‘Logan‘ is not the “New Dark Knight” that some people are saying, but it is still the best movie about comic book characters we’ve had since. Click through to read my full review
The basic outline of ‘Logan‘ is that Wolverine is not the guy we used to know in the year 2029. He’s older, weaker, slower. The mutants have been, for the most part, completely wiped out and there haven’t been any new mutants for the last 15 years. Logan is now going by his birth name, James Howlett, in Texas where he is a limo driver for really annoying people. He lives just south of the border with a fellow mutant Calliban (Stephen Merchant), and the very old and sick Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart). Some stuff happens that forces a young girl named Laura (Dafne Keen) to fall into their lap. Which then leads a very charming Donald Pierce (Boyd Holbrook) and his military to come after them. And that is all you need to know prior to seeing the movie.
This is the final movie for the Hugh Jackman era of Wolverine. He’s been playing the character audiences have come to know and love since the first X-Men movie in 2000. And this movie gives both the actor and the character the send off that they deserve that truly shows what a director/writers can do when they’re freed of a PG-13 rating and don’t have to build a universe or setup a sequel/spin-off. Which might be the most refreshing part in todays landscape of superhero movie universes.
This film is very R-rated. It fully unleashes the Wolverine in his most brutal and violent inclinations. And everybody is swearing away. But, the movie wasn’t made with an R-rating just to make teenage boys excited at blood and hearing their hero say “Fuck.” My theater didn’t seem to grasp what kind of movie they were watching. They thought they were just seeing another random MCU film with “funny dialogue” and “awesome hero shots.” They just wanted to applaud things they thought were cool because VIOLENCE! That is not this movie. In the slightest. It is very much a separation of what those movies are. It’s the first X-Men movie to actually put the characters and story before everything else. Every time there is a fight it has a lot of weight behind it and it is for the purpose of driving the story forward. There was actual danger and urgency for our characters. There was no “plot shield” or the knowledge of being confirmed for a sequel or still having movies left on their contract. And that’s something that hasn’t been in the genre probably since the first X-Men movie rolled around.
But, the heart and soul of the movie comes from the three main leads. Logan, Laura, and Charles. They are the beating life force of the whole story and they demanded a lot out of the actors playing them. And boy did the actors deliver. Patrick Stewart is wonderful as the senile Charles and was clearly having fun really digging into the side of a character that he’s never had a chance to explore in his time playing the character. He is still the sweet and gentle Charles that we already know, but know he gets to add on layers of bitterness, anger, sadness, and fear. His performance is definitely the best work he’s put in his almost two decades of the X-Men franchise. And Jackman gives the best performance I’ve ever seen from him in his career. He truly understands the man and the animal that is Wolverine. And he gives this movie everything he has with all his might. But, the true star of the movie is Dafne Keen. This young girl was somehow able to keep up with these actors who are at the top of their game and even go beyond. Her physicality in the role is most impressive and she was very believable as a bad ass that you do not want to fuck with. But, it was her smaller moments when things were quiet where she truly shined. I have a feeling she will be a big star.
I have a few tiny problems with the movie, but the only one worth noting is that it is a little too long. But, overall the movie is excellent. Is it going to change the way the superhero genre is done? Doubtful. Is it going to change the way Fox handles their future X-Men movies? Maybe. Did it dethrone ‘The Dark Knight‘ as the best movie to be made about a comic book character? No. But, all that doesn’t mean this movie isn’t a triumph. ‘The Dark Knight‘ is the highest the bar has ever been put for the genre and this comes close. Which is the highest compliment I can give. It’s a movie that truly shows what can be done when very talented and creative people are allowed to be talented and creative. Too many movies are meant to please everyone because at the end of the day it is still a business. But, when you’re allowed to make your version of something and it is made from passion and love the audience will respond in kind. Thank you to Fox for trusting these people because what we got is a product that is absolutely beautiful.
‘Logan‘ is directed by James Mangold and is in theaters on March 3rd.