Hugh Jackman has been Wolverine for the last 17 years and he has done a damn good job of it, but, all good things come to an end, including the actor’s legendary run as the character. So, creating a sendoff for such an iconic character would be a colossal task for whoever took it on, but James Mangold has done a near perfect job of it. This review is more or less spoiler free, but if you want to know absolutely nothing about the movie before seeing it, maybe steer clear of this, but I’m not going to be divulging main plot points or anything so don’t worry too much.
Right off the bat, Logan is, possibly the best X-Men movie ever. Despite only featuring two actual X-Men. This is, in part, due to the fact that the movie doesn’t feel like a superhero movie, it feels like a western crossed with a thriller crossed with an ultra violent action movie. The tone is unlike anything seen in a superhero movie before, it feels dark without being depressing, the movie has moments of genuine happiness where you will find yourself laughing with the characters as they smile and have a good time. The movie is light on actual jokes, but the bleak humor suits the tone perfectly, with the laughs coming from places you wouldn’t expect them, with Patrick Stewart delivering a lot of humor as a much more vulgar Charles Xavier compared to anything we’ve seen before.
Logan is a weary character, he’s aged and imperfect. Action sequences are slow and you can see that the man once known as The Wolverine isn’t really able to just run into a cloud of bullets like he has been able to in the past. This gives a feeling of him having to be much more careful, this caution is added to even more by the fact that he has to care for the aged Charles and the mysterious young mutant Laura. The movie shines through the supporting cast, with Dafne Keen making a stunning debut as X-23, capturing her innocence and brutality perfectly, her performance is one of the best in the movie and when compared to the tried and tested formulaic performance delivered by Jackman, she feels like a breath of fresh air and perhaps even outshines him.
That is not to say that Jackman’s final performance as Logan is poor, it’s anything but. He captures the idea of a man who’s done bad things and is having to live with the consequences, he seems broken and hurt, but still maintains the grizzled badassery of the character he has played for so long. Throughout the movie we see Logan do some very un-Wolverine-like things, which helps to distance the movie from its predecessors and reminds the audience of how this is Wolverine without the restrictions of being an X-Man or having to maintain the persona of a hero, this is Logan, trying to keep his family safe at any cost.
The movie has a few villains throughout, many of whom are, unfortunately, pretty forgettable. With the cybernetically enhanced mutant hunters, The Reavers being the standout baddies. Led by Boyd Holbrook’s character Donald Pierce, they provide a tangible threat, but they far too often just feel like meatbags for Logan and X-23 to hack and slash their way through. This is where the movie falls short, whilst the movie puts so much effort into the character drama and the story trying to protect the people he loves, it fails to add any real depth to the people he’s actually protecting them from. Motivations are often left unclear and the screen time of characters like Richard E Grant’s Doctor Rice are left criminally minimal. However, this is not to the extent of the neglect of the Joker in Suicide Squad, the movie makes clear who the bad guys are and what threat they pose, then the story flows from that, the lack of depth is annoying, but not terrible.
Technically speaking, the movie is amazing to look at, with huge wide sweeping shots of beautiful scenery cut with intense closeups. The locations in the movie are stunning, but at times it feels like the movie is just really jumping between action sequences set in various locations. With the movie following a cat and mouse format, this is understandable, but often it feels like we’re seeing the same tedious battles again and again. The addition of R-Rated gore initially adds to the movie, but you stop noticing it pretty quickly, which makes the action scenes fall into the same category as the repetitive fights of 2009’s X-Men Origins. The gore is, on occasion, used to great effect. Most notably during a scene where we watch Logan take on a group of soldiers, we see brutal slow motion kills, that leave little to the imagination. The shot of Logan stabbing his claws through one guy’s skull we saw in the trailer is from this scene and if that looked good to you, then this scene will stand out as amazing.
The predictability of the movie is a real shame, it follows story beats that feel blatant and when the movie does do something shocking, it’s forgotten as quickly as it happened with little to no mention of it after the fact. It feels formulaic, yet this is not entirely a bad thing, since the movie is exactly as good as people wanted it to be, but not much more. It doesn’t feel unsatisfying but it also doesn’t feel like it really pushes the boundaries of what it could be. However, the clever writing and unique style allows the movie to flourish and take something that we as an audience expect, and make something really great out of it.
Logan is not a superhero movie, it’s a move about family, redemption and brutal Adamantium-clawed action. It shines with its astonishing cast, with standout performances coming from some unexpected places, Stephen Merchant’s Caliban is funny, but not just there for comic relief, he brings emotional weight to the film and is instantly likable. Dafne Keen is, as I mentioned before, an amazing young actress and really shines as X-23. Most of all, though, Hugh Jackman is working at his finest as Logan, with emotional weight and brutal action all rolled into one role, a role he plays so well. Logan is the perfect bookend to Jackman’s time as Wolverine and will leave fans talking for possibly years to come. His performance deserves all the praise it can get and I hope when the next award season rolls around, Jackman wins big.
I would recommend Logan to anyone, even if you hate superhero movies. You don’t need to have seen any other X-Men movies to understand it and if you never watch another X-Men movie after you’d be perfectly fine. It’s a self-contained story that stands to counter the age of superhero movies that require you to have seen the previous ten films, it stands out as a masterpiece on its own feet, carried by an amazing cast and brilliant directing and writing. Logan is not perfect, but it’s a damn good movie, outright the best X-Men movie and possibly one of the best superhero movies of all time.
Feel free to discuss your thoughts down in the comments below, but keep it spoiler-free. I might write a spoilery article about what worked and what didn’t work over on Discordia’s Soapbox, but not until the movie has been out for a while. For more content like this, keep it G33k.