REVIEWS

Berlinale 2017: Mangold's 'Logan' is an Excellent Wolverine Western

by
February 18, 2017

Logan Review

Let's make this clear right at the start - this is not another Marvel Studios movie. Logan is a stand-alone, outstanding, one-of-a-kind X-Men movie made for adults. It's violent as all hell, emotional and captivating, gritty and grounded, and exciting to experience. Director James Mangold really hit a home run with this one, bucking the trend and going with his gut to deliver a superb "Wolverine Western". I had to see Logan twice at the Berlin Film Festival before writing this review, to confirm how awesome it is. I haven't enjoyed watching an X-Men movie this much in such a long time, and I'd say this is easily one of the best X-Men movies. It's not really an X-Men movie, but it actually is - there's so much mutant mythology hidden within.

Logan is, at its core, a very simple movie about a weathered man who has been through hell and back. He's watching over the only other person he cares for - an aging man who was the first to rescue him years ago. He learns he has a daughter he never knew about, and struggles to learn to care for her amidst all the chaos in his life. Hugh Jackman returns for his ninth (and presumably final) time as James Howlett, aka Logan, aka Wolverine. He's joined by Patrick Stewart as Charles Xavier, whose mind is falling apart as he gets older. Newcomer Dafne Keen plays X-23, a young mutant girl whose fate brings her right to Logan. And of course there's the various villainous people who want to control the mutants chasing after all three of them.

Pardon my French, but – Logan is so fucking awesome. I still can't even believe how amazing it is. It makes me so happy that it turned out this good. The action is extraordinary, even better than the action in John Wick: Chapter 2 (at least I think it is), seriously brutal and totally badass. This movie is more violent and bloody than any other superhero movie we've seen before. Heads roll, limbs fly, claws slash and stab, poking bloody holes in mercenaries left and right. There's so many F-bombs, and it's such a relief to see a movie where they don't have to hold back just to get a PG-13 rating. It's exciting to see what they can do with a superhero story when they actually get to make a movie where characters let loose and say what they want.

On top of all the violence, this is one of the first X-Men movies where the comics are actually referred to and shown in the movie. Finally! And they're not shown in a cheesy way, or in way that makes you roll your eyes. Logan references the comics as trash, as some fantasy that doesn't actually reflect reality (meaning all the other events that occurred in the previous movies). There's other references hidden in the dialogue that are sprinkled in so carefully, yet with such an impressive understanding of this universe. This is all part of what makes Logan such an outstanding X-Men movie - even though it's still a movie about Wolverine, it's also a movie about mutants, and everything they've gone through. And the final shot wraps it up in a perfect way.

I mean it when I say that Logan is one of the best films of this year's Berlin Film Festival. Mangold stuck to his guns and made a movie that is an homage to classic westerns, yet is also something unique and exciting on its own. I could go on and on talking about it and how much there is to admire. It's set in the year 2029, but it's not really a sci-fi movie, even though there are a few sci-fi touches here and there that make a sci-fi geek like me even happier. There are a few political nods as well, the kind that make you realize Mangold is smart as hell. It's also a very emotional story, and you may find yourself wiping away a few tears. Mangold has set a new precedent with this, and it's up to Hollywood to see if they can live up to Logan from now on.

Alex's Berlinale 2017 Rating: 9 out of 10
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  • RAW_D
    That's high praise! Jackman's Wolverine is one of the few saving graces of the X-men films. It's nice to see him get a farewell film on his terms with a character he's embodied for a over decade. Looking forward to it.
  • Mr. Nice Guy
    Is this as good as The Dark Knight? I enjoyed your unforgettable review for TDK (fuck Faraci). I think this may be another cinematic revolution for superheroes at least!
  • Well they learned from Deadpool if i understand you right. So high on my list!
    • Dominic
      "inspired by " Deadpool , as this movie was in the works before DP came out . And already had the stated goal of being an " R " - type of movie ...
  • Cyberdine
    Marvel comics film should have never been taken over by Disney in the first place. Marvel comics is enriched with intense emotion, graphic violence, and graphic language. That's what should be displayed on the big screen.
    • DanShaw
      oh grow up. you're one of like 12 people worldwide who apparently doesn't love the MCU movies, because they're fucking awesome and fun as shit and really well crafted. Disney was a god send because they gave Marvel the money with minimal oversight. MARVEL WASN'T MAKING GRAPHIC MOVIES EVEN BEFORE DISNEY. stop being a moron in such a public way, keep your stupidity to yourself.
      • Cyberdine
        Haha I must've hit the super nerd nerve. Calm down little guy before you spill your milk and make a mess of yourself. The only god send is the Russo Bros. Everything else is what Disney leaves in the toilet. But maybe you're right....I'm sure there are hundreds of thousands of 10 year olds who love the PG13 scripts, the shiny CGI and elementary quips too. Now go to bed cause Im sure you have school tomorrow.
        • Dominic
          The gross is the only factor you need to view , to see how Marvel movies blow DC movies out of the water .. ...and it DID help , for Marvel to have a "sugar daddy" of sorts ; the comics industry isn't exactly rich . So far , the DC experiment to go "darker" , doesn't seem to have helped much ; what was BvsS's gross ? ...movie itself being based on a rather silly premise - Bruce Wayne's envy of Superman and an ASSUMPTION that The Alien was bad ..
          • Cyberdine
            I grew up reading both Marvel and DC. I never made this about DC vs Marvel. Whether or not Marvel has been successful with Disney is not the argument. Disney has done what it's always done, and that's make film appealing to the masses, and because of that thus NOT doing justice to its source when making comic book film. I respect far more what Fox did with Deadpool than what Disney's doing with Marvel. Alls I'm saying.
          • Dominic
            That's not a good comparison ....as Fox would have had years to see whether the "PG" format worked or not . Indeed , DP was only made Because of the Backlash u aid here . Respect is one thing ; profits are another . And EVERYBODY screwed with the source materials of characters - don't just lump it all on Marvel . Only recently have Dir and Prod shown they respect such ...
          • Cyberdine
            Wrong sir. The backlash is not a result of people aimlessly shi++ing on Marvel. The backlash is the result of true fans being displeased with what is being transitioned from comic to film.
          • Dominic
            Yeah yeah us older comic folk are always going to be displeased about something ... Did they get the Ethos and Pathos of the character correct ? amid any origin changes or power upgrades , is all I care about ....Was there anything wrong with a character depiction on CA: Civil War ? ....as really since Cap America One( Forever Avenger ? ) the scripting and character development has been superb. ESPecially when compared with what used to come out in 80's and 90's . We have young producers and directors taking the genre seriously now , not the old gezers who saw it as a comedy .. and THEY"D BETTER take it seriously , as we CB fans OWN Hollywoood now ... I'd be more upset with DC , turning Batman into a radcon radio-type afraid of aliens , , not recent Marvel characterization
  • Dominic
    Alex ? do the graphics and the scenes of the movie make you long for seeing it in IMAX format ? Or will Standard be OK to see the blood and gore , since the script and acting are so compelling ? Will it be enough to shut the fanboys up , about why Wolverine IS the mutant character to be so focused on , and not Spidey ?
  • DAVIDPD
    Perfect. Now...I just need to find a theatre out here.
  • CShane
    Great review! So refreshing to see Hollywood really go for it. I'm betting the success of Deadpool had a lot to do with the R rating. Looking forward to this one!

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