I couldn’t really get a grasp on how I felt about going to see Logan. On one hand we have what looks to be the Wolverine movie everyone expected to eventually see when the character made his first movie appearance 17 years ago. On the other hand, the 2 actors that one could argue had a lot to do with the comic book movie boom post 2000, were going for their final ride as their respective characters. Both Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart have played these characters enough times to understand their psychology, and it built up to what was a glorious send off for both of them.
Logan follows Wolverine years after the events of X-Men: Days of Future Past. The majority of mutants have been hunted down and killed, while Logan and Professor X are both in hiding. He eventually meets up with a little girl named Laura who he finds out has powers that are very similar to his own. After an encounter with these mutant hunters and a little bit of convincing from Professor X, Wolverine decides to help Laura escape.
The first thing that jumps out about Logan is that this is nothing like your typical comic book film. Rather than it being an action extravaganza, it’s a character focused drama. Logan plays out more like a modern western movie than what you would expect from an X-Men film. It is a change of pace that is delivered brilliantly because of the movie’s tone. This is a heavy movie. Every scene, every interaction, and every death has weight to it. Wolverine is a man filled with regret and grief, yet continues to push on because of his love for Professor X.
Every fight in this movie is full of grit and raw brutality. These are the type of Wolverine fights that we’ve always wanted. The fights also all have a sense of desperation to them because our heroes always have their backs against the wall. It gives the film this incredible sense of urgency that makes you believe that anything can happen at any time. While there is some humor in the movie, it never interferes with what’s going on and it never makes light of their horrific situation.
Another great thing about the film was how they used actual X-Men comics as a plot point in the film. In this universe there are comic books that were written about the X-Men. When Wolverine finds out that Laura has these comics he immediately shoots down their validity. He states that people made up majority of what actually happened in those books and that the parts they didn’t completely make up were heavily exaggerated. This created this separation between other comic book films and this one. In a weird sort of meta way, Logan found a way to shed all of the weight of its previous films. I found this to be utterly genius. It creates this intriguing relationship between Wolverine and Laura too. She has this idea of him from the comics that he can’t possibly live up to. It’s similar to the audience believing they know what an X-Men movie is like, yet after seeing Logan they figure out that it’s nothing like the other X-Men films.
Let’s talk about the main man, Hugh Jackman. I’m typically not a fan of his work, but I have to give it to him this time around. He brought what was easily his best performance. He commands in this role as he explores the ever complex mind of Wolverine. It’s crazy to look at how the portrayal of this character has changed from 2000 to now. It’s funny to think that the final movie had the most grounded version of the character. While other films gave Wolverine moments of humanity, Logan makes the audience look at him from a perspective that is much more man than mutant.
He isn’t alone on this journey though. The cast around him all carry their weight, especially Patrick Stewart. Him and Ian McKellen were the ones I always saw as the foundation of the X-Men films. Stewart’s portrayal of the character has always brought a fatherly presence to the group. His compassion always shined as this person who genuinely wanted to help other mutants cope with their powers and find their place in the world. In Logan, we see a version of him that has also been beaten down by the events that have transpired. Despite that, his compassion is still there and when he sees Laura needs help he immediately tells Wolverine. There’s one scene that happens while he’s in bed where he tells Wolverine about something that happened in the past. I thought he was perfect in that scene and his delivery of those lines broke my heart.
Dafne Keen plays Laura. She’s awesome the whole way through despite not saying much. Her facial expressions were able to tell you exactly what was going through her mind. She’s a savage like Wolverine is, but she’s also still a child. They do a good job of portraying her child like curiosity. Oh and did I mention she’s a savage? Because she really is. You know those scenes in the trailer where she murders people? Yeah there’s a lot of that. She easily steals the majority of the action sequences.
Last we have Boyd Holbrook who plays Donald Pierce, who leads the team of mutant hunters in the film. He’s our main villain and I thought he was pretty cool. There wasn’t really any development for his character, but he served his purpose as this smooth talking asshole.
Overall, Logan felt special to me. The final hurrah of 2 iconic comic book character portrayals was made to be as significant as I wanted it. This is a film that never really lets its audience off the hook from focusing on the situation. When they give the feeling like they will, they land up making the audience pay for thinking anything other than bad can happen to these characters. A lot of it is actually sad to watch. The state of the characters in the film are not nearly what they once were. Wolverine’s healing factor isn’t working and Professor X is sick. It turns 2 of the strongest characters in previous movies into people that have to run away to survive. This environment created a movie that looks like a modern western and plays out like a character driven drama. It was a wild ride that built up to a 3rd act that was bittersweet to say the least.
A tip of the hat goes out to both Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart. Not only did they both leave a lasting impression on me in this film, but they’ve left a lasting impression on this genre as a whole.
Logan gets a 97/100 and is awarded the title of…