The “X-men” series has always been a difficult collection of films for me to appreciate. There are some brilliantly constructed action films such as “X-2” “X-Men: First Class,” and “X-Men: Days of Future Past.” But at the same time, there are some unbelievably bad entries throughout the series, most notably being “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” and “X3.” While I think “X3” is a shameful excuse for a piece of entertainment, the film I’ve always had the most issues with was “X-Men Origins: Wolverine.”
So much about this film annoyed me. The pacing was terrible, the script was rather unbearable and the film was extremely violent but very cheesy. This was primarily due to its desire to have a PG-13 rating for the sake of the box office numbers. Hence no blood was included in the film, even though Wolverine, with his metal claws, is a hero that warrants large amounts of blood when he fights bad guys. It was a wasted story that was a slave to the box office and ruined what could have been a riveting storyline for the series.
There was another stand-alone film for Wolverine titled “The Wolverine” that was definitely an improvement on its predecessor, but was still in no way a quality film. The biggest problem with the second entry was its forgettable nature. “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” was so bad that at least people still remember and talk about it, potentially making it better than the sequel because, like the saying goes, the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.
With “Logan,” though, there was a revived sense of hope that this film would be different. The preview showed a film that seemed more like a western road trip film than a cliché superhero entry. But ignoring that, this film was always going to be interesting because of its R rating (it seems we’re already seeing the influence of “Deadpool” permeating through the realms of summer blockbusters). Because of these somewhat unique cinematic traits, I had high hopes that this film would be the closest thing to “The Dark Knight” that Marvel has ever released.
But despite my optimism, I still had a lot of issues with this film. The beginning is fine as we see an older Wolverine and a deteriorating Professor X struggling to get through life. Seeing these two characters deal with old age in a very human way was an intriguing part of the story and the opening 45 minutes was the perfect set up for the rest of the movie. But it never felt like the movie got into its stride in the later stages of the film with action and violence being balanced out with more humanized moments. I appreciate what the writers were trying to do by giving even minor characters a more humanized persona, but it was done in such a way that the film never felt like it was going anywhere. It’s still a better story than your generic superhero film, but I expected something a little more balanced and nuanced.
But what surprised me most about the film was my reaction to the R-rated violence. I was initially relieved that this film was going to get an R-rating to feel more authentic, but the blood and gore is so over the top and unnecessary that it makes it feel just as cheesy as a slasher film.
After the film went to black, I couldn’t decide if I enjoyed it or not. There were some undeniable positives to take away from it, but there were too many pitfalls to allow me to feel truly satisfied. In a way, this film is the perfect summary of the X-men series as a whole. There will always be some high points but at the end of the day, the drawbacks will prevent me from truly feeling content with this film and the X-men series as a whole.
Logan (2017): 2/4 stars