Logan Review: A Bloody, Bold, and Brilliant End.
Hugh Jackman has finally retired his Wolverine claws in, Logan. Jackman has been playing the iconic character for seventeen years now, portraying the character nine times on the big screen, which is an accomplishment in itself. From the best of films (X-Men 2) to the lowest lows, (X-Men Origins) there is no denying that Jackman’s Wolverine has been the strongest aspect of the X-Men franchise as a whole.
The year is 2029 and mutants are all but extinct. We meet an old, sick, and broken man who has lived for hundreds of years.The metal inside of his body which once made him a weapon has now made him terminally ill. That man, of course, is Logan. Now he finds himself taking care of the equally sick, Professor Charles Xavier. Charles is not in control of his powers anymore and needs to take medication to suppress seizures, which cause everyone around him immense pain.
With Wolverine now unable to heal nearly as fast as he used to, he drowns his sorrows in alcoholism and makes money by being a limousine driver. Logan’s attempts to hide from the world and his legacy are ended when a young mutant arrives, being pursued by dark forces.
Logan does not feel like a superhero movie at all, which is a great breath of fresh air in the almost mundaneness of the genre. This is much more of a character study than an X-Men movie, as we get a deeper look into the troubled psyche of the broken mutant. Logan has seen so much death, has lost many loved ones and been through Hell more times than we can count. Seeing the progression, for better or worse, of the character from the first X-Men to now is a remarkable achievement for any actor.
We as an audience want to see Logan be the witty, no-nonsense cigar smoking badass we’ve come to know and love. To see such a character so vulnerable is gut wrenching, however, is needed for the overall theme of the film’s narrative.
That being said, when Wolverine pulls out his adamantium claws, with a glorious R-rating to boot, is pure ecstasy. The film opens with a drunk Logan waking up in the back of his limo. His rims are being jacked by a couple of thugs, and the unfazed mutant stumbles his way over to them, even offering them a bit of advice on how to properly steal chrome rims. When the inevitable throwdown happens a moment later, the grittiness of the R-rating is in full swing.
The importance of showing the consequences of mutants actions in a more realistic way enhances the stakes of what these superhumans are capable of doing. This isn’t “gore porn” in any sense of the word, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t having an all out nerdgasm during the expertly choreographed and brutal fight scenes.
The always remarkable Sir Patrick Stewart gives a haunting and empathetic performance, that is some of the best work I’ve personally ever seen from the world class actor. Like Wolverine, it’s devastating for us to see the conscience and leader of the X-Men, be mentally unstable and talking words of gibberish. For this being a non-spoiler review, I’ll just say that Xavier has a monolog that requires tissues, lots of them.
The standout in Logan is without question Laura (Dafne Keen) or X-23 for us comic fans. She doesn’t talk much, up until the 3rd act at least, but my god was her presence incredible. Not only does she have some of the best fight scenes in the film, she also commands the screen with her facial expressions alone. Her backstory, along with the emotional arch and bond she has with Logan is the heart of the story. With only a little over 2 hours, director James Mangold manages to flesh out a unique relationship between the two, which will capture your investment in the story, resulting in a relationship, unlike anything audiences have seen in the genre.
That all being said, the film does struggle with its pacing. The 2nd act finds itself in a lull, putting the story on pause to stop and smell the roses. I understand why Mangold and company did this; it’s necessary for Logan’s arc as a character. However, when the film is on, it’s revved up to a million, when it’s off, it screeches to some uninteresting dialogue and repetition. There also humor sprinkled throughout this undoubtedly dark film. Unfortunately, the lines that hit are about 50/50, ranging from funny and witty banter to forced crude humor that isn’t quite humorous. I won’t go into the villains much, as any more info than the trailers show would be a massive spoiler. I will say that Boyd Holbrook did a great job as the villainous Pierce, showing a side of his acting capabilities that I did not think he had in him.
Although Logan has some of the best acting and fight choreography of any X-Men film, the ending left me somewhat cold. Tonally, it’s the perfect ending and a fitting way for Hugh Jackman to exit the role he’s made a household name. On the other hand, and to be vague for the sake of spoilers, it didn’t hit me emotionally the way I wanted it to. Don’t get me wrong, the final moments of Logan are quite extraordinary, I just felt it could’ve been a bit “more” than it was.
Regardless of its flaws, Logan is without question one of the better superhero films in recent memory. A contained story that Is about characters first, and action set pieces second, is precisely what the character of Wolverine deserved. Not only is this the best Wolverine movie, but it’s also right up there with my favorites, X-Men 2 and First Class. The movie is without question the darkest and most bleak superhero film to ever hit the silver screen. Except unlike most, Logan is a character that you will stand behind, to the very end.
Logan comes out on March 3rd, 2017.