Posted March 24, 2017
By MICHAEL FRANCA
“Logan” is Marvel’s third and final attempt at a Wolverine spinoff film, as well as Hugh Jackman’s last in the role of Logan. After 10 different appearances as Wolverine, “Logan” proves to be a worthy sendoff for its iconic cast member.
The director and co-writer, James Mangold, provides a fascinating adaptation of the comic “Old Man Logan.”
He shares his refreshing vision of what a comic book movie can be, trading in capes and lasers for grit and humanity. This results in a movie suitable for many audiences, not just those traditionally linked to X-Men movies.
Jackman handles this change with impressive skill, delivering his best performance as Logan while realistically portraying a broken man.
In the over-saturated X-Men franchise, keeping the characters fresh hasn’t always been a strength, but throughout its lengthy run of 10 movies the two most substantial characters have been Logan and Patrick Stewart’s Charles Xavier, or Professor X. Fittingly, this story revolves around their connection and their journey late in life.
The movie opens with Logan at his violent best, graphically tearing apart a handful of clueless criminals. Following this sequence, however, he is weak (by his special standards), showing scars and slow-healing wounds as he removes bullets from his chest. From this point, the film depicts a desolate future, well-removed from the days of the X-Men and their world-saving tendencies.
It takes place in 2029 and we quickly learn that mutants are virtually extinct. Logan, one of the few who remains, is despondent in this bleak future, working as a driver-for-hire and taking care of an old and sick Charles.
Contrary to what the opening scene might suggest, he no longer has any interest in heroism. His only desire seems to be buying a boat for him and Charles to live on, but his plans are thrown away when he is thrust into conflict by a persistent woman, a mysterious child and an evil corporation.
This was an ideal opening to the film as it successfully enforces the idea that “Logan” is the story of a wounded man struggling with an existential crisis rather than the story of a crusading vigilante.
Logan, Charles, and the child – Laura (masterfully played by young Dafne Keen) as we come to know her – are sent on the road where they become a makeshift family. From there the film shifts the focus to their changing relationships while they are pursued.
The connection between Logan and Charles is explored more than it had been in any of the previous X-Men films, allowing the proud characters to be seen in a more vulnerable light.
In a welcomed touch, it is Laura who is perhaps the least vulnerable of the three for the majority of the movie. Her adaptation of the role of Wolverine is fierce; she snarls and attacks with extreme intensity and rage. This makes her casting another standout positive for “Logan.”
Despite Logan’s highlighted emotional depth, there is still plenty of his signature rage on display. And thanks to an R-rating, Mangold and the writers were able to take full advantage of this rage in a way no previous X-Men movies could.
The gore was both abundant and welcomed, as well as visually appealing. It was necessary to include such gore as it served as an accurate representation of what Wolverine is at his core: violent and flawed.
The film also has appropriate scenery and lighting, with much of the movie being placed in a desert, a forest, and a farm, in mostly dark or dim lighting. This matches the tone of the movie and the emotional state of the film’s titular character: dark and isolated.
The score is also fitting, with one particular scene serving as a prime example. During a moment of peace, Raury’s “Devil’s Whisper” subtly foreshadows an immediate turn in fortune for the three protagonists. The song bangs the drum and implores them to run with the haunting refrain, “You better run, run from the devil!”
Ultimately, “Logan” offers something many superhero films lack. It offers a compelling emotional story that is about far more than supernatural abilities and saving the world. It is the story of a man who has dealt with endless loss and tragedy over the course of many lifetimes reaching a low-point emotionally, and the journey that follows his plunge.
This is the perfect end to Jackman’s Wolverine and the best movie in the X-Men franchise to date.
- Actors: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Dafne Keen
- Director: James Mangold
- MPAA rated R
- Genre: Action, drama
- Release Date: March 3, 2017
- Run time: 2 hours, 18 minutes
- Distribution: 20th Century Fox
- My Rating: A