Friday, June 2, 2017

Logan Blu-ray Review

Reviewed by Sean Ferguson
Twentieth Century Fox brings Hugh Jackman’s celebrated seventeen-year run as Wolverine to a close with the the box office phenomenon Logan. Sir Patrick Stewart (X-Men: Days of Future Past, "Star Trek: The Next Generation"), Stephen Merchant ("Hello Ladies," "The Office"), Boyd Holbrook ("Narcos") and newcomer Dafne Keen join Jackman in the iconic character’s final chapter, directed by James Mangold (The Wolverine, Walk the Line). In the near future, a weary Logan (Hugh Jackman) cares for an ailing Professor X (Patrick Stewart) in a hideout on the Mexican border. But Logan’s attempts to hide from the world and his legacy are upended when a young mutant (Dafne Keen) arrives, being pursued by dark forces. In addition to nearly 90 minutes of original content, including deleted scenes and a behind-the-scenes documentary, this Blu-ray also includes Logan Noir, a black and white version of the film that gives the acclaimed story an all-new look.
Film (5 out of 5 stars)
After playing the X-Man Wolverine for seventeen years, Hugh Jackman wanted to close out his time with a bang. And what a bang it is as Logan is easily the most deeply felt film in the X-Men cinematic universe. Along for the ride is my second favorite X-Man, Professor Xavier, Patrick Stewart in a powerful performance. After the critical and commercial success of their last collaboration The Wolverine, both Jackman and director James Mangold only wanted to do another movie if they could do it better than the previous ones and with an R rating this time. Jackman even took less money do make this film just to get the R rating which allowed for more adult themes and more realistic violence.  

Set in 2029, we jump to a future where mutants are pretty much extinct and Logan struggles to survive by making money as a limo driver while he takes care of an ailing Professor X whose neurological issues have been dangerous for everyone around them as his formidable mind powers are unchecked and deadly. Logan is assisted by Caliban (Stephen Merchant) who warns Logan that his help will be rendered obsolete because he can't deal with Xavier's powers. Only Logan has the strength to withstand the mental effects of Xavier's mind when he's off his meds or has a seizure. Logan however, has his own problems as his adamantium coated skeleton is poising him and his legendary healing powers have been pretty much wiped out.

When Gabriela Lopez (Elizabeth Rodriguez), a nurse from the biotech company Transigen hires Logan to drive her and and an eleven year old girl named Laura (Daphne Keen) to a safe haven, he accepts the job out of desperation but makes it clear that he wants no part in their troubles. His days of being a hero are long gone. When Gabriela is murdered by Transigen's Donald Pierce's (Boyd Holbrook) mercenaries known as the Reavers, Logan and Laura barely escape and Logan learns that Laura is as lethal as he is and she has the same claws and abilities as him. Logan later learns that Laura was part of Transigen's X-23 project that had the company breeding mutant children from stolen DNA. After the successfully completing the next step in their plans with the X-24 project, Dr. Zander Rice (Richard E. Grant) then ordered the euthanization of the children which is what led them to Laura. Now on the run from Transigen and being tracked by a captured Caliban and his mutant tracking ability, Logan, Xavier, and Laura begin a cross country trek to evade their hunters. 

I loved this film and I believe that this is Hugh Jackman's best performance period. His long running performance as Logan/Wolverine is one for the history books. There's very few other actors who have played a character so successfully as long as he did. In fact, only Sean Connery, Roger Moore, and William Shatner and his Star Trek cast come to mind. It's an extremely rare achievement and Jackman makes the most of his final appearance in this film. He gets to play just about every emotion and reveals every aspect of the character's long and conflicted history and the motivations that are derived from that. Logan has long been an ambiguous character as sometimes he's a hero and others an anti-hero. This film brings both sides together to a satisfying conclusion.

Patrick Stewart's performance is also incredible he conveys a proud man spiraling our of control and unable to do anything about it. For a man like Xavier who was not only a gifted leader, but who could control anything and anyone with his mind, the loss of that ability and his inability to control himself is heartbreaking. Dafne Keen is a revelation as the heir apparent to Wolverine, She is tough, ferocious, and funny all at once. This unlikely family road trip about some dangerous but well intentioned mutants is fantastic. James Mangold keeps the tone from getting too sentimental or too nihilistic and he leads the character to an appropriate resolution. While this film may be considered too dark or depressing for some people, I really enjoyed the more adult themes and direction that Mangold and Jackman went for. This is a fitting end to Jackman's farewell to the character and I'm very thankful for all that he's contributed to all of the X-Men films as he's been the best part of each one. 
Video (5 out of 5 stars)
This 1080p (2.38:1) transfer is one of the best I've seen in awhile. I was lamenting that I couldn't get a 4K Ultra HD copy to review, but this transfer looks as good as some of the 4K discs I've seen. Detail is super sharp and the colors are all appropriate and deliberately vary depending on the film's environment. The black levels are deep and solid which really helps the Logan Noir version. Speaking of the black and white version of the film, it looks striking but I don't get the new trend of stripping out the color from the films. Apparently a lot of people like it since Mad Max: Fury Road did it and now Logan has done it as well. It makes for a very distinct experience, but I think you lose something when the color has been drained out of it. I think a film should be presented in the original format it was filmed in so this backwards trend seems counter-productive to me. I'm sure that some people will appreciate it though, so it's nice that we've been given both versions. 
Audio (5 out of 5 stars)
Logan's DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 track is also extremely good and it's a very immersive one that really delivers the action and effects well. The surround activity is well placed and accurate and it all sounds fantastic. From gunfire to Wolverine's roars and Xavier's mind blasts, this is one mix that really steps up to the plate. Dialogue is clear and Marco Beltrami's score is blended well with the rest of the soundscape. This is a mix that will make fans very happy.
Extras (4 1/2 out of 5 stars)
On the surface, this set doesn't look like it offers a lot in the extras department but that's deceptive as it delivers quality over quantity. My only complaint is that Hugh Jackman didn't participate in the audio commentary which would have been great to have. This set offers the theatrical cut of the film, the black and white version Logan Noir, the DVD version of the film, and a digital copy of the film. All of the extras are in high definition. 
  • Deleted Scenes - A collection of deleted scenes that also feature optional commentary by director James Mangold. I wouldn't have minded some of these being in the film, but Mangold makes a convincing argument on why they were cut. 
  • Making Logan - At over an hour long, this is the meat an potatoes of the special features and my favorite extra included. This is a collection of featurettes that can be watched all at once with a play all option. These featurettes cover pretty much the entire spectrum of the film from it's genesis to the production of it and we hear from all of the major players including Mangold and Jackman as well as other cast and crew. 
  • Audio Commentary - An informative commentary by director James Mangold who talks about teh film and his approach and hopes for it. He also talks about how he tried to make Logan different from all of the other superhero films. 
  • Logan Noir - The black and white version of the film. 
  • DVD copy of the film 
  • Digital Copy of the film 
  • Theatrical Trailers
Summary (5 out of 5 stars)
Logan is a fantastic movie that brilliantly closes the chapter on one of the best cinematic superheroes we've had. The cast led by the inimitable Hugh Jackman are all incredible in this movie and it's a fitting end to close out the series. This Blu-ray offers stunning video and audio quality and the special features are excellent as well. This is a very easy set to recommend! 

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