[This article contains some spoilers for the film]
Well that lived up to the hype for me.
When the trailers for Logan dropped I was incredibly pleased but did my best to keep the expectations grounded, especially seeing as the previous two solo entries for this character had utterly failed and fallen way short, in that order. This time though it seemed like everyone involved was determined to do better so that Hugh Jackman could go out (supposedly) on a high note and they could have something to be proud of while showing off the character’s potential. So it was time to put it in the future, away from the other stories, to take inspiration from some of the comics, like Mark Millar’s entertaining Old Man Logan, to adjust the scope, and of course there is the violence with that R rating.
Some people are asking if they should take their ten-year-olds since it is a comic book movie: Nope!
The violence is certainly there and satisfying, but it seemed appropriate with the tone and felt necessary. There were no edgy moments for the sake of shocking the audience or just trying to push a boundary. The story is simple and good focusing on Wolverine and the few associates he has left, keeping the action and conflict high, while not having a story where the whole world or existence itself needs to be threatened. In an odd way, the first two acts are the same as Elektra, but done with actual care. The acting is wonderful on every end and the road trip gives many opportunities for great moments. It’s about relationships, family, loss, and a very topical theme of a Hispanic girl trying to reach safety at the border. This doesn’t mean the action scenes aren’t fantastic and that violence is a wonderful topping. Is this still a superhero movie? More like the modern Western vibe Old Man Logan tried to go for mimicking Unforgiven, but they literally show a part of Shane in the film, that has similar plot points. The real theme here though is that life sucks and everyone learns how to deal with it or they die. The ending works and somehow after a two hour and seventeen minute long movie, I still wanted just a little more. I was glad there was nothing at the end like a hidden scene though, because the last shot is almost welcoming and feels like a true curtain call.
So, make sure you see this one. In the meantime I’m left wondering how this movie shares a universe with X-Men Origins: Wolverine, which is only good in small parts because of the side characters and the interactions between Jackman and Liev Schreiber’s Sabretooth. The second one was much better, but that is against a bar that was set incredibly low. The Wolverine had a great opener and some good character moments that dropped off at the end with lackluster villains and a literal giant robot fight. So how did this colossal jump in quality happen when James Mangold directed both The Wolverine and Logan? Most would say it is the writing, and I get that, but both films even shared one writer, with Mangold taking up some of those responsibilities for Logan as well. So what changed? This may be one of the best examples for why some film makers deserve multiple chances.
There are a few things I thought could have been better about the movie past just trimming a few unneeded elements. Cut out the serum and tighten up the kids part at the end maybe, but my main complaint would be the involvement of X-24 (not a typo of X-23). This clone was thrown in to give a bigger physical threat, but I think Donald Pierce could have filled that role with a few of his upgrades from the comics. This however would cause the big scene with Xavier to need some re-working and I can understand if some might not want to do that, but I think the character added very little. Why is there never any love for Albert? It does seem the writers knew some things needed to be cut though, as I think it was smart they left out the scene that showed the fate of the other X-Men, saying that the audience knows what kind of happened and letting the fans have their own ideas is better. That worked and I’m glad they did it that way.
Logan does a lot that I think many will not expect, like how I never thought I’d hear Patrick Stewart say the words “fucking albino,” and I kind of want that as my ringtone now. All of this seems to have left fans asking where does the franchise go from here? I actually don’t think this will affect it much, as multiple movies are already coming up and there is so much in the X stories to explore. I am okay seeing Logan as its own compelling tale of dark ends and it teaches FOX to focus on character, stories, and scope; hoping they don’t just see this and Deadpool as meaning that everything needs an R rating.
It’s hard to watch our heroes die, but it sure can be fun.