Courtney Howard is a LAFCA, OFCS and AWFJ member, as well as a Rotten Tomatometer-approved film critic. Her work has been published on Variety, She Knows and Awards Circuit.
Courtney Howard // Film Critic
For almost a decade, X-MEN cinematic universe fans have been teased countless times that they will be getting a darker, more berserker version of a Wolverine stand-alone. We’ve seen these features – X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE, THE WOLVERINE – come and go, but it looks as if director James Mangold has finally, FINALLY gotten it right with LOGAN. This rated-R iteration embraces the rage and violence necessary to tell a proper Wolverine story – and thank heavens it’s something star Hugh Jackman was fully on board with as well.
At the film’s presentation where we viewed the first 42 minutes of the (then) unfinished film on the Fox Lot this past December, the affable director said it was his goal to,
…do something very different. We both felt like we made the last movie and we also felt like there are a slew of comic book/ superhero movies and I’m exhausted watching those. My concern making one was not only I wanna like what I make, but I also want to be excited by what I make. I wanted to make a film that’s built on the drama first.
When I came to the studio, I said, ‘What if we made essentially LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE with Marvel characters and violence?’ Believe it or not, they let me. It came from a desire to make a film about relationships, between Charles Xavier and Logan, and Logan and Laura [Kinney/ X-23], a new arrival. I wanted to make a movie about family and love. He’s been seen pushing away relationships and intimacy – and, if this is going to be the last film for Hugh, I needed to push those issues to the fore.
On top of that, we felt people had been dying to see this clawed character unleashed in terms of the physical action. That’s something you’ll be confronted with very quickly when you watch this.
As for the more adult rating, Mangold said,
We made a movie that isn’t worried about what I could get past the ratings board. In many ways, it’s not only about the violence or the language, it’s a movie for adults. From the script up, with my collaborators, I tried to build a world that feels like it’s real – like these characters exist in our world instead of it catapulting our minds to a plastic universe they live in.
After her introduction, you’ll find out Dafne Keen is the real discovery. The pint-sized actress literally SLAYS. Mangold said the search for her stretched far and wide.
I needed an eleven-year-old girl who was a great fighter and a brilliant actress. That reduced the bandwidth of who we could consider for the role pretty severely. We searched around the world and this young woman, we found in Madrid. She’s really a revelation.
Here’s the official synopsis:
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.
From the 42 minutes of unfinished footage we were treated to, I could tell it’s going to be a kick ass film. It begins in Texas where Logan is tasked to kick the asses of a few guys trying to jack his car. He goes into full berserker mode and it absolutely wowed me. You guys, I got goosebumps – a rarity in films like this. But the goose-bump giving didn’t end there as they returned when Laura fights alongside Logan.
The other aspect of note is that Logan’s pursuant is Donald Pierce (played by Boyd Holbrook, whose presence intimidates), a mechanical-armed baddie who’s out to track down Laura. Why? Because in a world where there’s been no mutants born in the past 25 years (cough, cough. a la CHILDREN OF MEN), she’s the youngest mutant alive. She’s got adamantium claws just like Logan and she’s just as big of a badass as he is.
LOGAN opens on March 3.