Last month, Fox screened the first act of Logan, which amounted to about 40 minutes of the movie. (I’m not sure I understand this practice. I mean, sure, I have a pretty good understanding what the tone of Logan is like, but 40 minutes is a lot of movie to watch without seeing the ending. And now I will have to see that 40 minutes again when I see the whole movie. My point is: 40 minutes is long enough to trick me into forgetting I won’t be seeing an entire movie.) Look, we’ve all heard in the past things like, “No, this will be the gritty superhero movie you’ve been waiting for,” then we get something like Batman v Superman. (Yeah, I know, The Dark Knight – but that’s starting to feel like so long ago now it belongs to a different era.)
When we first meet Logan (Hugh Jackman’s record-breaking 46th performance as Wolverine; I didn’t look up the number to make sure it’s correct, but that has to be right, right?) he’s seen better days. It’s 2029 and he’s a limo driver in the American Southwest – we see a montage of poor Logan driving around a lot of annoying and drunk people. A few minutes after that he’s attacked by members of a drug cartel who probably picked the wrong limo driver to mess with – one member of the cartel gets an adamantium claw all the way through the front of his head and out the other end. (Yes, this movie is rated R. There are also a lot of cuss words.)
Logan lives in an old rundown house with Caliban (Stephen Merchant), a mutant who can detect other mutants. Living in an abandoned, fallen water tower out back is a now somewhat senile Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart).
So, cutting to the chase: Director James Mangold has compared Logan to Little Miss Sunshine because it winds up being a road trip movie. And the first act sets us up for that trip featuring our team of Logan, Xavier and a mysterious young girl (Dafne Keen) – a girl who seems to have powers that are similar to that of Logan’s powers. They are all being chased by Boyd Holbrook’s Donald Pierce and his team of mercenaries who really want to capture Logan and Xavier’s new young mutant friend. (And if there were some doubt about the rating, at one point she decapitates a man.)
I’m not always a fan of “dark” and “gritty” because this can be used as a crutch. Look at any press tour for any movie that appeals to the nerdier side of the human spectrum: Every talking point is always, “This one is dark.” Sure, okay. What good is “dark” if it’s not a good movie? But from what I saw of Logan, the pieces are certainly there for a good movie. And I really enjoyed Mangold’s The Wolverine, because it’s the rare superhero movie where the world wasn’t at stake. (Yeah, the third act battle with the robot wasn’t the best – but it’s still a great movie.) And Logan certainly looks smaller scale. Everyone seems old and sad and it really does set the tone for something that could certainly be unique and original.
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