Logan/Logan Noir Blu-ray Review

Logan was a bold way to send off Hugh Jackman’s portrayal of Wolverine, in an R-rated mature final adventure. The Blu-ray also includes the much discussed Logan Noir version in black and white. It’s a great package that gives you everything you loved about Logan and more.

In color, Logan looks as great as it did in theaters. It’s new and sharp and crisp. The look goes from dry brown desert to nighttime farmland to the lush forest finale, and you see all the detail in Logan’s scars.

There’s really no difference between Logan Noir and turning off the color yourself, except they put an old 20th Century Fox logo and a Cinemascope logo in front of the movie. But did Logan Noir really need its own disc?

I wasn’t as impressed watching Logan Noir as I was seeing Mad Max: Fury Road in black and white. Logan still looks digital. You can’t change that, so it’s not really like an old Hollywood classic. Black and white also numbs some of the graphic violence so I wonder if Logan Noir could’ve gotten a PG-13. At least it’s all included in one package, rather than wait like Fury Road.

Director James Mangold gives an in-depth commentary on the themes of the film, casting, the freedom to explore grown up ideas, down to the minutiae of shooting schedule for specific natural light. He does point out the difference between lighting in black and white versus color.

Mangold gives instructions for how to read any film using signposts early and late in the film. I agree with him about the impact of green screen on the audience.  He also refutes the take that Logan is dystopian. It’s not. It’s just real.

Among seven minutes of deleted scenes, the most shocking is a mutant child telepathically killing soldiers. They deserve it but it’s ballsy.

The behind the scenes runs 76 minutes. It’s in depth but my biggest takeaway is what scenes were soundstage a with a blue screen background. The parking lot outside was cgi. The fight section is best with all the details of x-24 doubling and giving Laura foot blades that work.

Logan Review: It’s X-cellent

Wolverine is back in a movie that’s not for kids. Logan is Rated R, but the R-rating is not a gimmick. Logan is truly a grown up movie that will pay off fans who grew up with Wolverine and X-men movies, but also just reward audiences who are at a stage where they too are reflecting on their lives, with or without adamantium claws.

In 2029, mutants are old news. There haven’t been any new mutants born since the last generation at Xavier (Patrick Stewart)’s school, so it’s a Children of Men for mutants. Logan (Hugh Jackman) is just trying to keep Xavier safe and secluded when Gabriela (Elizabeth Rodriguez) comes looking for him. She pays him to take her and Laura (Dafne Keen) across the border, but Laura was part of a mutant experiment. Donald Pierce (Boyd Holbrook)’s men want their experiment back so Logan has to take Xavier and Laura on the road.

Fans have been waiting 17 years, really for decades since reading the comics, to see the full impact of Wolverine on screen. Previous movies kept the stabbing out of frame, and many were artfully done, but the fights in Logan are the berserk scenes they’ve been waiting for. You not only see graphic kill shots, but you see the tips of the claws come out the other side.

But when the villains commit violence on innocents, it hurts more too. Perhaps we’ve grown to accept collateral damage in action movies, despite any outcry over superhero destruction. Making the battle more than just people falling down gives it the weight and stakes that have been missing from many movies.

Best of all, director James Mangold gives Logan permission to not just be set piece after set piece. The action is the best of the series, but some of the best parts are the moments they find during long stretches on the road where characters are forced to deal with each other. Logan is about a world that’s tired of mutants. How do you care for a convalescent with mutant telepathy that enables him to resist? X-Men comics now exist in this world but if you’ve actually lived it, how would you feel about publishers turning your life into children’s stories?

There’s even a whole subplot where Logan, Charles and Laura stay with a family of farmers for a night and have a Nowhere to Run adventure with the locals. The Van Damme movie wasn’t the first to do that “loner helps locals fight corrupt city folks” either but it’s a quaint little story for a superhero movie. Really, it’s the western archetype of “mysterious stranger saves the farm but can’t stay” and it’s no secret Mangold was making a western. If the dusty desert locations didn’t give it away, other Western homages are specific and overt, and well suited for this take on a superhero. Logan remains a loner, a reluctant hero at best and he still won’t be happy about helping.

After the farm interlude, Logan spends the entire third act in a white undershirt. That’s the Wolverine we really want to see. This is Jackman’s best performance, his most animalistic yet full of regret and reservations.

If this is the last time Jackman plays Wolverine, it is certainly his best movie. Famous last words though, maybe he’ll want to explore the freedom the R rating gave him even more, or at least play a part in other X-men’s movies the way Stewart did for him. Logan would be hard to top though, so if Jackman’s tenure as Wolverine has to end here, he’s going out on top.

Franchise Fred Review – X-Men: Apocalypse

I seem to like all the X-Men movies that the fans hate. Maybe if I had a longstanding attachment to the specific characters, I would have the same issues. But as a casual fan of superhero movies, I liked The Last Stand. It told a story of a team more so than individuals, but that made it easier to connect with than the sprawling ensemble of the comics. Plus, I didn’t know Dark Phoenix or Rogue’s canon stories so I had no expectations.

