Logan marks the inevitable end of Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart’s portrayals of both Wolverine and Professor X. Going into the film, I knew that Logan was going to be a slower and more somber ride than usual. I wasn’t expecting it to pull the style off so well, though. Don’t look for huge machines and other worldly villains here; Logan is a comic book film of a very different breed. Although it contains characters that we’ve grown to love over the past decade or so, Logan reintroduces us to a different version of those characters. It’s more of an emotional drama than a super hero film, and it really works. However, Logan has had a huge amount of hype surrounding its release.
Does Logan please fans and casual viewers, or fail to make an impact on the audience?
Several years have past since we last saw Wolverine and Professor X. Once considered the most powerful mutants around, they’ve deteriorated into shells of their former selves. Logan (Hugh Jackman) has traded in his proverbial cape for a limo, which he uses to run a chauffeur service. Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) once held the world’s most dangerous mind, and is slowly losing control of it. They’re hardly super heroes anymore, struggling with mortality and the slow descent towards the end. In an early scene, a woman begs Logan to guarantee her safe travel. Although he dismisses her at first, he’s quickly wrapped into a situation that only the Wolverine can fix.
The film is a combination of Terminator 2 and the massively popular video game, The Last of Us. It’s a relatively long film, clocking in at just over 2 hours. Because of this, Logan takes the time to slow down and give us some great character building. In fact, the movie is much more of a character piece than an action film. Sure, there’s quite a bit of bloody combat (Logan is rated R, after all), but it’s hardly the focus. Instead, Logan sticks to its slower pacing, allowing us to truly empathize with characters. Since the narrative is more about dialogue and emotion than action and explosions, audience members who are new to the X-Men franchise will find Logan just as effective as those who know the entire series.
I don’t want to give too much away concerning the plot, so I’ll stick to what’s in the trailers. Logan is a movie about progression and building upon themes; spoiling any of that will lessen the experience for you. The character-heavy plot is boosted beyond the script thanks to excellent performances across the board. The entire cast works great together, and no one outshines anyone else. Going into Logan, I assumed that the young girl Laura (seen in the trailers) would be the stand out performance. However, she’s much more muted and passive than I expected. This isn’t a shot at her performance, rather a nod of appreciation. Dafne Keen plays Laura excellently, capturing her character’s struggles with ease.
Hugh Jackman plays the best Wolverine he ever has, truly cementing Logan as his best performance in the series. Patrick Stewart also delivers the most emotionally impacting Charles Xavier to date, masterfully handling heavy scenes and important tones. The entire movie’s somber and sometimes depressing tone isn’t just sad, it’s human. The story is easy to relate to, and by the end of the film, I felt like I had grown with the characters. I shed a few tears without a doubt, and many viewers report the same emotions. It’s not just a good movie with a fulfilling story, it’s the end of an era.
The action in Logan is satisfying and realistic. It’s still a comic book film, but that doesn’t mean it glorifies or encourages the violence. Instead, Logan’s amount of bloodshed and graphic violence adds meaning to the fights. Wolverine isn’t a bloodthirsty killer, he’s simply been dealt a bad hand in life. As each battle ensues, the film makes sure to stick around after the action. We witness the reality of these epic fights, and the damage it’s doing to Logan’s body and mind.
Overall, Logan is an excellent film that tugs on your heart strings and has a good moral backbone. Whether you’re a longtime fan of the franchise or a newcomer, the film’s attention to character development and thematic style makes it a rewarding watch. While the story of Wolverine and Professor X might have come to a close, Logan is by far the best way it could’ve ended. As both a send-off to two beloved characters and a standalone drama, Logan exceeds every step of the way. It’s truly a stepping stone for the comic book film genre. It proves the capacity to tell meaningful stories with extraordinary characters we’ve come to love. If you have an inkling of interest in Logan, don’t hesitate. It’s a great film, and one of the best of the year.