hoping that they all made it out alive.

Patrick Stewart, plays Darcy, the owner of the skinhead bar and the leader of their organization. This film marks the first time that I have heard Patrick Stewart do an american accent. I have to say that it was dodgy at times. Perhaps I am just used to his english accent and that leads me to pick his performance apart more. I just felt his native accent struggling to break through with just about every sentence. His performance was’t bad but a poor accent can often hamper an otherwise great performance.

Yelchin, playing Pat, outshines Patrick Stewart here. He is the heart of the film and one scene in particular would have been weaker if it wasn’t for his performance.

Minor spoiler: At one point, Pat is injured. We hear him scream in pain but we don’t see what his injury is right away. The way the scene was shot, along with Yelchin’s performance. I have seen gorier films, but the visceral violence of this one and its masterful execution made it stand out as one my favourites in recent memory. As I look back on the film, I realize that its true strength and memorability lies in these moments of brutality. I have returned to the film again and again simply to watch these scenes. In some ways, Green Room almost reminded me of a Tarantino film, slow build up that leads to moments of great violence. The script and the direction does a great job continuously building tension, until the film’s end, which I felt was slightly too abrupt.

The film has very strong moments, but I felt like these moments weren’t consistent enough to make it a great film. With that said, Yelchin is a stand out and I believe that the film is worth watching so that you can see the talent the world was robbed of too early.