Film Review: “Logan” (2017)

“Logan” stands out ahead of most comic book films as a real human story told through the unique perspective of a beloved comic book character

Review of Hugh Jackman’s final portrayal of the character that made him an international star

By Carter Bagley

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I’ve always loved superhero films and I grew up watching “Spider-Man” and “X2: United” and those were some of the earliest films I remember really loving and being obsessed about. The X-men franchise has been steadily releasing films throughout my entire childhood and I remember being extremely excited about each one. I will say that it hasn’t cuaiczwueaaid_w-jpg-large.jpgall been perfect and there’s been many lows (I’m looking at you “X-Men: The Last Stand” and “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”) but there’s been some incredible films to come out this series. Films like “X2: United”, “X-Men: First Class” and “X-Men: Days of Future Past” are truly great. If there was one thing that has always worked in the series however, was Hugh Jackman’s portrayal of Wolverine. Unlike some comic book movies where the actors are clearly phoning it in for a paycheck, Jackman has always given his all to this amazing character and he’s been playing him for 17 years now. He’s getting older and him and director James Mangold decided to team up one last time to give a proper send off to this character. The movies have always been PG-13 and marketed towards kids and teenage audiences but this film is definitely not. If you know anything about the comic books you would know that the character of Wolverine is a complicated one. He’s aggressive, strong and reclusive but has an obvious vulnerability to him. He’s a character that has encountered so much pain in his life and he’s bottled it up and separated himself from everyone he cares about. Though there’s one thing about him, he can become very scary when he’s angry. This film is interesting in a way that Wolverine whose real name is Logan is old now. It takes place in the near future and mutants have pretty much gone extinct. Logan is taking care of his mentor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) who is very old and sickly and is one of the only soft spots left inside Logan. He’s addicted to alcohol and isn’t healing properly like he used to and he wants to live out his days working as a limo driver and taking care of Charles. This changes however when a little girl named Laura comes to the attention of Charles and Logan. Charles who used to teach mutants wants to help this girl who he says is special and powerful but Logan being the old selfish man he is refuses. When an army of men come after her however they realize how powerful and important this young girl really is and Logan agrees to help her out. “Logan” is not like any other superhero film I’ve ever seen. In many ways it transcends the genre and becomes an indie film at parts or a western and that’s what makes it so brilliant. Hugh Jackman is amazing in the film and so is Patrick Stewart and you feel for these two characters more than you have in any other X-Men film yet. The R rating really works for this film because you get to see the pure animalistic side to Wolverine in a way we haven’t experienced yet. The action is incredible and bloody and brutal and Jackman takes it to the extreme in almost every scene. The little girl played by newcomer Dafne Keen is an interesting character as well and the little girl gives a very impressive performance. Boyd Holbrook also gives a great and intimidating performance as the main villain. “Logan” is exciting and perfectly directed by James Mangold and it’s filled with insane action, award-worthy performances and enough emotion to invest people who wouldn’t normally be interested in these kinds of films. This film marks the end of an era and the beginning of a new type of superhero film at the same time, and years from now I could easily see people look back on “Logan” as a very important and classic film in the genre.

Rating: 9.5/10

Film Review: “The Magnificent Seven” (2016)

“The Magnificent Seven” is a funny and action-packed adventure that’s downright fun entertainment

American Graffiti’s review of Antoine Fuqua’s remake of the classic western “The Magnificent Seven”

By Carter Bagley

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Right when I heard about this film being made I was immediately interested. Antoine Fuqua can be a very capable filmmaker when he wants to be and has made some great films like “Training Day” and “Southpaw”. Old westerns don’t always appeal to me but when they’re done right they can be very entertaining and memorable classics like “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly” and “Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid” or even recent ones like “3:10 To Yuma” or “Django Unchained”. When Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, and Ethan Hawke were then announced as the lead actors I became even more intrigued as Antoine Fuqua’s directing and the chemistry between Hawke and Washington was what made “Training Day” such a great character. That’s pretty much where the A-list star power ends though as the rest of the cast is either rounded out by newcomers (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo and Martin Sensmeier), rising stars (Haley Bennett, Matt Bomer, and Luke Grimes) or character actors (Vincent D’Onofrio, Peter Sarsgaard, and Byung-Hun Lee). The ┬ábasic premise of the film is much like the original with an old western town being magsevenposterthreatened by a bad man so they hire seven gunslingers to bring justice to the town. The plots been done numerous times over in films like Seven Samurai and various other films over time, although what separates this film from the original of the same name is the characters are different. Fuqua gathered a surprisingly ethnically diverse cast compared to most films made these days and also made it work into the story and the time period and I commend him for that. Denzel plays the lead role of Sam Chisolm and does an amazing job as he always does and is probably the character you care for the most. Whenever he’s in a film you just know he’s going to play a respectable badass character besides maybe a few roles. Chisolm is recruited by a lady named Emma Cullen (Bennett) to kill a man named Bartholomew Bogue who murdered her husband and took over her town. Chisolm then recruits the drunk gambler Josh Farraday (Pratt) to aid him in his mission if he pays to get Farraday’s horse back. They soon join with Chisolm’s old friend the ┬álegendary confederate sharpshooter nicknamed Goodnight (Hawke) and his good friend the assassin Billy Rocks (Lee) and soon the rest of the crew. After an awesome standoff they rally the town together to fight against Bogue’s army for control of their town. Chris Pratt plays a very similar character to those he’s played before but stills win you over with charisma and one-liners. Ethan Hawke actually brings a good presence to the film as his character deals with personal demons and insecurities and his relationship with Byung-Hun Lee’s character feels genuine. Vincent D’Onofrio is always very entertaining as well as he plays the quirky, and grizzly tracker Jack Horne and actually steals quite a few scenes because he’s just outrageously over the top at many parts. The real actor to talk about here though is Sarsgaard as Bogue. Peter Sarsgaard is very seedy and disturbingly wicked as this corrupt man who’s trying to control America’s blossoming industry. He was a surprisingly memorable villain for a film like this and surprised me. On the bad side however a few of the characters got little to no development. Manuel Garcia-Rulfo plays the mexican outlaw named Vasquez and although we’re told he’s a lot of trouble and a notorious outlaw it never really shows us this. The Comanche Warrior character named Red Harvest (Sensmeier) had a handful of badass fighting scenes but in the end I knew completely nothing about the character. There were also a few moments in the film where I found myself asking “Wait..what?” and it never really got explained. It mentions and builds up anticipation for Chisolm’s motives for killing Bogue then at the end the reveal in kinda disappointing and not worth it. Other than that though the film was a funny and action-packed adventure is downright pure fun entertainment. I think if you’re a fan of westerns or action-adventures in general you’ll definitely find some entertainment in “The Magnificent Seven”.

Rating: 7.5/10