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Logan: Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD Review

Logan (2017) movie poster Logan

Theatrical Release: March 3, 2017 / Running Time: 137 Minutes / Rating: R

Director: James Mangold / Writers: James Mangold (story & screenplay); Scott Frank, Michael Green (screenplay)

Cast: Hugh Jackman (Logan, X-24), Patrick Stewart (Charles Xavier), Dafne Keen (Laura), Boyd Holbrook (Donald Pierce), Stephen Merchant (Caliban), Elizabeth Rodriguez (Gabriela), Richard E. Grant (Dr. Zander Rice), Eriq La Salle (Will Munson), Elise Neal (Kathryn Munson), Quincy Fouse (Nate Munson), Jason Genao (Rictor), Lennie Lofton (Jackson), Bryant Tardy (Bobby)

Buy Logan from Amazon.com: Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD DVD 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital HD Instant Video

For the ninth time in seventeen years, Hugh Jackman plays Wolverine, but Logan is not much like past X-Men movies, nor even the two standalone films built around the iconic, retractably-clawed character.
This one is rated R, a fact made clear immediately in an opening scene laced with profanity and violence in which Wolverine stands up to and attacks a bunch of gangbangers trying to jack a car.

It is 2029 and Wolverine is no longer the young buck he long was. He sports gray hair, a salt and pepper full beard, and a weariness for the world. When he's not driving a limousine along the US-Mexican border, Logan is helping sun-allergic Caliban (Stephen Merchant) take care of a sometimes senile nonagenarian Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart).

People at cross purposes are looking for Logan. On one side is Donald Pierce (Boyd Holbrook), a corporation's chief of security with a metal hand and malice in his heart. On the other side is Gabriela (Elizabeth Rodriguez), a woman who is willing to pay Logan big for a long-distance ride. Gabriela isn't important, but Laura (Dafne Keen), the silent girl she claims is his daughter, proves to be.

In "Logan.", Hugh Jackman's mutant superhero Wolverine is a grizzled, old driver.

Laura is part of a program of genetically-engineered mutants held in captivity and deprived of normal childhood. Bred from Wolverine's DNA, she exhibits the same virtual invincibility, ferocity, and knuckle blades. She, Logan, and Xavier hit the road to avoid the danger pursuing them. They end up watching Shane in a Las Vegas hotel, spending a night with a friendly black country family they helped on a highway, and then journeying to the potentially mythic place where Gabriela insisted that Laura be delivered.

Logan is a dark, angry, and bloody film. If it was coming right after X-Men: The Last Stand, it would be a stunning change of pace. But things began heading in this direction on 2013's The Wolverine in which director James Mangold (Walk the Line, 3:10 to Yuma) assumed the helm. Mangold remains in the director's chair this time and no doubt the immense commercial and critical success of the hard R-rated Deadpool a year ago has encouraged Fox to go darker and more violent than the franchise has ever been.

This is a good thing, not because movies today need to be darker and more violent, but because there's no reason that the "superhero movie" genre must conjure either Marvel's tried and true snarky but relatively family-friendly hijinks or DC's less confident, monochromatic, and even more bombastic action. Logan is something you're not even sure can be called a superhero movie. The title isn't the result of running out of ways to incorporate the name Wolverine. This is an older, more vulnerable character who doesn't strike us as especially super. He's on the side of good, but he's got a temper and isn't above jamming his claws into someone else's head or beheading a jerk with a gun.

In the year 2029, the closest thing Logan has to friends are sun-allergic Caliban (Stephen Marchant) and an ailing nonagenarian Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart).

Where else were Jackman, Mangold, and Fox going to go with this character? He's had adventures and battles set in most of the past six decades. He's fought alongside characters portrayed by different actors at different ages. He's been all over the world from Canada to Tokyo. He even got to drop the F-bomb in a brief cameo. This time around,
we're seeing what late life looks like for superheroes. It's a depressing existence that hasn't really been shown or even considered before. It's kind of like if Francis Ford Coppola had made an entire movie around the final scene of The Godfather Part III befitting his preferred title The Death of Michael Corleone.

I speculated that the appeal to Logan might be more artistic than commercial. The previous two standalone Wolverine movies were a much smaller draw than the original X-Men trilogy was and X-Men: Apocalypse's ho-hum numbers last summer suggested audiences have even tired of the second generation of the mutants. Anyone out there assuming that Deadpool succeeded only because it was rated R was mistaking correlation for causation. Nonetheless, fueled by glowing reviews, the grimmer, more brutal approach managed to hook those who were driven away by X-Men Origins: Wolverine and The Wolverine and have tired of the spritely main X-Men series. Despite being a tough sell, off-limits to the young teenage boys who might otherwise pay to see such a thing, Logan flourished at the box office, grossing $226 million domestic and $611 million worldwide, numbers better than X-Men: Apocalypse and significantly better than the previous two standalone Wolverine movies. Though it is sure to drop, Logan presently ranks third domestically and fourth worldwide among 2017 releases, which has to be better than Fox expected, with Jackman taking a pay cut to ensure his final movie in this role would be rated R.

