The release of this year’s superhero oddity, Logan, was met with huge praise. Fans celebrated its daring decision to make Wolverine’s final outing R-rated and bring the grit and blood that the rugged hero deserved. Critics, too, lauded the performances, themes and narrative, and so Logan rose to Deadpool status as the unexpected superhero gem of the year. We also agreed that the film was great.
A few months on, however, and perhaps it’s time to look back at Logan from an unbiased perspective that’s bereft of the flurry of hype caused by early screening reviews. Is Logan really that great? We’re not denying its originality among superhero flicks, nor the qualities it possesses, but this article does intend to draw attention towards its flaws. It’s a film that’s universally adored… but it may not deserve all the praise that it’s receiving.
While this article may be controversial, please understand that we’re not trying to state that those who love Logan are wrong, nor are we denying its many qualities. We are, however, offering a different perspective on the film that’s not as positive as the general consensus, by picking out flaws with the movie. Logan is a good movie, but it is overrated.
It goes without saying that there are spoilers below. Here are the 15 Reasons Why Logan Is Overrated.
15. Professor X’s Death Is Underwhelming
Logan signalled the end of Wolverine’s arc, but it also signalled the end of Sir Patrick Stewart’s role as Professor X, too. As one of the X-Men franchise’s most iconic characters– and the founder and leader of the group– one would expect the Professor’s sendoff to be treated with the appropriate amount of sentimentality and solemnity. That is to say, if Professor X dies, we should find it tragic.
Sadly, the only thing tragic about Professor X’s death is how poorly it’s handled. His exit is wasted on a cheap shock tactic, where attention is diverted towards the reveal of X-24. In turn, his death boils down to a plot device to introduce the film’s big baddie, taking away all the emotional heft.
Then, when the film finally takes the time to slow down and give the Professor a proper sendoff with his burial, the tragedy is undercut by the misplaced humor of Logan smashing up his car in anger. It’s a wholly unceremonious, unemotional, and underwhelming way to say goodbye to Sir Patrick Stewart’s portrayal of Professor X.
14. Clunky Use Of Exposition
Logan has been commended for how impressive it is as a drama, but one can’t help but think that it’s less of a good drama, and more of a middling drama that simply rids itself of the conceits of its superhero genre. After all, what good drama uses an inconceivably well-edited phone video to motor along the narrative?
It’s revealed in the video that Laura was kept in captivity by the shady governmental organization Essex Corp., along with a host of other mutant children, in order to study them and complete their “X-24” project.
Surely there’s a better way of developing Laura’s character, and fleshing out the evil tech company, than through an implausibly well-shot and narrated video that conveniently shows every bit of information Logan needs. Through this use of exposition, we are inorganically given a mass of backstory that, sure, gets the plot moving along, but is totally incongruous with the nuance that director James Mangold strives for in Logan.
It’s not just the phone video; Logan also references the 1953 classic Western, Shane throughout the movie, utilizing it as an obvious and lazy signpost of the film’s themes and narrative arc, while also artificially attempting to align itself with a classic, rather than earning this status.
13. Exhausts The R Rating
After the success of Deadpool, it was discovered that R-rated superhero blockbusters could find financial and critical success. Thus came the R rating for Logan, and its announcement was met with huge praise– we could finally see the Wolverine in all his foul-mouthed, claw-wielding glory.
While the film certainly takes advantage of the freedom that its mature rating affords, giving us grittier action sequences and the brutal bloodshed that previous iterations of Wolverine sorely lacked, it may go a little overboard.
The persistent swearing– that’s uttered from even the ordinarily well-mannered Professor X– takes any of its impact away, substituting good dialogue for dialogue that tries a little too hard to be edgy. It’s a way of making the film seem more mature, but when you hear curse after curse, it becomes tiresome. We get it; Logan isn’t your average superhero flick. However this should be understood by its heavy themes, not by its excessive swearing.
12. Weak Dialogue
A way to judge whether a film is good or not is by looking at its script. Unfortunately for Logan, the movie is somewhat weak in this department. Aside from Logan, each character comes across as one-dimensional, the script not giving the actors just enough to work with.
Even less impressive is how obvious a lot of the dialogue is. Characters reinstate what the audience already know in order to make sure everyone’s caught up, such as the final chase scene; as Essex Corp. advance on the fleeing mutant children, one of their henchmen shouts, to nobody in particular, “We need to stop those kids before they reach the border!”
