One of the primary reasons that James Mangold’s Logan works so well as a send-off to Hugh Jackman’s 17 years playing Wolverine is that it does the opposite of nearly every superhero movie convention expected. The end result earned critical and commercial acclaim and an Oscar nomination for adapted screenplay (a Wolverine movie got an Oscar nomination for screenplay; thought I’d say that again). More than a superhero film, Logan has more in common with the Western where an old gunslinger goes out on a final quest (more Unforgiven than X-Men).
In fact, my favorite cut of the film is Logan Noir: the black & white version of the film included as bonus feature on the Blu Ray. Denuded of a lot of the effect of the blood, the film feels more in tune with an old warrior’s final journey. But Mangold does give the fans, at the end of the film, one final berserker charge from Wolverine as he races to save his daughter and the last mutant children from the Reavers. Even that scene though, if you put him on a horse and swapped his claws for six-shooters, would be straight out of a Western. Kudos to Jackman for 17 years as the world’s favorite mutant, and to James Mangold for figuring out a way to give us a Wolverine that was off his leash, yet more true to the character’s roots than in any other film he’s been in.
Logan, the third Wolverine solo film, will be the ninth and final appearance by Hugh Jackman as the most popular X-Man. No one, not even Chris Reeve as Superman or Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark has completely and totally owned a superhero like Jackman has from the very first seconds we saw him cage fighting in X-Men. Seventeen years later, his journey with the character will end, we’ll see the heir to Logan’s mantle, and also bid goodbye to Patrick Stewart as Professor Xavier. This doesn’t feel like a super hero movie (and I mean that in the best way), it feels like an old gunslinger’s last hurrah, and set to Johnny Cash’s cover of “Hurt” (one of my three favorite songs), I got a little misty. No one will ever fill Hugh’s shoes, even though one day they’ll cast another person as Logan, he has a choke hold on this role forever. Continue reading Trailer Time: Logan Trailer #1 (2017) *Jackman Pops the Claws One Last Time*
The heart of the X-Men films has always been the relationship between Xavier and Magneto. It seemed impossibly that anyone could top the Stewart/McKellan dynamic of two friends turned enemies at the end of their long battle, but Matthew Vaughan’s brilliant X-Men: First Class made sure that the heart of series would still beat strong. First Class is my second favorite of the series and that they got actors of Oscar caliber again in James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender to portray Xavier and Magneto cemented the series and gave it new life (new life I’m afraid DOFP muddled and Apocalypse will destroy).
From that very first scene after the concentration camp in the first film, you get a wonderful scene with Stewart and McKellan that so elegantly sets up their dynamic. You can tell they’re adversaries, but in that, and in all their interactions to come, their was a hint of sadness; of friendship and brotherhood lost. X-Men: First Class gave us the foundation on which that bond was built and the tragic events that set them on different paths forever.
I had a really hard time choosing one scene from this film. I could have watched an entire film of Magneto: Nazi Hunter. His two displays of power in Cuba in lifting the sub and manipulating the missiles and the events leading to Charles’ paralysis all could have made it. But I chose this quiet scene. I think it shows you why there’s always a grain of love between Charles and Erik no matter how heated the exchanges. It’s a beautifully written and acted scene and one of the tiny gems in a film that make every other film in the series more profound. I wish Matthew Vaughan were directing the next X-film. Singer seems tangled up between the casts and the convoluted continuity and Vaughn cut through all that to the heart of what makes the X-Men work. It’s a shame we only got one film from him in the series.
Until The Dark Knight, X-Men 2 was the gold standard for comic book movies. It remains my favorite of the series, and though there are tons of great moments, I love it when a film opens with something jaw-dropping. X-Men 2 opened with a mind-controlled Nightcrawler (Alan Cumming) storming The White House, teleporting, BAMFING, and fulfilling every X-fan’s dream to see the fuzzy elf realized in the comics.
Nightcrawler is one of my favorite X-Men, so it was great to see him, but it wasn’t just his appearance. No one had choreographed a fight for a teleporter before. His fighting style utilizing his teleportation and his tail is so unique that you were sucked into the movie in the little over two minutes it took Kurt to breach The Oval Office. Unfortunately, Alan Cumming had a miserable experience working on X2 and never returned, clashing with Brian Singer and chafing at the elaborate make-up necessary for the character. A younger Kurt Wagner will make his debut in X-Men: Apocalypse played by Kodi Smit-McPhee. He’s got some large, oddly shaped shoes to fill. For more of Alan Cumming, check out The Good Wife on CBS (just finishing its seven-year run). His character is reason enough to binge watch the drama.
I have to eat crow on this. I thought Quicksilver was shoehorned into this movie just to beat Disney in using him in Avengers: Age of Ultron. I thought his look was stupid. I flat out didn’t even want him in the movie. Mmmmmmm. Crow.
Evan Peters stole this movie. His two scenes: both his introduction at his house and this scene were a combination of comic book cool and gleeful fun. This scene, where he saves the day during the X-Men’s jailbreak of Magneto is probably my favorite scene in any film I’ve seen in 2014. It’s brilliant.
There will be an extended cut of X-Men DOFP coming out sometime in 2015 and I will be very interested to see that version, because my main problem with the theatrical release was that it felt rushed. I can only hope Peters will be back in X-Men: Apocalypse, but until then I’ll gladly watch this over and over again.