Sunday, July 16, 2017

(Probably endless) list of things I love about Logan, part 1

By Sati. Sunday, July 16, 2017 , ,

6 days ago it has been exactly 4 months since I saw Logan for the very first time. Since that moment I saw the movie 4 more times including once with director's commentary (I have never ever watched anything with commentary before but for this movie I made an exception and it's really a great one - James Mangold shares so much in it and I will cite some of the things I learned from there here). It's July and Logan remains my favorite movie of the year and seeing how it's already in my top 10 of all time - yes, all time - I cannot imagine anything dethroning it.

So once more, inspired by Alex's brilliant series, - here are the things I loved about James Mangold's masterpiece.


1. The film starts and the first thing we see is Logan, drunk or just very very hangovered on the back seat of his limo, muttering the word 'fuck'. This could have not began more brilliantly and more like a 'this is something you haven't seen before' in regards to this character.


2. The title appearing next to unconscious, weary Logan. During this moment in commentary Mangold reveals he wanted to explore the character of Logan when he is scared. And what scares him? Love. Intimacy. Being dependent on someone. That was Mangold's goal - to explore the character when he experiences those things. My God, what a tremendous job he has done.


3. The lengths Logan goes to to protect his car are almost comical but in reality this is all he has - he needs this car. He needs this job. He needs to get Charles away from there.


4. That. Wolverine. RAGE.


5. There's that potty mouth again. I love swearing. I fucking love it. But when Jackman delivers lines like this in his American accent? I seriously barely survived watching this movie. I think this right here was the moment when I went from "Jackman is a good actor and a good-looking man" to "I love him and he can kill me and eat me".


6. The slow take of Logan pushing the bullets out. You can almost feel his pain as he is doing this. And Hugh Jackman's own pain - he yet again did his insane not drinking water for 2 days before filming a shirtless scene thing. You know, to look even more impressive.

I really think he is out there, actively trying to murder me.


7. That shot of bullets hitting the sink. I read a lot of reviews for the film and cinematography is so underrated. It's just beautifully shot.


8. Logan's hand trembling. Among many things Jackman's performance is also a great portrayal of an alcoholic.


9.  Logan looking at himself in the mirror. Let's take a moment here to appreciate the make up. I still have no idea where Jackman ended and the make up began. I saw the film five times, I saw behind the scenes footage, I read and saw so many interviews. And I still don't know. He said it took hours to do the make up and he had a wig. He also estimated this is what he will look like in give or take 15 years. Oh God. He is getting hotter with each year.


10. The Sunseeker photo in Logan's car. The dream that keeps him going.


11. Another terrific shot. Logan drinking on the graveyard, surrounded by the dead.


12. Logan just wanting Gabriela to go away. He's done helping others.


13.  The first time Laura and Logan see each other. How much has nurse Gabriela told her about him? Did she tell her he is her father? She must have had. So this is Laura seeing her father for the very first time. The hero she saw in comic books. Who now turned them away.


14. Boyd Holbrook's Donald Pierce is really quite an awesome villain. He is certainly far more memorable than everything both Marvel and DCEU keep throwing at us lately. I noticed Holbrook and his steamy Southern accent in Gone Girl (he plays the guy who robs Amy) and saw him in several other things. He is also gonna be the lead in new Predator movie. Had it not been for sharing the screen with the hottest character ever Hollbrook would easily be the one I focused my lady attention on in this movie. "Lady attention" is a wrong phrase to use here. The guy is hot as fuck also, OK?!


15. The subtle and effective way in which the film reminds us this is a different world - but also shows us a future that can easily happen.


16. The first time we see Charles is really quite startling. We never saw him this frail.


17. The way the seizure scenes are done. Hugh actually had ropes attached to his back and two guys were pulling him away. Also according to imdb - it was done by shooting shaky footage and then re-stabilizing the frame in post. Resulting a footage containing strange motion blur with smearing effect, that is both organic and very unusual. The team shot the sequences slightly wider than was needed so that shots could be blown up to hide the edges of the stabilizing effect.


