The reluctant superstar of Marvel’s X-Men, Wolverine has been the one constant through all the ups and downs of Fox’s often troubled property. As this newest Film shows, time has not been kind to Logan/Wolverine. The metal that coats his frame is beginning to eat away at him, and Logan now faces the one thing he’s never had to confront: his own mortality. But when a mysterious young girl comes into his life, Marvel’s disillusioned superman gets a glimpse of what it means to be a hero once again.
Returning director James Mangold infuses Logan with his love for westerns. A veteran of the genre (3:10 to Yuma) Mangold re-imagines Wolverine as a western icon, the wounded loner cowboy looking for a cause. Despite a few groaner choices (especially the last remnants of Wolverine’s sometimes goofy origins)
Logan is a self-reflective piece of filmmaking, simultaneously embracing and challenging the material it’s based on. Both Jackman and Stewart transcend the roles they’ve played for two decades, and Logan takes on a persona that’s wounded and filled with regret. Without pandering to the lowest common denominator, Logan takes the challenge of the high bar set by the 2013 series, Deadpool. It embraces its hard R rating and utilizes it to tell a more somber, contemplative adult story.
Kong: Skull Island
The 2017 edition of this classic film is basically King Kong meets Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness.” Skull Islandsends Tom Hiddleston, John C Reilly, and Sam Jackson up a jungle river into hell to confront their deepest, darkest fear, which just so happens to be a bipedal, hundred-story gorilla.
This is the second chapter in Legendary Entertainment’s Godzilla cinematic universe, and this Kong feels more like a placeholder than an actual film, a two-hour tease of a big monster brawl still to come. Director Jordan Vogt-Roberts re-imagines the legendary beast through the lens of post-Vietnam films, painting King Kong with a pulpy, war film kaleidoscope, but its lack of subtext and mean-spirited undertones hold this movie back from being a complete crowd pleaser.
Still, where Peter Jackson turned Kong into a lavish, Lord of the Rings-style tribute to the iconic beast, Skull Island revels in its pop escapism, using an Apocalypse Nowatmosphere to reintroduce the character to modern audiences. This Kong is a pulpy, fun, prequel that’s content to set the table for the next installment rather than be the main show.