The Greatest Showman portrays a despicable person in a positive light.

two stars
Coming out of The Greatest Showman I had mixed feelings.
I definitely had fun watching it but I felt like something was missing and a fact I would later learn, about the history the movie is based on, ruined the movie for me.
Directed by Michael Gracy, The Greatest Showman stars Hugh Jackman, as P.T Barnum, a man who sets out to create a circus by hiring very unique and different people to attract an audience.
The film is a musical and all of its songs are really good.
The musical numbers are definitely the most enjoyable parts of the movie and are well sung and choreographed.
Another really good thing about the movie is the acting.
Everyone brings their all for this movie, including Jackman and there was not one performance or voice that did not work.
However, even though this made the film enjoyable, The Greatest Showman does suffer from some very misplaced direction.
First of all, the movie is focused mostly on Barnum and Zac Efron’s character, Phillip Carlyle, instead of the people who are used as attractions.
The characters of Lettie Lutz (Keala Settle), Charles Stratton (Sam Humphrey) and others were all very interesting but did not get much focus.

lettie
Keala Settle as Lettie Lutz is one of the most interesting characters in The Greatest Showman but does not get much depth.

One of the main themes of the movie is accepting and being proud of yourself and this applies to these characters.
However the story is more focused on Barnum and Carlyle, the “normal” people, who are less interesting than Lutz and Stratton.
It felt like the movie should have been more focused on them rather than Barnum and would have had a more interesting story if it did.
However, even with this problem the movie was still good… or at least it was until I did some research.
You see, when watching this movie, I became suspicious when watching how Barnum was developed as a character and how much of it was true.
In the film, it is established that one of the reasons he created his circus was to try and bring a voice to different people in order to promote equality.
This makes Barnum look like a good person, when in reality the real Barnum was anything but.
Barnum started his career in show business by buying an 80-year-old paralyzed slave named Joice Heth and passing her off as the 160-year-old nurse of president George Washington.
After Heth died, Barnum degraded her further by having a live autopsy on her body for people to see.

Joice Heth
A poster that advertises Joice Heth to the public.

This is only one of the many bad things Barnum did.
Barnum was someone who took part in slavery and treated a fellow human being terribly and yet the movie portrays him as a likeable person.
I find it weird that a scandal has not broke out about this yet and, for once, its a scandal I would actually get behind.
Portraying someone like Barnum as a good person, when he was a slave owner, is just unacceptable.
This fact, ruins the movie for me.
I will not be able to look at it the same way knowing it is portraying a despicable person in a positive light.
The Greatest Showman may be an enjoyable film but when you look at how it sweeps dirty facts under the rug, it ruins the whole thing.

 

Logan claws its way to the top as one of my favourite movies

5 stars
I know, I know, I’m about 8 months late for this review but I have been wanting to talk about Logan for a while now.
What motivated me to talk about it was the film’s director James Mangold announcing they are currently planning a spin off movie starring X-23, Laura, played by Dafne Keen.
I am very excited about this since I am not only a fan of X-23 and her story but love Logan, with one of my favourite things about it being Dafne Keen’s performance.
So, based on this recent announcement, I have decided to finally review what is, not only one of my favourite films of the year so far, but one of my favourite films ever.
I know this is big talk considering that the film only came out about 8 months ago but I honestly do not feel like I am exaggerating.
I loved Logan from start to finish and it was the perfect way to say goodbye to Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart after all the years they have played Logan and Charles Xavier.

Logan and Charles

Where do I begin with this movie?
It is odd that the best super hero movies are not actually super hero movies?
The Dark Knight was not a super hero movie, it was a crime thriller.
Similarly Logan is not a super hero movie but a western.
Whenever a super hero is adapted to a different genre outside the norm it usually results in an instant classic, which The Dark Knight and Logan both have in common.
However, (and I know this is a controversial statement) I love Logan more than I loved The Dark Knight.
I can understand why people think The Dark Knight is the better movie but I just disagree with this because I connected with Logan far more than I ever did The Dark Knight.
Let’s start with the main characters.
Each and every one of them are incredible with Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart and Dafne Keen all giving Oscar worthy performances.
And yes, I said Dafne Keen deserves an Oscar based on her performance.
She may only be 12 years old but that does not change the fact that her performance is on par with Jackman and Stewart’s.
If they had not got the right actor to play Laura then the entire film would have fallen apart so the fact that they not only found the right actor but someone who gave one of the best performances in the film, is nothing shot of extraordinary.
This is why I’m so excited about the recent announcement of an X-23 spin off film being in the works.

