At the beginning of the month I got to go see the new X-Men movie "Logan", a movie centering on the Marvel character, Wolverine, and his struggle to save a new child-mutant, Laura. I went with my fiancee and his dad (which may sound awkward but his dad is actually hilarious so that made it better). I had kind of meh expectations for the movie because all the Wolverine standalones and recent X-Men movies I've seen have been less than overwhelming. I wasn't quite sure what to expect from this one.
Happily, my medium-size expectations were blown right out of the water. I laughed at this movie, I even cried twice - which I hate doing in a movie theater - and I definitely enjoyed the whole ride.
Today I am going to share some of my thoughts on the film with you, and also my thoughts on whether or not we should make R-rated comic book movies a regular thing. So, let's jump in!
In the near future, a weary Logan cares for an ailing Professor X at a remote outpost on the Mexican border. His plan to hide from the outside world gets upended when he meets a young mutant who is very much like him. Logan must now protect the girl and battle the dark forces that want to capture her.So the movie is set about ten or so years from now with Logan working as a sort of uber driver to earn money for him and Charles Xavier who is beginning to succumb to a horrible dementia. They live just beyond the US/Mexican border and Charles is kept in an old turned-over water-tank where he is mainly looked after by Caliban while Logan is away. They are trying to raise money to buy a boat where Charles and Logan can sail away from the rest of the population into total isolation. The movie reveals that as Charles mind begins to slip, he becomes afflicted by horrible seizures that can have catastrophic consequences for humans and particularly mutants in Charles' vicinity. It is hinted that this is the reason why there are so few mutants left alive in the world.
Right out of the gate I want to say that Charles' dementia was probably my favorite plot point. It's a really (I think) creative idea on the part of the writers. What would happen if the world's most powerful mind started to disintegrate? What would be the consequences? I enjoyed how the movie played with this idea while still keeping Charles (mostly) sane and sensible, allowing us to really empathize with the character throughout the film. I've always really liked Charles Xavier but this movie definitely made me love him more.
Another challenge presented for the characters is that Logan's age seems to be catching up to him. He is no longer as strong, fast or powerful as before. Strictly put, it seems as though he is beginning to die.
On top of all of this, Logan finds himself mixed up in a strange conspiracy involving a young, mute girl whom Charles immediately believes is a mutant. Her name is Laura and as Logan grows to know her, he comes to realize that she is like him. Very much like him.
From here, the group sets out on a strange family road-trip, heading for North Dakota where Laura will be safe from those who are hunting her. But there are many twists and turns to be had along the way.
MAJOR SPOILERS TO COME BELOW
My overall view of the movie is strikingly positive. I really enjoyed the action, the plot, the characters, dialogue, everything. As stated above, one of my favorite plot points was Charles' dementia and the devastating affect it had on him and those around him cause I'm sadistic like that mwahaha. Another thing I really liked (and this is where the spoilers come in) was his death scene.
I was initially quite sad and depressed by Charles' death. But when reflecting on it, I'm really impressed by how the writers pulled it off. It ranks among my favorite movie deaths for sure. I won't explain it in death, but it can definitely be described as shocking and cruel and just...pretty sad all things considered. But that is what I enjoy in death scenes, so I was quite pleased.
I also really liked how they explored Logan's weakened state and letting him get beat up and kind of suck in perfect honesty, and not being afraid to do that.
The bravest thing the writers did however, was not only killing off Charles Xavier, but Wolverine as well. All in one fell cinematic swoop. This was quite a surprise to me - especially Charles' death because I had kind of predicted by the movie trailers and such that Wolverine was on his way out. The fact that the movie took out both of them though is pretty surprising to me. And kind of...refreshing? In light of this and Rogue One, I wonder if 2017 will be the year that movie franchises get brave enough to kill off their most popular characters? That will be interesting. And hard on my poor heartstrings.
One thing that I thought I would dislike based solely on my viewings of the trailer was that Laura was virtually the same creature as Logan, only better because she was younger and stronger and "the newer model." I find that a little annoying most of the time when comics do that with characters, but this movie actually pulled it off. Even when it was revealed that Laura was Logan's daughter (which I would initially have thought was too cheesy) it actually seemed to work out well. But that's just my opinion. Maybe other people will disagree? In any case, I did really like the way their relationship develops and grows over the course of the film. In the end, Logan cares for her enough to give up what's left of his life for her and her fellow experiments. And that definitely struck a chord for me.