18.  This stunning shot. Patrick Stewart actually lost 21 pounds for the role here which given his age - 76 years old at the time of the filming - is impressive. While promoting the movie he kept noting how safe he felt in Hugh's arms to which Hugh responded he was light as a feather. Also Stewart said he felt that everyone on the set were jealous of him.

Not just on the set, sir. Everywhere in the world.


19. The only thing more shocking than seeing Charles being so fragile is to hear this coming out of his mouth.


20. These beautiful lines and the way Patrick Stewart delivers it.


21. The relentless Caliban abuse. It could not have been easy for this guy to live with these two sweary drama queens.


22. The motel Logan meets Laura at is called Liberty.The scene with Charles does two things - serves as a fun nod to first X-Men movie and proves that Charles has been talking to Laura but his mind has been twisting things a little bit, mixing the past with the present.


23. This moment. Every single thing Hugh Jackman does in this movie is outstanding but the way he acts just with his face throughout this film is the most impressive thing about his performance. The weariness. The self loathing. The shame. The heartbreak. It's there, it's all there.


24. That line. Charles is actually right here. Only in the moment when he is saying that he thinks that he is a burden to Logan. In reality, before Laura came along, he was the only reason Logan kept going. He *was* waiting for him to die. So that he could die too. So that he could finally let go.


25. This callback to The Wolverine.


26. The entire Logan's self loathing sequence. It's really beautifully done and captures the sadness and loneliness of his existence with just few shots.


27. I don't have anything profound to say here. Just look at him.


28. Caliban seemingly not being included in Logan's escape plan really shows you that Logan knew that plan will never work, He has lost so many things in his life to him failure was the only possible outcome. He didn't include Caliban in his plan not because of callousness but because he knew there was no need - him and Charles would never really go on to live happily ever after.


29. You can see the anger, frustration and shame in Logan as Caliban is listing all of the things that Logan is doing to himself. He just sits there but you can see it. Caliban wants to help and Logan knows it. But he is past the point of trying anymore. I am familiar with self destruction and slowly doing things to yourself that are bad for you. Because you can't or for someone else won't do it once and for all and you just do whatever it takes to keep you going. It's so well portrayed here both by the script and in Jackman's mesmerizing performance.


30. For all of the movie's sadness there are fantastic moments of levity sprinkled throughout it such as the drunk girl showing Logan her breasts in the limo and him smiling. And come on - if Hugh Jackman was a limo driver every single tipsy woman would do exactly that and probably so much more. When I saw the scene for the first time I just nodded in profound agreement.


31. Logan getting the drunk girls out of the car with ever so slight annoyance. And the first appearance of reading glasses. Just so hot. And adorable.


32. Logan wants absolutely nothing to do with Gabriela and the situation but the moment she collapses on the ground and shit gets real he just needs to do something and rushes over to rescue her.


33. There's that charm.


34.Charles saying this to Logan and Logan's slight smile. Charles seems very lucid in this scene and it's so sweet how Logan is just sitting there, keeping him company.


35. There are several lines in this movie the inclusion of which was, in retrospect, pure fucking sadism.


36. This shot which is even more striking in Black and White version.


37. The horrific appearance of Gabriela's corpse. So many good people die horribly in this movie.


38. It never ceases to amuse me that he is saying this as he is holding her backpack.


39. Look at Logan's movement here. It's like he is ready to attack. We never saw Logan quite as animalistic like in this movie. His instincts - protecting his territory and his friends. It's an instinct. It kicks in. That's why he looks like he is about to attack Laura, who while is a small child, did something violent few moments before.


40. In a scene with Caliban, Logan tells him to stay away from his shit. Here Laura angrily takes her backpack away from Logan. Like father, like daughter.. Also Mangold revealed in the commentary Stewart wasn't actually there on the set in New Mexico when they were doing this scene and the chase scene so they shot all the moments with him on the set in Louisiana and on the green screen and later incorporated them in the movie.


