Logan (2017) Review:
A Superhero Movie Your Dad Will Like.
2009 saw the release of ‘X-Men Origins: Wolverine’. A movie that has been called one of the worst superhero movies of all time. By me. Several times. Despite that movie’s critical failure, there was the release of ‘The Wolverine’ back in 2013. James Mangold was in the director’s chair, and it marked true detachment from the rest of the X-Men franchise. It seemed like a step in the right direction, albeit a half step, with a third act that brings down an otherwise stellar film. If a mostly bad movie and a mostly good movie is what had to happen to bring ‘Logan’ to life, the world is much better for it.
Set in the not too distant future of 2029, ‘Logan’ is an X-Men movie quite unlike any other. Gone are the black jumpsuits and supersonic jets. All that remains is Hugh Jackman, playing Logan for the 8th and final time. Logan must come to terms with his own mortality, something that’s eluded him for the last century or so. Despite wanting nothing more than to be left alone, he’s forced back into acts of heroism, when a young girl, the first mutant to be born in decades, shows up at his doorstep. Logan must take her to a place safe for their kind. One that may or may not exist.
On that journey, you’ll also find an aged and decrepit Professor Xavier, played once again by Patrick Stewart. Stewart’s been playing Charles Xavier for 17 years, over the course of 6 films. It’s only in this film that both he gets to show their true strengths. He’s always been one of the best elements of the franchise, but his role in this movie digs a little deeper than the all knowing Professor X. The most drastic thing about ‘Logan’ is how much more mature it is than the other films in the franchise. It’s the second X-Men film to get an R rating, but it uses it for a different kind of brutality than 2016’s ‘Deadpool’.
With ‘Logan’ you don’t root for violence. Every time Wolverine’s claws come out, there’s a disappointment that it couldn’t be avoided. Every act of rage has weight to it. A weight which the movie takes its time to make you feel. The movie is a slow burn at times, but it’s far from paced poorly. Every down moment is one where the movie serves the characters.
You see Wolverine with a level of vulnerability not often afforded to indestructible men. Hugh Jackman plays the role with more subtlety than he ever has. He gives it an authenticity, with micro expressions that seem to just come to him naturally, and go a long way in making Logan feel real. Speaking of understated performances, ‘Logan’ also features a chilling performance by young Dafne Keen. She plays the young mutant under Logan’s protection. Much of the movie rests on her young shoulders, but damn does she carry it.
I was floored at several points, something usually achieved by an actions sequence. This time it was the way the movie treated its mature content. With potency that demanded sincere attention and respect. ‘Logan’ handles ideas of mortality, immigration, drug use and refuge with absolute class. It has a resonance that is unmatched in its field, with a story that heartbreakingly feels so close to our own reality at times.
‘Logan’ is a superhero movie that almost feels like it doesn’t want to be one. It’s not concerned with sequels, merchandising, or continuity for that matter. It simply wants to be a good film. It’s not riddled with explosions, or an end of the world plot. Its characters might be supernatural, but they feel utterly human. It’s jaw-droppingly good at the things it does, and uncannily what it does is join the ranks of the greatest superhero movies of all time.
Rating: Very High Big Screen Watch