Fans have felt like they have waited an eternity to see a proper Wolverine story brought to the big screen. Thats not to take anything away from Jackman’s previous performance of the character, but we can all pretty much agree the first two solo outings were far from perfect. Even if you are a fan of The Wolverine (which I am) it’s hard to pretend that the movie is flawless, regardless of what “unrated” version you’re watching. Logan however is pretty much a masterpiece. Now I know that statement is bold, may even seem extreme. But as far as what this studio, cast, and crew set out to do, and what they were able to actually achieve, I really do think that level of admiration is deserved.
Logan feels like James Mangold and Hugh Jackman’s love letter to the fans. It is a perfect send off to the character in every way. This movie takes its R rating and fully embraces it, delivering a level a brutality we know surrounds the characters but have never experienced quite like this. This film properly telegraphs exactly how sharp those “adamantium” claws really are. We have always known that it’s painful for Wolverine to break out the claws, but this film really drives it home with the blood and scars. This is just one example of why this film needed to be rated R.
What is really impressive is that all of the blood and gore is not done for shock value but instead used with purpose and intent. Right from the jump the film sets up a situation that provides not only an amazing action scene setting the bar for what we can expect throughout the film but also showcases Logan’s frame of mind as we dive into the story. All done without any silly exposition or stupid dialogue. All within the matter of moments not only did we get a taste of the action but it is made clear that this is a desperate man. A man who is struggling to find a reason to carry on.
The early scenes of the film have our titular character caring for an elderly Charles Xavier, who as far as we can tell has pretty much gone mad, and definitely can’t use his powers. Logan relies on the help from his from mutant buddy Caliban, who as far as we know is pretty much the last of the mutants. The movie never lets itself get bogged down with plot lines from the previous films, but it does make implied references to events and the extinction of the mutant race. In this earlier moments of the film, we get some fantastic banter between Xavier and Logan, which is not only a testament to their outstanding acting but also to how long these two have worked together. Both actors seem to give it their all, knowing how important it is to the fans, and boy do they deliver.
As I mentioned the movie establishes itself fairly quickly, as we are introduced to our main protagonist, a man hunting down a little girl reached out to Logan in desperation. True to the character and his current state of mind, Logan is reluctant to help to say the least. But certain events ensue, circumstances change and Logan has no choice to help Laura, grab his friends and hit the road. A relatively simple yet plot that provides a playground to explore these characters in ways fans have only imagined.
There is no shortage of action when it comes to this film, and I can name a multitude of memorable moments, but I am trying to keep this review as spoiler-free as possible. Lets just say it’s safe to say that despite all the hype I have placed around Jackman and Stewart, it is Dafne Keen’s “Laura” who steals the show. After seeing her first action scene in the film I literally had to pick my jaw drop off the floor (OK, maybe not literally but you get the point). I truly don’t even think fans of the franchise, familiar with the characters are quite ready for the beautiful brutality that is ‘Logan’.
Despite the brutality and jaw-dropping action, this movie at its core is really all about family, making this movie accessible to all audiences, not just comic book fans. The movie’s smaller and more focused plot allows Mangold to tell a heartfelt story surrounding a core group of characters. Every character is essential on this bloody and emotional journey, that really manages to deliver some heartbreaking plot points. I don’t want to turn any potential viewers off by making this movie sound bleak, I am just affirming that the performances seen in this film capture exactly what the the filmmaker was going for.
This is actually one of the rare trilogies where the final chapter is the strongest. This whole trilogy got better with each installment, hitting a huge leap in quality with the release of Logan. Although I am throwing around the term “trilogy”, Logan is very much a stand alone film. If you are not a fan or never saw the previous wolverine flicks, there is no need to rush out and see them before going into this film. If you plan on watching anything in preparation for Logan, I would actually recommend watching the first and second X-Men films and maybe Days of Future Past. These films really help establish and cement the relationship between Logan and Xavier. Not to mention the first one provides a visual reminder that Jackman has been playing this character for 17 years.
I know I am an optimist (sometimes apologist) when it comes to liking films, especially ones that I am invested in as a fan. Trying to put that aside, I can honestly say Logan is my favorite “superhero” movie to date. I know some fans will quickly jump to The Dark Knight which is more than understandable, and prior to the release of this film I would of had to agree. But I believe the performances delivered in Logan, Hugh Jackman in particular is at least on par with those most memorable for TDK. And thats where my biased love for the X-Men franchise kicks in and lean towards Logan as the new standard in the superhero genre.