41. Another moment of levity when Caliban is looking at items in his hands. This also adds to the perception of his innocence which only makes what happens to Caliban throughout the movie so much more depressing.


42. The innocence of Laura and Charles' joy at being able to take care of a kid who needs help, like he did so many times in the past.


43. The endlessly adorable and hilarious scene where Logan tries - in futility - to take away Laura's backpack.


44. Considering what is actually arriving the use of the word 'choo-choo' is particularly amusing here. No, it's not a choo-choo. It's lots and lots of trouble. Also there is something so funny about Logan repeating this line but with so much "what the fuck is happening now?" annoyance in his voice.


45. Just like the lack of inclusion of Caliban in his plan speaks of Logan's fatalistic frame of mind, this here shows the enormity of his love for Charles. He is prepared to leave a child behind to save him.


46.  Even when corned, even when overpowered the man can't help himself, can he?


47. Laura calmly eating her food as all hell is about to break loose around her.


48. This mesmerizing shot.


49. The shot of Laura's claws slowly extending. On the commentary Mangold praises Holbrook's work here - he really has such simple lines here but he does wonders delivering them.


50. Logan's and Charles' respective reactions to what Laura can do. Particularly Charles' - to him Laura is a miracle.


51. When I saw the movie in cinema the entire audience collectively gasped when this happened. Watching Logan has really been one of the greatest movie going experiences for me. Usually I see movies opening day in the afternoon and there are not a lot of people there but I saw Logan a week after it was released and the place was packed. Everyone kept gasping, laughing and crying. And the look of every single woman's face whenever the camera showed a close up of Jackman....priceless.


52.  The shocked look on Logan's face as he sees Laura's foot claw. What the hell is going on? How is this possible? Who is she? What have these men done to this child?


53. This is such a quick moment a lot of people probably missed, but this right here is Laura protecting Charles during the escape scene.


54. The most endurable fence in cinematic history. Fuck you, fence.


55. Logan taking that turn and almost crashing into choo-choo. I stopped breathing in that moment. Also this chase scene wasn't done on green screen. Jackman was really driving. Holbrook was really on top of that car with the gun. Mangold notes on the commentary how this makes it feel so much more real on the screen. It's also the sequence that reminded me so much of Fury Road that thanks to this, that post happened.


56. The footage of Laura's surgery. Basically this entire video Logan watches. The people he is dealing with have absolutely no scruples. There were lots of people questioning how the nurse made a video this sophisticated. On the commentary Mangold reveals he was hoping people would be so involved in watching the sequence they won't wonder why the video is so much better than what an average nurse could shoot. He then hurriedly added "not that nurses can't make good films".


57. Charles telling Logan what he and we already know. She is his.


58. This great moment of humor.


59. Logan paying for Laura's pony ride and saying the prophetic 'last ride' line. This film is loaded with such subtext when you rewatch it you are in tears half the time because you are constantly reminded of what happens later.


60. Another hilarious scene. The way Jackman delivers this line with pure annoyance is golden. Logan and Charles really come off as people who took care of each other - and annoyed each other - for years.


61. Logan's parenting skills. Love this.


62. She is not my daughter, but I love her. You may not love her, but she is your child. Please, help her.


63. This gorgeous shot. Everything Laura sees is new to her. Remember, she was locked up her entire life. Everything she experiences in the movie she experiences for the first time.


64. Case and point - this is what Laura sees. And later on when she sees heartbroken Logan she takes his hand just like she sees it here.


65. Such a real life little kid/dad moment.


66. And here it's like watching actual father and his son. They don't feel like characters. They feel like people.


67. This is just shameless porn.


68. Charles' pride and joy when he hears Laura read about X-Men.


69. I still don't know what possessed Logan to say this. This girl is well aware of this. I think this is just Logan lashing out and saying whatever pops into his head because all he wanted was drink himself to death and now he needs to marginally pull his shit together and help someone else.


