It’s old news by now that Hollywood studios are not renowned for taking chances. If something works they tend to bludgeon an idea to death until it dies from overexposure or, worse, audience indifference. With the runaway success of the first R rated comic book adaptation, Deadpool, early last year, it should come as no surprise that Fox, the studio behind that property, would try it again. Logan, which is both a new addition to the X Men film universe and also another chapter in the continuing series of adventures featuring the series’ standalone character, Wolverine, has also been given the R rating. And, I think it’s wise to note, that this film earns its R rating in spades. There’s a generous heaping of four letters words, particularly a frequent dropping of the F-bomb, and enough violence to satiate those who are curious to see what an R rated Wolverine film might look like. And that may be alone to satisfy those clamoring what has been billed as the final installment in the travails of the Wolverine character.
Taken on its own terms as a film, Logan will be more problematic for those who are not as invested in the X Men universe or comic book movie adaptations in general. Those more schooled in these things will certainly love it. There’s obviously nothing anyone can say, myself included, that will dampen the geeky charms of the films for those who have been clamoring for its release. Heck, the sights and sounds of Professor X (the 77 year old Patrick Stewart) bandying about the F word will be enough to send long time fans into fits of chuckles and into geek heaven. For the rest of us, what we’re left with is a passable Wolverine adventure, roughly on a par with the last one in the franchise.
Logan’s plot is basically a road movie of sorts, a classic cinematic template that seems to always work when all other storytelling options have been exhausted. Here Logan/Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) is passing the days away under the influence of alcohol as the film opens and sometimes taking care of Professor X, who’s been suffering crippling seizures. When he’s sober enough, Logan takes work as a driver for hire. He is approached by a mysterious woman and entrusted with the task of getting the woman’s daughter to safety, said child being cursed/blessed with abilities similar to Logan’s. Along the way, and with Professor X in tow, Logan must fend off those who are looking to kidnap the child for nefarious purposes.
The best thing about Logan is its connection to real people and real problems that most mortals deal with, as evidenced by his decision to care for the again Professor X, among other things. This type of thing is what makes Logan as relatively enjoyable as it is even if the film ultimately proves to be a mixed bag.
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Photo: Patrick Stewart & Hugh Jackman in Logan