MAJOR SPOILERS ARE NOW ENDED
I think what really worked about this X-Men movie is wrapped up in it's title. All of the other movies featuring Logan were titled "Wolverine" in some way or another, placing all the attention on the superhero side of the character. This movie, titled simply "Logan", is a much more personal testament and homage to the character and that's probably what makes the film really stand out from the previous attempts at Wolverine standalones. It's not about him simply being cool (though there is plenty of that as well), but of him being a real, vulnerable character who loves and loses and tries and fails. That was probably the best part of the film and I'm really glad that the writers were brave enough to do that with this character.
That being said, I've heard complaints about the R-rating of the film. Reading PluggedIn's review of it they seemed to really enjoy the themes that I discussed above, and that Logan had some real care and concern for those around him, and that he acted more hero-like probably than I've ever seen him, but they couldn't get past the language and violence that earned the R-rating. What I'd like to bring up for discussion is simply, is that really fair of them? I agree that the amount of language, while not really a personal issue for me, was over the top. They could definitely have cut some of it out. It definitely seemed at times like they were really trying for their rating, and it came across awkward. But the violence when you have two Wolverine characters running around, slicing and dicing, yeah, things will get a little messy. I think it's fair to grant the movie the freedom to do that.
Something that really bothers me about the Christian film industry and Christian views on what makes a good movie is that they will simply watch anything so long as it's "clean and good" the whole time. Even something that was a legitimately good movie with good themes and lessons to glean, like Logan, will fall by the wayside simply because of language and violent content. Of course we do not want kids watching these things at certain ages, I totally get that. And some people are simply uncomfortable with these things. I get that too. However, I think there is a happy medium to meet with how far comic book adaptions can/should go to be faithful to their content. I mean, they are about all-powerful super-humans fighting villains wanting to destroy the world. There's probably going to be some violence going down.
In my opinion, Logan was one of the movies that reached the happy medium. I know that last year when the Deadpool movie came out there was some controversy about that. I agree that there were definitely some over-the-top elements of that film (though I did not see it). I think it's R-rating took itself a little far - though it is in keeping with the comic character. In that, I think filmmakers should go ahead and make a faithful adaption, good on them. But that doesn't mean we have to watch it? Like, if you're really uncomfortable then don't see the film? It's that simple. Deadpool obviously did some things right as it was a pretty big box office hit. The same goes for Logan. It has one of the highest Rotten Tomatoes ratings I've ever seen for anything (92%) and an 8.5/10 on IMDB. That's pretty impressive. Does it have something to do with the filmmakers being free in their adaption? I think it absolutely does.
I wish that movies could be made disregarding the ratings or shock factors entirely. I wish that stories could simply just be told, good stories. Whether or not they contain dark or difficult content. I've found that many of the best stories usually aren't the most squeaky clean. It seems that audiences like something a little edgier, something that doesn't sugar-coat. But I also think we don't need a pile of sex, swearing and violence dumped in our laps with every movie either. It seems filmmakers are scared to meet in the middle, they only feel comfortable being on one extreme end, as those are the movies that sell.
But Logan is definitely selling. And it's definitely in the middle. And it's definitely worthwhile. To me, it's a big smack in the face to those who think that movies have to be soaked in filth or all soaped up pretty. Movies, stories, can visit dark things, hard things, and still have lots of good elements to show its audience in the end.
So, bearing all that in mind, should there be more comic adaptions with R-ratings? I think so. I definitely think so. That doesn't mean I believe studios should be trying for those ratings with all of their might, I think they should just let what happens happens. In the end, I think all an audience wants is a good story, and those come so much easier when we're not wrapped up in whether or not something is clean enough or dirty enough. Just let it be. Just let it breathe. That's my opinion anyway.
|and logan agrees|
Have any of you guys seen Logan? What did you think of the film? What do you think about superhero movies having R-ratings? Are you for or against? Let's talk about it!