Now I loved X-Men: Apocalype, but not just for the team aspect. I was much more into the individual characters of Apocalypse too. First Class is still my favorite by far, but Apocalypse gives the First Class plenty to do, where they were somewhat sidelined by Wolverine in Days of Future Past. There’s splenty of Charles (James McAvoy), Erik (Michael Fassbender), Quicksilver (Evan Peters), a little less Raven (Jennifer Lawrence) but still quite a bit.  Jean Grey (Sophie Turner) and Cyclops (Tye Sheridan) make their debut as young mutants, capturing some of the spirit of First Class letting us rediscover our favorite mutants for the first time. I have no expectations of Apocalypse so I can’t be disappointed in him.

It also seems my favorite X-Men movies are the ones with less Wolverine. I remember this from my days reading comics, I always found Wolverine the least interesting character of all the X-Men. I love Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, but the character never appealed to me when I read comics. Jackman has made him a cinematic legend, but you can’t get around that when he’s starring in an X-Men movie, it’s hard to give anyone else a juicy story. Wolverine’s power is to heal and he has giant claws. How is that more interesting than mutants who can control the weather or teleport? And his character, the volatile loner always seemed fairly one dimensional to me. He was tortured, but so was John Rambo and Logan is no Rambo.

The Last Stand might have had the least Wolverine-centric story of any Wolverine-starring X-Men movie. He’s certainly the center of X2 and Days of Future Past. He’s still right up in there in The Last Stand but he’s forced to team up and other storylines are divvied up more, so I am noticing a pattern. Look, Wolvy is always welcome for a cameo and they don’t come much better than his First Class appearance, but I was pleased to see another movie about the First Class this time.

There is even a franchise joke that you might think was catering to Franchise Fred. Some of the young mutants catch a movie that was popular in 1983 and have a brief meta discussion of trilogies. While it’s nice and self-deprecating, it’s a little too obvious for Franchise Fred. Nice try, though.

I don’t think Bryan Singer is the director that Matthew Vaughn is, but Vaughn doesn’t do sequels so what can I do? I got my First Class and this is the closest to a new adventure with the First Class cast that isn’t trying to be another Wolverine movie. X-Men: Apocalypse puts the focus on the students at Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters, with a little development of the teachers as well.

Rumor: SPIDER-MAN To Appear In Phase 3 MCU? What Of X-MEN?

The guys over at Latino-Review seem confident that we’ll be seeing Spider-Man in the Phase 3 Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).

If you’re not really aware of what’s going on backstage, let me enlighten you a bit.


Back in the 80’s-90’s, Marvel was doing really bad as a company. Many of their major artists were leaving to a new companies like Image and Valiant and gimmicky comic book issues (aka hologram covers, paper bag covers, variant covers, etc.) were getting old and expensive. So in a desperation move to save the company, Marvel sold the rights to their biggest franchises to Fox. This includes X-Men, Fantastic Four, Wolverine, Deadpool, etc. Marvel also sold the Spider-Man rights to Sony.


Real collectors got all 4 covers of the same comic!


Yes, this cover was made from a paper bag...

Yes, this cover was made from a paper bag…

Fast forward a bunch of years and movies later, Spider-Man as established itself in the movie world, X-Men had at least 3 movies in their X-Belt, and the Marvel Cinematic Universe was starting to make an impact. Unfortunately, with the movie rights of the more iconic characters in other studios’ hands, it was impossible for a crossover unless a deal was made. At the time, Sony and Fox had an iron grip on their franchises and it appeared they were never letting go.

Credit: The Geek Twins

Credit: The Geek Twins

Now, here in the present, the MCU is becoming the movie juggernaut. All of the MCU movies had this…intertwining that few movie franchises ever had. There was continuity within the MCU. And people loved it. Not only that, the movies themselves were written well, directed well, and made their money back in spades. Even the not-so-popular MCU character movies were watched, just to see the continuity connections.


Marvel was back, in a big way.


But Marvel wanted their franchises back from Sony and Fox. Sony decided to start playing nice and in the leaked Sony hack, it appears as though they’ve reached a deal, though nothing was certain.


But the guys at Latino-Review seem to think so. Not only do they think this is going to happen, they are already predicting Spider-Man to show up in the already-announced Avengers: Infinity War. They even go on to surmise that Captain America will, in fact, die (as he did in the comic book universe).


But is this true? It certainly seems as though Sony could benefit from a deal with Marvel and there are news bits out there confirming a 25% inclusion should there ever be a Spider-Man in the MCU.


But what about Fox? Are they planning on giving up the X?


Sources say this relationship is no bueno. So much so that Marvel is putting the kibosh on merchandising rights by disallowing X-Men, Deadpool, Fantastic Four, and Wolverine toys to be created (has anyone seen these things recently?). Marvel has even started to “kill off” their beloved characters in an attempt to squeeze out Fox to make a deal.

Deadpool-leaked-test-footagewolverine black

But will Marvel and Fox ever make up? Will Marvel get back its house in this bloody divorce? Discuss.