HERC RADIO!! A TV Critic Appraises Next Month’s X-MEN Sequel LOGAN!!
I am – Hercules!!
James Mangold (“The Wolverine”) directs from a screenplay by Scott Frank (“Get Shorty,” “Out of Sight,” “The Wolverine”) & James Mangold and Michael Green (“Green Lantern”), based on a story by James Mangold and someone named David James Kelly.
What says 20th Century Fox?
“In the near future, a weary Logan cares for an ailing Professor X in a hide out on the Mexican border. But Logan’s attempts to hide from the world and his legacy are up-ended when a young mutant arrives, being pursued by dark forces.”
Is “Logan” better than 2009’s “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”?
Is it better than 2013’s “The Wolverine”?
Probably, but that’s more of a horserace. I would need to rewatch the 2013 movie, which I hold in high regard.
How does it start?
“Oh, fuck,” growls the title character, whom we quickly learn now makes his living as a limousine driver!
Except for the “near future” bit, do any elements survive from Mark Millar’s graphic novel “Old Man Logan?”
There is a road trip in the second act and Logan sports even more facial hair than usual. But the road trip runs South to North instead of West to East. In the movie Wolverine has not settled down in Sacramento with a wife and kids. There are no green, sadistic grandchildren of Bruce Banner demanding rent. There’s no blind Clint Barton behind the wheel of a large automobile. The United States has not been taken over and split into territories by The Kingpin and Victor Von Doom. The ending of “Old Man Logan” is, in my opinion, far more gratifying than the ending of “Logan.”
Is the Nine Inch Nails Johnny Cash song in the movie?
“Hurt” is not heard during the movie, but Cash sings a song from the same 2002 album over the closing credits.
Does Charles Xavier still have his mind-control power when it counts?
One of the reasons Logan is hiding Xavier in the Mexican desert (inside a toppled water tank!) is Xavier’s power is still immense, but the ninetysomething professor suffers from a dementia that has caused his brain to be classified a weapon of mass destruction.
Is the mini-Wolverine, pre-teen Laura, basically a retread of Mark Millar’s Hit-Girl from “Kick-Ass”?
She is possessed of Hit-Girl’s murderous nature and leap-and-slice acumen, but she is a mute mutant, and her silence may remind many as much of Emil Minty’s Feral Kid from “The Road Warrior.” (There are multiple “Logan” elements that evoke George Miller’s “Mad Max” movies, among them the future setting (Logan drives a 2024 Chrysler), the considerable desert-set vehicular mayhem, and an antagonist with a mechanical hand.)
Aside from Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart, do any familiar faces from earlier X-Men movies turn up?
None that I noticed.
So Famke Janssen is not in “Logan”?
No, but if Mangold’s goal was to cast a preteen bearing an, ahem, uncanny resemblance to Janssen, he could have done worse than the tiny Spanish actress Dafne Keen.
Are there flashbacks?
Not exactly. There is smartphone video footage. If you’re thinking of the gruesome “Old Man Logan” backstory, it is not present in “Logan,” perhaps because we already had to watch Logan kill Jean Grey in “X-Men: The Last Stand.” (There are other possible reasons I’ll be more willing to discuss after the film has been in cinemas a week or two.) I regard the exclusion of the “Old Man Logan” backstory, which revealed Wolverine was tricked into murdering his fellow X-Men, a misstep.
Is the Laura.mov footage in “Logan”?
The big news?
While the “Old Man Logan” Logan was reticent to use his claws, the “Logan” Logan is never shy about breaking out the adamantium.
What else is Fox not telling us?
Set years after the epilogue of “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” “Logan” depicts no Sentinels, but there are large, menacing robots in the form of driverless trucks that choke the freeways.
It’s hard to beat Little Laura in particular, and in general tiny mutant heroes who use their superpowers to kill; this film is very rated-R. It’s equally hard to resist those moments when the diminished Logan (who begins and ends the movie with a nasty limp) finds in crisis his inner Wolverine. “The Office” creator Stephen Merchant (who may be an actual mutant) is perfect in a dramatic role as the mutant mutant-hunter Caliban, who shares a vampire’s aversion to sunlight.
What’s not so good?
There really aren’t any significant surprises in the third act; at least there weren’t any for me. And little Laura’s abilities seem markedly less intimidating in the final act than in the first.
How does it end, spoiler boy?
March 2. Cinemas.
Still have questions about “Logan”? I’ll be talking more about it starting 4:30 p.m. on the Friday edition of “The Ralph Bailey Show,” which you can listen to LIVE by hitting the “Listen Live” button at kernradio.com.
Best of all, you, constant reader, can join this very nerdy conversation.
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