Tag Archives: James Mangold

Logan (Film)

Logan is the tenth instalment of the X-Men film franchise and marks Hugh Jackman’s final portrayal of Wolverine. He’s played the iconic character for seventeen years. That’s a long fucking time. I saw X-Men in the theaters when I was fifteen, just after my freshman year of high school. I went to college, I moved around a bit, worked a few jobs, and now I’m thirty-one with a couple of kids and a mortgage. Hugh Jackman as Wolverine was there for all of that. Ok, I don’t have kids or a mortgage, but I could if I didn’t live in San Francisco.

Hollywood has gone crazy with remakes and sequels and reboots and prequels. On the big screen alone I have seen three Spider-Mans, three Supermans, three Punishers, five Batmans, but there has only been one Wolverine. Logan is the perfect way to say goodbye to him. 

I realize that I haven’t actually talked about the movie yet. By now I’m sure you’ve heard that it’s good. It is good. I hear lots of comparisons to Deadpool because they are both R-rated and do justice to their comic book counterparts. I think it’s a better film than that Deadpool. It has more heart, more weight, more to say. It’s a more complex movie for a more complex character. Deadpool is great. Logan is better. X2 was easily my favorite X-Men movie… now it just might be Logan. That’s a bold statement. 

Props to Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart as Charles Xavier, and especially to Dafne Keen as Laura/X-23. I’m not a fan of child actors, but Keen’s performance was on par with Jackman and Stewart. Anything less would have derailed the film. James Mangold directed one hell of a film. I wouldn’t be surprised if it won a couple of Oscars. It’s a legitimate film. Check it out, it’s the end of an era and it deserves to be recognized.

Critically Rated at 16/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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The Wolverine (film)

Hugh Jackman returns to his iconic role as Logan/Wolverine in 2013’s The Wolverine. It’s directed by James Mangold, the same guy who wrote and directed Walk the Line. He knows how to make a dramatic, Oscar-worthy film. Too bad this is supposed to be an action flick and his directing style drags the film down. It’s a sequel of sorts to X-Men: The Last Stand and you get to see how Logan is handling the death of Jean Grey. The answer is not well. He’s living in the woods, keeps to himself, and dreams about Jean every night. He’s lost his way and has become a broken soldier. All this changes when a mutant precog named Yukio tracks Logan down and brings him to Japan.

It turns out Logan was summoned there by a guy named Yashida, a former Japanese soldier that Logan saved during World War II. Yashida is now the dying CEO of a huge company and he wants to pay his life debt to Logan before he succumbs to cancer. Yashida offers to transfer Logan’s healing abilities into his own body to alleviate him of the curse of immortality. Logan refuses and Yashida passes away. A few days later a few members of the Yakuza try to kidnap Yashida’s granddaughter, Mariko, at the funeral. Logan must protect Mariko and find out who tried to kidnap her and why. Only Logan must do it without his trademark healing abilities, which have mysteriously stopped working at that point.

It turns into your stereotypical chase/whodunit movie at that point. It’s like The Bourne Identity. A guy with superior fighting skills and a pretty girl on the run and hiding out from bad guys, they’re trying to solve a mystery and falling for each other at the same time. There’s a lot of unnecessarily sappy dialog and the dramatic scenes slow down the pace to a crawl. The film gets boring. And a film about mutants, particularly the most badass mutant, should never be boring. Having Logan lose his healing powers was a big mistake. It’s so pointless to have a superhero lose his powers. It doesn’t add any tension. You know that he’s going to get them back eventually.

The action scenes are decent, but I expected them to be a lot better. It doesn’t seem like an X-Men movie. There needs to be more spectacle. The best action sequence was the fight on top of the bullet train. The climactic battle was a bit of a let down as well. All in all this is an adequate action film, but a disappointing superhero film. It’s just kind of meh.

Critically Rated at 11/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Walk the Line (film)

Walk the Line is a 2005 biopic about Johnny Cash. Joaquin Phoenix plays Johnny Cash, Reese Witherspoon plays June Carter, and James Mangold directs the film. The film follows the generic Hollywood biopic formula. It starts with the tragic childhood event that changes Johnny’s life forever, then on his early formative years as he hones his talent and finds his persona, then his breakout moment and how he adjusts to his celebrity, then the dark years, then the recovery and ultimate redemption, and then the movie ends on a happy note just before the credits roll. I remember liking this movie a lot when it was in theaters. Everybody was talking about it for weeks and weeks before I finally caved in and bought a ticket, watched it, and loved it. I bought two Johnny Cash albums on the way home. I knew who Cash was before the movie, but I didn’t really discover him until I saw it. This movie introduced me to Cash and I’ll be forever grateful for that, but I’ve realized with the passage of time that it’s a very flawed movie.

Joaquin Phoenix does a more than adequate job as Johnny Cash. He got all his mannerisms down pat, he even did his own singing. But I don’t want to hear Joaquin Phoenix singing. I want to hear Johnny Cash. Cash has a very distinct voice and Phoenix does not. If I’m watching a movie about Johnny Cash, I want to hear Johnny Cash, not karaoke covers. And Reese Witherspoon might be able to hit all the same notes as June Carter, but she sounds nothing like her at all. It’s kind of insulting to make a film about musicians and change the music.

The movie also insults the legend by completely ignoring half of his life. The movie ends with his engagement to June Carter. That was in 1968. Cash died in 2003 at the age of 71. That’s thirty-five years that they completely gloss over. What’s the point of making a movie about somebody’s life if you skip half of it? You could make a whole other movie about the stuff that they left out. They could make a fucking sequel. In fact, they should. Can we start crowdfunding Walk the Line II: Still Walking already?

Critically Rated at 7/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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