Action Blu-ray Review

'Logan' Blu-ray Review: X-Men, post-apocalypse

May 29, 2017Ben MK

No matter what roles Hugh Jackman has chosen to play in between X-Men movies, his connection with the superhero franchise has withstood the test of time. For seventeen years, the Australian actor's name has been synonymous with the character, and vice versa; but now, after nine turns as the tri-clawed hero, Jackman's journey as everyone's favorite Canadian mutant is finally coming to an end.

For better or worse, the X-Men series has become increasingly cartoonish, with last summer's X-Men: Apocalypse fully embracing the colorful costumes of its comic book origins. In contrast, Logan feels like an entirely different beast, with a dark and gritty tone that makes it easy to mistake it for part of DC's Cinematic Universe, as opposed to a movie that bears the Marvel stamp of approval. That being said, the film is far from dull, as it brings a whole new level of violence and brutality to the genre that would make even Deadpool himself stand up and take notice.

Set in 2029, in a grim near-future where mutantkind has been all but wiped out, the story finds its titular hero and his former mentor, Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart), living as recluses in the New Mexico desert, the former now turning to substance abuse to numb the pain from years of battle damage, and the latter now a 90-year-old suffering from a degenerative brain disorder that leaves him prone to terrible, psychic seizures. The pair find new purpose in life, however, when they become the protectors of a mysterious young girl named Laura (newcomer Dafne Keen).

Directed and co-written by James Mangold, the result serves as a fitting conclusion to a trilogy that began on shaky ground with 2009's X-Men Origins: Wolverine and continued — with more steady footing — into 2013's The Wolverine. Of the three, it's unequivocally the superior of the bunch, bringing Logan's arc to a violent, but also emotionally hard-hitting end. And although its final act veers dangerously close to the post-apocalyptic YA territory of such films as The Maze Runner, it's a serious contender for the best X-Men movie so far.

In many ways, the character of Logan is very much like Mad Max's Max Rockatansky, a point that's further emphasized by the inclusion of a black-and-white version of the movie, similar to the recently-released "Black & Chrome" edition of Mad Max: Fury Road. Otherwise, the regular, color version of Logan is top-flight, with its most noteworthy merits being the naturalistic and earth-toned visual palette (a rarity for the superhero genre) and the clarity with which grim details such as Logan's battle scars and the various, decaying environments are depicted. As for the audio, the movie is in large part driven by dialogue and a low-key score (another rarity for the genre), but where the disc's DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 sound mix shines is with the more action-oriented elements of the sound design, such as automatic weapons fire, brutal hand-to-hand combat, and violent impacts and explosions.

Fox's three-disc Blu-ray combo pack includes an iTunes/UltraViolet/Google Play digital copy, a DVD and the following Blu-ray extras:

  • Logan Noir (2:17:35) - The aforementioned black-and-white version of the movie, included here on its own separate Blu-ray disc.
  • Deleted Scenes (7:45) - Six scenes, playable with or without commentary by James Mangold ("Logan Gets a Ticket," "Alternate Dinner Scene," "Caliban Death," "Bobby's Action Figures," "Medical Tent - Connect the Dots" and "Mutant Kid Puppet Master").
  • Making Logan (1:16:04) - A six-part making-of documentary that covers the story and its tone, themes and inspirations, the actors' roles and their performances, the production design and filming locations, the work of composer Marco Beltrami, the stunt work and fight choreography, and Jackman's legacy as the character ("Crafting the Story," "Casting the Film," "Designing the World," "Creating the Score," "Stunts and Fights" and "Wrapping Logan").
  • Audio Commentary by James Mangold - Available on both the regular cut of the film and Logan Noir, this track has the co-writer/director discussing and touching on the movie's production, the ideas and aspirations behind the story, the cast and their characters, the visual effects and the production design, the inadvertent parallels with the video game "The Last of Us," and more.
  • Theatrical Trailers (6:27) - Three trailers for the film ("Theatrical Trailer 1," "Theatrical Trailer 2" and "Red Band Trailer 2").

Logan is available from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment as of May 23rd, 2017. The Blu-ray features English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1, Spanish and French Dolby Digital 5.1, and English Dolby Digital 2.0 Descriptive Audio tracks. The film is presented with English SDH, Spanish and French subtitles. The total runtime is 2 Hrs. 17 Mins.

* Reviewer's note: Portions of this Blu-ray review were adapted from my original review of the theatrical release, published on February 17th, 2017.

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