Logan (2017) Directed by James Mangold Shown: Dafne Keen

Lets go back to Jackman and Stewart now.
As I said, these two both give Oscar worthy performances, bringing a much darker tone to their characters.
These are not the Logan and Xavier that we know from previous films, these are much darker portrayals.
When we first see them it is very clear so much has happened since we last saw them.
Both are broken down, mirror images of who they used to be and it is so tragic to see them this way.
However, it’s not just them that give noteworthy performances.
Boyd Holbrook’s Donald Pierce and Stephen Merchant’s Caliban are both greatly performed by both actors, with Holbrook’s Pierce coming across as a very charismatic villain and Merchant’s Caliban bringing not only a few rounds of much needed comedy to the film but sympathy as well.
The only character who was not done right was Richard E. Grant’s Zander Rice, who was very uninteresting.
I have heard people complain that not only Rice but Pierce and the film’s other villain (who I won’t spoil) were not developed enough.
However, I feel like these people are missing the point.
Logan is not The Dark Knight.
This is an intimate story about family, change and death.
It is not a film about the duality between the hero and the villain.
To have the villains be like the Joker and steal the show would have overshadowed the storytelling and the message would have been lost so it is good that these villains are underdeveloped.
And just because they are underdeveloped does not mean they are bad.
Donald Pierce is an incredibly charismatic villain and is entertaining whenever he is on screen.

Logan Pierce

Also the surprise villain is the perfect foil for Logan and fits in with his story.
The one exception to this, as I said earlier, is Zander Rice but he is one flaw in an otherwise exceptional film.
As I mentioned the themes of the film are family, change and death and these themes are fantastically portrayed.
A common complaint I hear is that the story is too simple but in a lot of instances simple is more.
Look at Mad Max: Fury Road for example.
This movie has the simplest of premises and yet it is one of the greatest action movies ever made.
The same can be said for Logan.
The story may be simple but it needed to be in order to portray the themes I mentioned earlier correctly.
You do not even need to have seen an X-Men film to love Logan.
It not only works as a continuation of the X-Men universe but as its own standalone film.
The film’s R16 rating also works great with the type of story they were trying to tell.
Making Logan a PG film would not have worked well with the film’s darker themes.
What is great about the violence though is that it never feels gratuitous.
Every severed head and cut throat feels earned…. with one exception.

logan violence

There is a scene of partial nudity in this film that feels thrown in just because the film had an R16 rating.
It felt like the film’s director was saying “well this movie is R16, we might as well throw some boobies in there!”
However, other than this one short scene, every curse word and use of violence felt earned and not thrown in because of the film’s rating.
As I mentioned earlier, Logan is more of a western than a super hero movie so it only makes sense that Logan’s music is that of a western.
The score is very effective at drawing out emotion as well, whether that emotion being excitement, horror or sadness.
Speaking of sadness, if you do not tear up at least once during this movie then you have no soul.
This movie is incredibly heart breaking and I still tear up watching it, even after multiple viewings.
And that is the main reason I love this movie so much because it made me feel something.
There are a lot of movies that draw emotion out of me but there are so few that make me feel like Logan did.
I felt excitement, fear, horror and, of course, sadness all in one viewing experience that leaves me feeling emotionally drained every time and yet I can’t stop watching it.
Logan is a masterpiece of a movie.
It is an excellent film with thought provoking themes about family, change and death that is filled to the brim with emotion.
The only flaws the movie has is the Rice character and one individual scene where it felt like they were exploiting the film’s R16 rating.
Other than that, Logan is a masterpiece.
And on a side note I also believe it has the best movie trailer of all time as well.
If you have not scene Logan yet, where have you been?
Stop reading this review and go watch it.
You may feel emotionally drained afterwards but you won’t regret it.