70. When Laura and Charles are watching Shane Charles mentions remembering seeing the film as a child in his hometown. This was entirely improvised by Stewart, because Shane was one of the first memories he had at the theater as a child. Of course this particular line seen on above screenshot there will come back later in the movie to punch you in the heart.


71. That charming nonchalance of his.


72. According to imdb trivia page Logan only smiles 3 times in the movie. That is not entirely true. He does a slight smile when Charles mentions the glasses, then there is that relatable girl in the limo making him smile and here we have the third one. There are two more and I will also feature them because how can I not.


73. One of the funniest moments in the movie - Logan putting two and two together and realizing that his destination was lifted off the comic books. The funniest thing about Jackman's performance is his bafflement and disbelief at so many things. It is also one of the things that make me admire his work here so much - Jackman is a very funny guy but he plays someone so completely different from him who barely smiles in the entire movie. What makes many scenes in Logan so funny is him being so serious and almost impossible to humor. This is the polar opposite of the actor playing him. If you are not familiar with what kind of a person Hugh is just watch any given interview he did promoting this film. He is out there, smiling the entire time, cracking jokes, being so friendly and lovely. Many things about his work as Logan blow my mind - from the amazing accent he does to all the subtle little things - but the fact he disappears into the role so completely, he inhabits this person so different than him so well...that's mesmerizing. It's fairly clear if you read this website and my twitter I've seen A LOT of interviews with this man. And let me tell you whenever I watch this film, I don't even see Hugh. I just see James. That is what makes it such an astounding, remarkable performance.


Part 2 - next Monday

11 comments:

  1. Awesome post, Sati! Love the passion on display for this phenomenal film. :)

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    1. Thank you! I just love it so much :)

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  2. Like I said on Alex's site, I love these type of posts. I especially love when they teach me something which this does. I totally missed on the whole Statue of Liberty, Liberty Motel connection. Thanks for that!

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    1. Yeah, it's a clever one! I missed it too upon first viewing. The film is so rewarding on rewatches.

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  3. Lady attention, hihihi, yeah, there's a lot of lady attention that was projected on screen when saw Logan... twice. I might have not seen it four times but those two times were heartbreaking enough to break my tiny heart.

    That fcking fence.
    I also loved the mug moment, I don't know why, I just remember the mug moment so well.

    During my second viewing I almost started crying during that hotel scene between Laura and Charles but since my friend hadn't seen the movie I was holding myself back. I didn't want to ruin it for her. I was holding back tears a lot during that second time, I still cried horribly at the end though.
    Looking forward for your endless list to continue!

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    1. Mug moment was great!

      I don't hold back tears because I always rewatch it alone so there is just a lot of emotion happening here whenever I do :D

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  4. This is a great post. I'm not a fan of most superhero movies, but Logan transcends the genre. Just LOOK at this goddamn thing. The shots are so well constructed and colored; it's really astounding visually. I could stand to watch the film again, particularly with Mangold's commentary. I recall his commentary for Cop Land (one of my favorite films of the '90s) and he's an observant, eloquent speaker that delivers great commentary tracks. Great work again - can't wait for Part 2.

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    1. Thank you! Have you seen Noir version? I still haven't in full, just bits and pieces but it's so gorgeous. Mangold's commentary is absolutely fantastic and they had so many stories about the movie and the film making process nothing he said during press tour or in many interviews they gave with Hugh upon released and Noir screenings was actually repeated on the commentary.

      I've never seen Cop Land but I'm becoming a big fan of his work!

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    2. Ohhh I haven't seen the Noir version. I would LOVE to explore that, as the neon colors in the film are so lush in the color version. Cop Land is a tough as balls flick, but it is so well written, especially for a relatively new filmmaker.

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  5. I could not for the life of me think where I had seen that guy before. I hated him in Gone Girl so much. lol

    This is an amazing post.

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    1. Yeah he was such a bad guy in Gone Girl!

      Thank you :P

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