It is no spoiler to call Logan the end of an era and a farewell to one of cinema's most reprised characters. Mangold and his two fellow credited screenwriters (TV-seasoned and rising in film Michael Green, The Wolverine's Scott Frank) have given this hero a distinct and original send-off. And while few can claim they're not ready to say goodbye to Logan and mean it, we're probably just a few years away from Fox rebooting the character with a younger, less accomplished actor taking over the role. As in theaters, there is nothing after the long end credits scroll of Logan.

Logan recently hit stores in DVD, 4K Ultra HD, and the three-disc Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD combo pack reviewed here, which includes a new black and white version of the theatrical cut billed as "Logan Noir."

Logan: Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD combo pack cover art -- click to buy from Amazon.com Blu-ray & DVD Details

2.40:1 Widescreen (DVD Anamorphic)
Blu-rays: 7.1 DTS-HD MA (English); Dolby Digital 5.1 (Descriptive Video Service, Spanish, French), Dolby Surround 2.0 (English); DVD: Dolby Digital 5.1 (English, Descriptive Video Service), Dolby Surround 2.0 (English, Spanish, French)
Subtitles: English for Hearing Impaired, Spanish, French
DVD Closed Captioned; Extras Subtitled
Release Date: May 23, 2017
Suggested Retail Price: $39.99
Three single-sided, dual-layered discs (2 BD-50s & 1 DVD-9)
Blue Eco-Friendly Keepcase in Holographic Slipcover
Also available as standalone DVD ($29.98 SRP), 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital HD ($39.99 SRP), and on Instant Video

VIDEO and AUDIO

Though it may have cost a little less, looked a little different, and hit a little harder, Logan still represents a big budget studio action movie and thus it is little surprise that the Blu-ray's 2.40:1 presentation is as sharp and vibrant as it is. The 7.1 DTS-HD master audio soundtrack also offers an agreeable reproduction of the theatrical experience.

Logan (Hugh Jackman) gets pulled over for speeding in this deleted scene. A terrifyingly made-up Stephen Merchant checks the monitor for playback over the shoulder of writer-director James Mangold in "Making Logan."

BONUS FEATURES, MENUS, PACKAGING and DESIGN

Bonus features begin with six short deleted scenes (7:45) that are presented with optional audio commentary by writer-director James Mangold.
They include Logan getting a speeding ticket, more at the farmhouse, and more from the forest climax.

"Making Logan" (1:16:05) is a thorough documentary that can also be treated like six topical featurettes. While it covers some of the same ground as the commentary, it brings more voices into the mix and goes into greater detail on production design, music, and action with a winning mix of concept art, makeup tests, auditions, behind-the-scenes footage, and talking heads. Befitting the film, the documentary includes some profanity. Not every movie demands a feature-length making-of piece, but this enjoyable one seems warranted.

Next up comes that feature audio commentary by James Mangold. Solo commentaries are hard to pull off, but Logan is a passion project and Mangold brings the passion needed to keep you interested for over two hours. He explains at length the film's vision (inspired by Clint Eastwood's Unforgiven) and the thinking behind it, touching upon what changes for a filmmaker once an R rating is accepted, characters' emotional journeys, and the look of the film. If you liked the movie, you'll find this worth a listen.

Finally, we get three Logan theatrical trailers (6:32): two greenband previews and a redband one (which is Redband #2, for some reason). No ads for anything else are included on the set.

An already dark movie gets even darker in "Logan Noir", a black and white version of the Hugh Jackman film presented on a bonus Blu-ray disc.

The bonus Blu-ray offers Logan Noir, an all-black and white version of the theatrical cut. You can watch the film this way with or without the director's commentary,
but that is the extent of what this disc offers. I guess it's a lot easier than asking you to mess with your TV's settings to play the film sans color and it also gives you the results that the director presumably signed off on.

The DVD includes the deleted scenes with commentary and feature audio commentary.

Each disc's menu takes the usual Fox approach of looping a montage of screen-filling clips. The Logan Noir disc menu is black and white to match that edit (so is the disc's FBI warnings).

Further defying conventional superhero movie wisdom, both the keepcase and the faintly holographic slipcover above it sport distinctive, predominantly orange artwork. Inside, the three uniquely labeled discs are joined by a Digital HD insert and an ad for Regal Cinemas' Crown Club rewards program.

The hair matches the blades in the bloody "Logan", Hugh Jackman's final Wolverine movie.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

The dark, powerful Logan ends a chapter of cinema with a bang and a scowl rather unlike the PG-13 movies it follows. Fox's Blu-ray combo pack treats the film to great picture and sound, hours of substantial bonus features, and a bonus black and white feature presentation. Still ranking among 2017's best films to date, Logan earns a recommendation, especially in this fine three-disc set.

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Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD / DVD / 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital HD / Instant Video

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Reviewed June 10, 2017.



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