Logan (Blu-ray Review)28 May, 2017
Box Office $226.07 million
$29.98 DVD, $39.99 Blu-ray, $39.99 UHD BD
Rated ‘R’ for strong brutal violence and language throughout, and for brief nudity
Stars Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Dafne Keen, Boyd Holbrook, Stephen Merchant, Elizabeth Rodriguez, Richard E. Grant, Eriq La Salle, Elise Neal.
Aside from a few throwaway references and its high-profile leads, Logan is barely recognizable as an “X-Men” movie. It certainly isn’t concerned with fitting into whatever continuity the “X-Men” movies still have at this point.
Director James Mangold takes Logan in a much different direction than its franchise brethren by imbuing the film with a darker tone that befits its gritty neo-Western storyline. Like Deadpool, this is an ‘R’-rated “X-Men” tale, and it isn’t afraid to take advantage of that fact with mature themes and gorier violence (as pointed out on the Blu-ray bonus materials, it’s not for kids).
Logan was billed as Hugh Jackman’s final performance as Wolverine, a character he has played in nine movies starting with 2000’s original X-Men. Likewise, it seems to be the last hoorah for Patrick Stewart as Professor X. As such, it’s clear a lot of effort was put into giving them a sendoff they deserve.
Mangold notes in his Blu-ray commentary that the homage to movie Westerns was an intentional choice in order to frame the story as simply as possible, putting more emphasis on character and performance while exploring the more mundane aspects of superhero life. One major influence is Shane, which at least puts it in the company of The Dark Knight.
The story, which seems inspired by the "Old Man Logan" comic book, finds Logan down on his luck in 2029, after almost all the world’s mutants have died out. As Logan cares for the 90-something Professor X, he comes across a little girl named Laura (Dafne Keen) who seems to have the same powers that he does — healing factor, super strength, adamantium claws and a feral attitude. She escaped from a larger program in which geneticists cloned mutant children in order to weaponize mutant powers, and the paramilitary organization that created her wants her back. So Logan, the Professor and Laura hit the road in search of a rumored sanctuary where the children might be safe. Along the way, the Professor hopes to remind Logan just what it means to be a hero.
These are plot points the franchise has covered before, especially in the previous two Wolverine solo movies. The idea of Logan going on the run to protect someone was a key element of Mangold's own The Wolverine in 2013. And Logan fighting an organization that wants to harness mutant powers to enhance soldiers was featured in 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine (and The Wolverine, to some extent). But Mangold is able to make this installment feel fresh by grounding it in a sense of realism, filming in real locations and keeping visual effects to a minimum. The result is a masterpiece of technique.
A muddy color palette creates gives the film a real dusty vibe, almost like a “Mad Max” movie. It’s easy to interpret the film as a glimpse at a dystopian America, but as Mangold is quick to point out in his commentary, he didn’t build any sets to achieve this look. He just found parts of America that already exist to suit his needs.
In addition to Mangold’s solo commentary track, the making of the film is covered in an extensive six-part documentary that runs about 76 minutes.
The Blu-ray also includes six deleted scenes running almost eight minutes total.
Finally, a second disc includes the film presented in black-and-white, labeled as Logan Noir (not unlike Mad Max: Fury Road, which was also given a monochrome edition). While it’s cute the filmmakers are embracing Logan as an example of old-school filmmaking, this seems like more of an indulgence by a director looking to experiment with visual styles. The only extra on this version is the same director’s commentary from the regular version.