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Featured Blu-ray and DVD Review: Logan

June 18th, 2017

Logan - Buy from Amazon: DVD, Blu-ray Combo Pack, or 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack
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Logan

Logan is supposedly Hugh Jackman’s last film as Wolverine. Not every X-Men movie has been worth the price of admission, so if this is the end of the road, does Hugh Jackman get to go out on a high note? Or does he end his run with a whimper.

The Movie

The year is 2029 and Logan is working as a limo driver, mostly driving rich Americans across the border to party. Although this night, it’s not rich Americans that are the problem. After the opening credits, we see Logan at a funeral, not as a mourner, but as a driver. He is approached by a woman, Gabriela, who knows who he is and asks for his help. He refuses and she drives off, but Logan sees a young girl in her backseat.

Not long after that, we see Logan illegally purchasing some pills at a hospital, but after he gets into his limo, Donald Pierce gets into the back. He’s looking for Gabriela, because Gabriela stole something and he’s responsible for getting it back. He threatens Logan, telling him he knows who he is hiding, before leaving him his business card. This unnerves Logan, who races home. “Home” in this case is an abandoned building near the Mexico / United States border. The only people living there besides Logan are Caliban, a mutant who can track other mutants, as well as Charles Xavier. Charles Xavier is, to put it mildly, unwell. He’s lost his memory, mostly, and has frequent seizures that affect his psychic abilities that cause others around him to freeze. The drugs Logan was buying were not for him, but for Charles. It’s to stop his seizures and he really needs them.

Caliban tells Logan that the fallen water tower they are keeping Charles in isn’t enough. Charles claims to be in psychic contact with someone from the outside and that could spell trouble. Logan, on the other hand, thinks this isn’t real psychic powers, but a result of his Alzheimer's. We finally see Charles, and it’s bad. He knows he’s practically a prisoner. He thinks he knows why. He’s sure it’s Logan’s fault. That’s as much detail as I’m willing to give. It’s not a plot-heavy moment, but it is an important character moment. We also get a character moment between Logan and Caliban, but this one does come with an important plot point. Logan’s sick. We’ve already seen that his healing factor is failing, but it might be worse than that.

That night, after dropping off a drunken bachelorette party, Logan gets a job at a local motel. When he gets there, he finds it was Gabriela. At first Logan is pissed, for good reason. Gabriela has disrupted his life, which was already terrible to begin with. She offers him $50,000 to drive the girl, Laura, to Canada. He agrees, returns home to get ready and also tell Charles he will be gone for a few days. However, when he returns to get Gabriela and Laura, Gabriela is dead and Laura is nowhere to be found. When he gets back home, it turns out Laura hid in his Limo’s trunk. It also turns out that Donald Pierce followed Logan to get to Laura. Fortunately Laura has Logan’s back and is able to knock out Donald, which allows them some time to prepare to get away. Unfortunately, it isn’t enough time.

That’s when the action, and the spoilers, begin in earnest.

Before we get to the review, I have a bit of advice for anyone who finds themselves stuck in an R-rated action movie playing a nameless henchman. ... RUN AWAY! After watching John Wick: Chapter 2 and Logan back-to-back and seeing so many nameless henchmen getting mowed down, I wondered why these people don’t just run away. How do these organizations get such loyal employees? Do they offer a really good dental plan? Or do they just hire really dumb people? I would love to see someone just drop their gun, and leave. “Nope. Not getting paid enough for this. I’m out of here.”

As for the movie itself...

The X-Men franchise has not been consistently good. Logan is the ninth or tenth film in the franchise, it depends if you count Deadpool as part of the continuity or not. Of those previous, let’s go with eight films, only two of them were great: X2 and First Class. On the other hand, three of them are just bad, while the rest are good to average. Fortunately, Logan is the best release of the franchise with a number of really strong aspects that put it above all of the other X-Men movies.

The positive qualities start with a strong script, naturally. Logan essentially is a western with Logan in the role of an aging gunslinger who takes on one last job to protect an innocent homesteader. Although to call Laura innocent, you have to mark on a curve. Thanks to this wonderful script, both Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart have the material they need to give the best performances in this franchise. It might even be their best performances of their careers. I’m not surprised those two were so great; Dafne Keen was a complete surprise. She’s only 11 and this is only her second acting credit. I suspect she will have a long career ahead of her.

While the character moments ground the film and give it heart, it is still a comic book movie, so it is important to have action scenes as well. Here is where the R-rating comes in handy. Making most comic book characters into R-rated movies would be a huge mistake; however, Wolverine is one of the few exceptions. The action here is fast, well-choreographed, and has a visceral brutality to it. I mentioned John Wick: Chapter 2 above and the two films have similar fast-based, high kill count action scenes, but while John Wick kills with a ... would it be pretentious to compare it to ballet? Here the fighting is more animalistic, which of course is more in keeping with Logan and Laura. If you like Wolverine as a character, but wished he could let loose in a way a PG-13 rating simply wouldn’t allow, this movie will leave you sastified.

On a side note, I like how there’s X-Men comics within the movie. This is actually true to the Marvel comics universe, as for a while, it canon that the comics existed within the comics. There were even times when the super heroes would interact with the writers within the comics. Comics are weird.

The Extras

Extras begin with an audio commentary track with the director James Mangold. Next up is eight minutes of deleted scenes, also with optional audio commentary. There is a six-part, 75-minute long making of feature. This is very in-depth and well-worth watching. That’s only three extras, but since the making of is nearly feature-length, it is high quality and not quantity.

There is also a Black and White version of the movie called Logan Noir. ... Logan is a western, not Film Noir. It is striking to watch, but I’m not sure it adds enough to the original experience to be major selling point for this Blu-ray. That said, I’m happy it was included on the initial release and was not released separately as a special edition six months from now.

The Verdict

There have been three major super hero movies released this year and all three of them earned great reviews. Some are calling Logan the best comic book movie of the past few years. I’m not that enthusiastic, but I do think it is the best film in the X-Men franchise. If you like the titular character, then this movie is a must have. The extras on the DVD, Blu-ray Combo Pack, or 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack lift it from a solid purchase to a contender for Pick of the Week.

Filed under: Video Review, Logan, X-Men, Keanu Reeves, Hugh Jackman, James Mangold, Stephen Merchant, Patrick Stewart, Boyd Holbrook, Elizabeth Rodriguez, Dafne Keen
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