11. Pacing Problems
At 141 minutes, Logan is a long movie. While films in its franchise like X2 and X-Men: First Class bear similar runtimes, they’re action-packed and fast-paced, so investment in the narrative is kept at a high.
However, Logan is a different breed, devoid of constant action and more focused on the personal development of its titular character. Which is all well and good, but, at 141 minutes, the plot needs to be focused in order to maintain attention. The first act does this brilliantly– it introduces the characters, introduces the state that they’re in, and introduces the state of the world. It ends with a terrific escape sequence in which Laura’s powers are revealed. Then the film runs into some problems.
Logan’s second act stretch is more uneven, as we follow the gang of Logan, Professor X, and Laura through several detours. Character development is surprisingly sparse, as Logan instead chooses to introduce a family that takes them in.
How we get here is questionable (Professor X insists on impeding their mission of getting Laura across the border in order to get a decent kip), and how exactly this segment is relevant to the plot is even more so. Anyway, haven’t we seen this exact same sequence of events, where a family of farmers takes Logan in and are subsequently killed by the organisation in pursuit, in X-Men Origins: Wolverine?
10. It Goes Overboard With Subtext
One way in which Logan differs from its cape-wearing predecessors is via its use of subtext. Director James Mangold acknowledges that dramas don’t explain away everything bluntly, and that the audience can infer backstory and plot points without having it spoon-fed to them. Unfortunately, Mangold applies this logic a little too frequently, and a little too intensely, so not enough information is actually given to the audience.
Half of the world-building is kept at arm’s length from us, hushed up as a stylistic choice or briefly mentioned in passing, such as the power of Professor X’s seizures. For example, the car radio implies that many mutants died after the Professor had a seizure at his school. Did you miss that? We don’t blame you.
9. Cookie-Cutter Evil Government
In Logan, our protagonists are on the run from the evil corporation Essex Corp. They’re a governmental organization devoted to creating an army of mutant clones.They’re captained by a scene-chewing Donald Pierce, who’s as one-dimensional as villains come, and masterminded by Dr. Zander Rice, an enigmatic figure who’s not given much time to make an impact on the film. That’s pretty much it.
Wolverine already faced off against a similarly sketchy mutant experimentation corporation in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, so the company’s inclusion in Logan must find a way to make its existence worthwhile.
The characterization of the villains and faceless henchman, called Reavers, however, offer very little to combat their redundancy. We understand that the film is a character piece focused on Logan, but more attention should have been afforded to the villains in order to stand out from standard blockbuster fare.
8. Caliban Is Wasted
For much of Logan, only four mutants are present, and it’s assumed that these comprise the majority of the last mutants left on Earth. While Wolverine, X-23, and Professor X are each given an appropriate amount of screentime, Stephen Merchant’s Caliban gets the short end of the stick. His scenes are few and far between, leaving the audience to wonder just what the point of his inclusion in the film was.
The film could have studied his character in order to examine in depth the state of mutants in 2029, and their sentiments towards their seemingly inevitable extinction, but instead Caliban is used as a plot device in order for Essex Corp. to pursue the protagonists. Nobody cares about his sacrifice, because we never really get to know Caliban in the first place.
7. Inconsistent With The X-Men Saga
Logan is no doubt a fresh and different take on the superhero genre, a black sheep of the X-Men series. There are no doubt advantages to this: it’s excitingly unique and doesn’t conform to the conventions of its genre. Yet this poses a problem too: the consistency of the franchise. Previous entries in the X-Men saga have maintained a consistent style, stuffing the films full of action while never taking it too seriously.
Logan, however, is entirely different. It’s moody, heavy, and light on humor. Sure, it’s fitting of Wolverine’s character, but his previous outings in X-Men Origins: Wolverine and The Wolverine marks Logan as inconsistent and confusing when the series is observed linearly.
For example, it’s much like Ridley Scott making a new entry in the Alien saga that’s focused solely on comedy. Therefore it’s not hard to argue that as an X-Men movie, Logan fails, simply because it’s nothing like one.
6. Struggles To Stick To A Genre
While other superhero movies have largely been very assured in what tone they’re going for, Logan has not. It’s mired in the No-Man’s Land between drama and popcorn flick, and thus flip-flops between genres in a way that can feel unnatural.
It begins as a gritty drama that tackles heavy themes, but, by the end of the film, child mutants are using seismic powers, flames, and ice to defeat the Reavers. These powers are so outlandish that they could never take place in the world that the tone of Logan establishes, so there’s a tricky gap between the believable and the unbelievable that the film fails to bridge.
