The year is 2029 and the X-Men are essentially a thing of the past. No, this isn’t the state of a post-superhero fatigue movie industry, but Logan, an exciting and unique remedy to that superhero fatigue. Right? Not exactly.
Much has been touted of Logan’s grittiness, but the truth is that the film is so preoccupied with maintaining its image of a rugged, sombre superhero flick unlike, anything we’ve seen before, that it forsakes any notion of basic storytelling. The plot, a relatively simple outrun-the-government narrative, is thrusted by chunky exposition delivered through a phone video. This is in keeping with Logan’s wildly inconsistent method of informing its audience. The film is prone to obvious dialogue, characters reinstating what we already know in order to make sure everyone’s caught up…yet half of the world-building is kept at arm’s length from us, director James Mangold obviously believing that a ‘mature’ drama like Logan must have information hushed up, going overboard with sub-context to the point where the film barely gives its audience anything to work with. So we’re aware of the emotional torment of Professor X and Wolverine, but are frustratingly disconnected from it.
And let’s talk about that emotional torment. Wolverine’s emotional baggage is only outmatched by the baggage of the plot; Logan is an intimidating 141 minutes, bloated by a second-act stretch riddled with convolutions before petering out in an underwhelming finale. Yet, despite the considerable amount of time afforded to these characters, the catharsis Logan sorely seeks goes missing, owing to the film’s insistence on forcing drama rather than letting it reveal itself. Director James Mangold doesn’t so much evoke emotion as ram it down your throat, and so the only emotional torment that actually gets through to the worn-down audience is one of boredom.