Good. God. Where do I even begin? The next project in Disney's growing list of reboots and remakes is based on another film made not so long ago, based on one of the most acclaimed animated classics of all time and the first animated film to garner a Best Picture nomination at the Academy Awards. This tale as old as time, however, has now become a tale-as-fresh-as-the-modern-retelling-adding-unnecessary-messages-that-have-to-be-infused-in-order-to-please-diehard-fans-for-today's-audiences-and-not-for-everyone-including-generations-to-come. And while it's fine to do this for remakes if executed well, is it really necessary for this one? In other words, THE FILM IS NOT SO VERY TIMELESS NOW, IS IT?
You all know the story. You all know the characters, the songs, the quotes, and the humor. Disney banked on that and exploited the hell out of it in their marketing plan. This time around, it's Harry Potter badass Emma Watson in the iconic lead role, with a star-studded cast whose previous films range everywhere from The Hobbit/Lord of the Rings to Star Wars to Downton Abbey, Frozen and A Fish Called Wanda.
For this review, there's a lot to get through, so if you're not the kind of person who likes to read longer reviews, then this probably isn't for you. A few things need to be made clear, though;
This review is based on a critical search for a solid entertaining movie, not based on bias or blinding nostalgia of the original film. In other words, I don't care whether or not it's a remake; this is a critical look at the film regardless, as a film.
There will be comparisons to the original film for the sole purpose of critically analyzing this film, NOT to solely point out if and how the original film is better. The original one had plot holes and other concerns too.
Yes, remakes need to be updated for current movie-going audiences. I realize that.
Now that this is clear, buckle up - it's going to be a wild ride.
Director: Bill Condon
Cast: Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Kevin Kline, Luke Evans, Josh Gad, Ewan McGregor, Ian McKellen, Emma Thompson, Aubra McDonald, Stanley Tucci, Hattie Morahan
Distributor: Walt Disney Pictures, Mandeville Films
This is not a superhero film. Sure, it was co-produced by Marvel Studios, one of the biggest comic book and film entertainment companies in America today. Sure, the film is based on characters who were once heroes in a past life. Sure, there are villains and conflicts told in a superhero, comic-book fashion. But Logan, the latest directorial outing by James Mangold (who previously handled The Wolverine), is not a superhero film. It is so much more than just that.
Logan, the tenth X-Men film, really has no X-Men in it. Gone are the days where mutants and epic, larger-than-life action scenes with saving citizens and protecting the world are common, everyday news. In the not too distant future (does anyone else think of Mystery Science Theater 3000 every time this flashes on screen in an X-Men movie?) is now in the farther, bleaker dystopian future of Western frontier. Logan, once the Wolverine, is much older, worn, and tired. His healing abilities are not what they once were, the adamantium metal in his body (and what gives him those famous retractable claws) now acting as a poison. Booze - constant booze - is his painkiller, along with the occasional expletive. He is caretaker for a much older, senile Charles Xavier, plagued with multiple diseases and seizures affecting his powerful mind-altering abilities. One day, a young girl with powers like Logan's own wanders into their lives, with a group of bounty hunters called the Reavers on their trail. With his friends threatened, Logan reluctantly but assuredly begins a quest to stop the Reavers and to bring the girl to a new home, someplace safe and far away from the wastelands.
Director: James Mangold
Cast: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Richard E. Grant, Boyd Holbrook
Studio: 20th Century Fox, Marvel Studios, TSG Entertainment