We’ve been waiting for it for months, and the time is finally here! The long-awaited, R-rated Logan is set to hit theaters this weekend, which had me sprinting to my closest theater to see it for myself. The following review will be spoiler free.
Logan is directed by James Mangold and once again stars Hugh Jackman as Wolverine and Patrick Stewart as Professor X along with newcomer Dafne Keen as Laura. The year is 2029 and Logan is in poor shape. His healing factor has severely declined, causing his body to be scarred all over. In an attempt to lay low, Logan gets a job as a limousine driver in the Southwest while saving up his money to be able to buy a boat with Charles, who also is in pretty rough shape. However, before he can head out to sea, Logan gets caught up in the plight of the young Laura as she attempts to flee from a nefarious foe, leading to some disastrous results.
Although everyone’s excitement level leading up to the release of Logan was most definitely high, there was also some bittersweet feelings involved as well since Hugh Jackman has made it abundantly clear that this is the last time he will play Wolverine in a film. Whether you believe him or not is entirely up to you, but the creative team behind the movie certainly set up for Logan to be Jackman’s swan song, making the movie the first R-rated Wolverine movie to finally give the character justice while pulling story threads from the popular Wolverine comic book story line, “Old Man Logan.”
The trailers released for the movie definitely gave that darker, grittier feel that fans of the Wolverine character were hoping for (it was certainly a change from watching Wolverine fight the Blob in a boxing ring while will.i.am watched). James Mangold exclaimed that this movie would certainly be a departure from the typical superhero movie, saying that he would only make the film if the studio kept its meddling to a minimum, allowing him to create a disconnected, different take on the franchise that can stand alone without worrying about setting up future movies. It’s always intriguing to see when a director attempts to make a movie that alters genre norms.
After two hours and fifteen minutes, I left the theater in awe of what Logan was able to accomplish.
I need to give credit to James Mangold and Fox Studios for the creation of this film. Logan was a major risk, so Fox is certainly deserves praise for allowing James Mangold to see out his vision in a time where all we hear about is studios getting too heavily involved in the production of massive superhero movies like Suicide Squad or Batman V Superman. Logan is unlike any superhero movie I’ve seen, almost playing like an independent film at times when the pacing of the movie dips down to give solid characterization. James Mangold’s vision for this movie is incredibly bold, pulling no punches (the crowd left in silence as the end credits came over the screen). The film certainly earns its R-rating, but the violence is never gratuitous, it fits for the material on screen. There’s also no massive end of the world stakes that the film resorts to in its final act, allowing for the performances of each character to shine.
The performances by Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart are out of control. Not only do we get to see Wolverine slice and dice people like never before because of the R-rating, we also get a very nuanced performance that we have yet to see from the character. Wolverine is very damaged at this point, struggling to continue living until he finds his purpose in this film, but even then he’s still reluctant. Jackman is so subtle yet powerful, which contrasts mightily to Patrick Stewart who is really tough to watch at points in the movie (which is one of the highest compliments I can give Stewart). Seeing a much older, ailing Charles Xavier played well with the overall tone of Logan, but also added a lot weight to the storytelling that James Mangold created. I know it’s March, but I’m heavily entrenched as the leader of the movement to get Patrick Stewart an Oscar for best supporting actor, because he is THAT good in this film.
Logan achieves dramatic depth unlike any superhero movie in a long time (maybe since The Dark Knight), bringing you to tears in a couple instances throughout the film. The film trusts its audience to be invested in the characters, having much time between action set pieces to set up character motives. You understand each character, so when the action does occur, it becomes even more emotional and gripping. Logan is proof that we don’t need a city falling from the sky a la Avengers: Age of Ultron to be riveted by action.
Although the film stands alone from the other X-Men films, Mangold definitely adds some nice little moments that honor the legacy of Hugh Jackman as Wolverine while not becoming overbearing. Every nod to Jackman’s character is very subtle, such as instruments in the score sounding similar to bagpipes as to simulate the end of an era. Everything about Logan is very tasteful, leading to a satisfying, deep ride of the film. Logan, while a self-contained story, is clearly a melancholy celebration of the joy that Hugh Jackman has given us as Wolverine for the past seventeen years.
So overall, Logan is easily one of the best superhero films of recent memory. It’s emotional, gripping, and incredibly tense. The film isn’t afraid to take risks, which results in an immensely satisfying movie that will stand the test of time. Logan gets an A+. If this film isn’t in my top five movies at the end of the year, then we’re in for an amazing year in film.
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