Superhero retelling of Shane.
Logan is Hugh Jackman’s final outing as the famous Wolverine from the X-Men series. For the first time, a film centering around Wolverine is rated R, and the more adult focused narrative works well.
I am aware of the messy timeline that has happened with the numerous X-Men films. A potential issue with creating massive and multi-film narratives is that they won’t always fit together. Logan seems to ignore some of these issues by deliberately making a stand-alone narrative. I like this approach, and I suppose my biggest gripe with the comic-book film genre is that they are becoming more like slow-motion television series.
Logan is a strong film. There, I just spoiled the review. Hugh Jackman plays a broken, depressed, and alcoholic Wolverine who wants to die. Wolverine has always been a troubled man, and this movie brings it to a logical head.
Unfortunately, the opening of the film barely works. We have a forced fight scene right at the beginning, which seems to have been done to showcase the new R rating. Look at us, we can have blood and say fuck. Then, we get to watch Wolverine be indifferent to his friends, ignore a call for help, and so forth. The movie could have cropped an easy 15 minutes from this section.
The movie works the best when we have Jackman interacting with his young clone Laura (played by Dafne Keen). It takes too long to get to these moments, but once they do the payoff is worth it. Keen does an excellent job as a young and ruthless mutant who is on the run from a shady government corporation. The two must flee with Charles (Patrick Stewart reprises his excellent role) as they are relentlessly pursued. The trio are likable, and the film resonates on a deeper level due to the audience caring about these people.
Logan operates well on two levels. First, this is an excellent action film. The combat (particularly the first fight with both Laura and Logan working together) is thrilling. The visceral and brutal nature of the fights doesn’t feel like a normal hero fight. Instead, we have limbs being torn, ripped, and blood everywhere. It was nice to see what indestructible claws can actually do.
The second level that this film works on is a human story about time, loss, and redemption. Oddly, this might be the most human we have seen many of the mutants in the series, and this works well. Here the film goes beyond what most people expect in a hero film and into something that speaks to broader issues. I do not know if this film will influence other directors to pursue darker themes, but I think it would be wise to do so.
Logan exists in a world where comic book heroes exist. How real heroes interact with their comic book counterparts is interesting, and delves into the mythos of heroes and the problems of hero-worship as a whole.
Logan shows audiences that genre films can still surprise audiences. Careful directing, writing, and acting create a superhero film that transcends what is expected. It isn’t a perfect movie, with a weak start, odd villain reveals, and not enough time spent on some of the characters, but it is worth watching. 8.25/10