Logan

Logan ★★★★½

Logan: "Laura."
Laura: "Daddy."
Logan: "So this is what it feels like."

Black and white re-issues seem to be the budding trend in the wake of Miller's black and chrome edition of Fury Road. And, thankfully, as of yet, these releases have yet to run aground. Where Miller used the clarity and simplicity of the duo-chromatic format to heighten that movie's silent film roots, Mangold uses black and white to only further the themes of memory and end times. Billing it the "noir" version seems a bit odd given that the only section of the film that really borrows from that tradition is the set up: a mysterious woman offers a peculiar assignment to a haunted, broken man past his prime. Beyond this point, Mangold very deliberately couches from westerns like Shane and stories that run tangential to western tradition like The Last of Us.

Visually, this black and white re-issue is mostly fair. Certain scenes sing in this desaturated state; particularly scenes set at night. Shafts of light cut through these sets with greater precision and the grimy details of the characters' scarred visages glow with new clarity. On the other hand, daytime scenes can feel slightly washed out. This is not totally consistent, but especially in the desert, the blinding white of the surroundings often just looks bland.

Regardless of the film's uneven adaptation to this new format, Logan remains an utter masterpiece of serialized character building. Upon revisit, the bluntness of X-24's metaphorical purpose - Logan is fighting not only the main bad guys of the film (essentially his past), he is also fighting against his own deteriorating body - still bothers me. Worse yet, the re-introduction of this character at the end to provide a climactic encounter and drive the point home that Logan killed himself is hackneyed and stands out in a film that is so boldly coherent otherwise. Additionally, the expository footage of Transigen's work is both nonsensical in that it has somehow been edited in the time between Gabriela's last log and her eventual demise and re-uploaded to her phone and it is a fairly lazy way of serving up exposition.

Yet, neither of these points really detract heavily from what is, in my mind, unquestionably the greatest film released this year thus far. Logan's final moments breathe a poignant, heavy, last sigh that cuts as deep the second time around as it did the first. X-Men has always been about people on the fringes of society finding a family in one another. As it began, so it ends. Seventeen years of - admittedly uneven - storytelling has paid off in one of the most extraordinary climaxes of serialized character development that I've ever seen. Mangold wasn't concerned with continuity or dogmatic attachment to past events. Instead, he found the core of the character and the franchise and honed in with a razor focus on precisely that emotion: the love you have for those who are there for you.

Logan remains a 4.5/5 and my favorite film of 2017.

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