Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Logan; only the moppets get out alive

Logan is a pretty good film if you judge it by such conventional metrics as gritty realism, decent acting and lack of Stan Lee cameos. It’s the first Marvel movie without a Stan Lee cameo, so what makes all non-Marvel movies a little better is finally available in a Marvel movie too. 

If you judge Logan by the simpler metric of “Was that fun?” things aren’t so good. It’s not a fun movie. The body count is off the charts. This may not be the first movie I’ve ever seen where the entire adult cast dies, but somehow it’s the first one where I’ve had the thought in those words. Come to think of it, that might be why it doesn’t have a Stan Lee cameo. Maybe they thought it would bum Stan Lee out too much to get killed in a movie.

Also missing, thank heavens; mid credit easter eggs, end credit easter eggs and all that palaver. This is, instead, an action movie which happens to have mutants instead of random palookas. It’s a Marvel movie only because they own the idea of mutants; for everything else, it’s a bleak modern thriller about men out of time getting one last shot at a redemption which is going to cost them everything.

Which does not make for chuckles. The weight of age is heavy on Professor Charles Xavier and Logan. Nothing is easy any more, and the world’s been turning to crap around them.

How well any of this works depends on your tolerance for kids in action movies. There’s one main kid, Laura, and a bunch of ancillary moppets who were lucky not to be in a Korean movie; they’d have been wiped out to the last baby in Korea. In America, they still pull those punches, which is honestly the only way any of those kids don’t wind up as paste instead of making a clean getaway. 

Laura spends most of the movie without any dialogue, and the moment when she starts talking doesn’t really make a lick of sense. On the way out of the movie, I overheard someone saying she was better than Chloe Moretz. I have nothing against Dafne Keen, but not even Chloe Moretz could be better than Chloe Moretz if she was given nothing better to do than grimace, gut people and scream all movie long. Dafne Keen does what she can with what she’s given, and could probably do a lot more, but Laura is no Hit Girl.

Meanwhile, the bad guys continue to have the weirdest staff. Richard E Grant’s Dr Evil and Fey Ginger With a Fake Hand second in command have an unlimited supply of tooled up nutbags to hunt our heroes, and what’s amazing isn’t just their inability to overwhelm the goodies through sheer weight of numbers, but the fact that they never falter. Logan and Laura are carving hideous lumps out of the mook squad, and at no point do the mooks stop and do the maths. They just keep attacking to the last man. Not one of them runs away, or just tries to fade into the treeline. I have no idea what Evil Inc uses for motivation, but if they could somehow match it with some kind of basic competence, they wouldn’t even need mutant super soldiers.

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