It’s hard to take examinations on mortality and guardianship seriously when kids are using grass and soundwaves to defeat their foes, giving the impression that Logan is a film that tries to be more serious and mature than it can manage.
5. X-24 Is A Generic Big Baddie
Is there any villain more overused in superhero films than that of the evil clone? We don’t mean “clone” as in a literal clone, but rather, a character that is the exact opposite to the hero, while bearing many similarities in design. Iron Man, Ant-Man, Man of Steel, and Thor have each followed this trope, and for all of Logan’s efforts to separate itself from its superhero genre, it can’t quite escape it.
We’ve even seen Logan face an adamantium-clawed villain, Lady Deathstrike, in X2: X-Men United, but this didn’t stopped the filmmakers from putting X-24 in the movie. X-24 is Logan’s meaner, more aggressive clone, though this is pretty much all we can make of his character.
He’s a primeval, feral beast, so his one-dimensionality isn’t without reason, but his character seems like an afterthought, a figure designed to be the main source of conflict at the expense of plausibility. In the realistic world of grit and desperation that Logan creates, X-24 sticks out like a sore thumb.
4. Unoriginal Fight Scenes
Logan’s action sequences are few and far between– more emphasis is placed on developing and understanding its characters. So, when an action sequence does begin, there’s extra expectancy for the scene to deliver.
The first act’s showstopper, where Laura lets loose on a bunch of Reavers before the protagonists narrowly escape via an intense car chase certainly packs the punch audiences were expecting. However, we can only watch so much of Logan and co. slashing things up and impaling heads and chests before it becomes less brutal and more exhausting.
In truth, there’s very little invention on screen with Logan’s fight sequences. They’re simple slash-em-ups that don’t change in terrain or dynamics, leading to a rather dull affair. The final fight, for example, has Logan face his clone, but there’s not much in the way of diversity to separate itself from their prior fight. The fights aren’t necessarily poorly choreographed, but they are certainly underwhelming considering the potential for R-rated Wolverine mayhem.
3. No Memorable Set Piece
When you think of the X-Men series, certain scenes spring to mind from each film. For example, X-Men: First Class has the moment when Magneto lifts a submarine out of the ocean, X-Men: Days of Future Past contains that now-iconic Quicksilver scene, and X2: X-Men United opens with a brilliant Nightcrawler sequence.
Logan, however, runs low on memorable moments. There’s no huge sequence or spectacle, and so there’s very little to remember Logan by.
Sure, the film is intentionally toned down and non-flashy, but dramas, too, have moments that are used to remember them by. Think of the monologue in Paris, Texas, for example. None of Logan’s scenes contain the intense emotional heft, sharp dialogue, or spellbinding action that stick out and are easily remembered.
2. Botches The Final Fight
While Logan plays host to a series of forgettable action sequences, it flounders its most important one: the final fight. This is what the film has been building up to, as Logan faces his demons– represented by X-24– while Laura and the other child mutants look on.
Wait… what? Logan faces X-24 alone, despite the fact that the other mutants are established to be capable of fighting off the bad guys. Instead, the inane plot decision is made to have each and every one of them target Donald Pierce, in an odd moment of heavy CGI that clashes with the realism that Logan strives for.
Of course, an argument could be made that this represents Logan having to fight his demons alone, but the film isn’t metaphorical or surreal enough for that to work. Logan inevitably dies in a situation that could have easily been prevented with a little help.
The fight itself is not exactly exciting, and Laura’s intervention is less to save Logan and more to save the audience from becoming too restless. As far as final fights go, Logan’s is one of the weakest in the X-Men series.
1. Logan And Laura’s Relationship Isn’t Believable
At the end of Logan, a moment of intended catharsis occurs, where Laura calls Logan “Daddy” as he’s dying. It’s meant to be the moving culmination of two hours of character interaction, as we watch Logan and Laura’s relationship change and develop. Unfortunately, the moment feels unearned, and the only reason the scene itself is moving is because Hugh Jackman’s long career as Wolverine is coming to an end.
The main problem lies in the fact that the relationship between Logan and X-23 isn’t built up enough. The film focuses too much on side plots, video exposition, and Logan himself, and thus is a good two or three conversational moments between the two characters short of making their relationship believable.
For all of the focus on the relationship during Logan’s final moments, the “Daddy” dialogue feels totally out-the-blue, attempting to substantiate a father-daughter relationship that was barely existent beforehand.
Do you agree that Logan was overrated? Are there any other elements that bothered you? Let us know in the comments.
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