Logan is directed by James Mangold (Walk the Line, 3:10 to Yuma), and is the tenth film in Twentieth Century Fox’s X-Men film series. The movie stars Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Stephen Merchant, and Dafne Keen. The film’s musical score is by Marco Beltrami.
Set in the late 2020s, Logan takes place some time in the future from earlier X-Men film installments. Wolverine/Logan has aged, and his healing factor is not what it once was. In a dystopian future, he takes driving jobs for money, caring for an aging and senile Charles Xavier, who has become delusional and dangerous. Very few mutants remain, and when hunters come looking for a mysterious young girl with a connection to our hero, the trio must set out on the run to escape to a safe haven, far from the prying eyes of a deadly organization trying to cover up secrets. An aging, vulnerable Logan finds himself not only in the midst of discovering a conspiracy involving genetically engineered mutant children, but also a deadly, powerful new being created by the same organization.
Let me get this off my chest right away – As much as I like Twentieth Century Fox’s X-Men film franchise, and Hugh Jackman’s portrayal of Logan/Wolverine, the series has had its missteps, and the previous two Wolverine solo outings, X-Men Origins Wolverine and The Wolverine, ranked amongst my least favorite films in the series. The former was an unnecessary origin story that did not tell us much that we did not already know, and the latter was a more stripped down affair, but had countless uninteresting human characters to keep track of, and a CGI hell finale that butchered an already mundane film.
Logan rectifies this with a vengeance, taking the elements from those two movies that actually worked, and moving in a new and even more brutal direction. This is the first proper X-Men film (not counting the more comedic Deadpool) to get an R rating for its theatrical release, and Mangold’s film is all the more brutal and unflinching for it. The new film easily ranks in the upper tier of Fox’s X-Men films, and never lets up in its two hour plus duration. It is not a perfect film, with a few minor spots that get bogged down and dragged out in its midsection, and some fairly bland villains, but the good by far outweighs the bad this time around.
Put simply, this is the film the first two Logan/Wolverine solo outings SHOULD have been.
Hugh Jackman started playing Wolverine nearly 20 years ago (feel old yet?) This was casting that comic book purists argued would not work; Jackman has slain the naysayers time and time again. The quintessential “outlaw” mutant hero who has more to him than meets the eye; he has always stolen the show, even in the less than stellar movies. Logan may be his best performance as the character, revealing a more fragile and uncertain Wolverine, who is no longer as nimble or capable of healing himself as he once was. It has been stated on several occasions that this will be Jackman’s final performance as the character. Let me be one to say, if this is the last time he portrays this classic X-Man, this is the “send off” that the character deserves.
Patrick Stewart fares just as well, even though this is Jackman’s movie first and foremost. Stewart too has announced that this will be his last appearance in an X-Men movie, but he too gives a lasting impression that makes for a promising send off. The real stand-out in the cast is the young Dafne Keen, who will make an impact on viewers in more ways than one; I will not spoil anything here. But I assure you, regardless of your feelings on the film itself, you will not forget her performance.
The scenery and atmosphere of the film rank amongst its greatest assets. Other X-Men films portrayed a science fiction future that was overly technological and used heavy CGI for world building and the special effects. Logan takes the opposite approach; this could very well be the real world we end up seeing in the late 2020s, in many regards. The movie makes minimal use of CGI and is more “low key” than the other X-Men movies; this approach works wonders for Logan, making it one of the most visually striking of all films in the X-Men franchise, and doing so without going over the top with computer graphics.
On a similar note, it must be mentioned that this is NOT a children’s film. Logan has been rated R by the MPAA, and earns this rating. Posters and signs stressing this fact were on the wall of the box office of the theater where I saw the movie. We have seen Wolverine going nuts with his claws on the bad guys before, but this is easily the most brutal portrayal of the character on the big screen to date. It is bloody and violent, with decapitations and impaling being commonplace in the movie’s actual scenes. Again, I stress the fact that this is a great movie, but you will probably want to leave the kids at home this time around.
In Logan, the title character’s long and grueling life comes full circle, and Hugh Jackman gives a portrayal for the ages. Not every X-Men movie (especially not the previous two Wolverine solo outings) has been a masterpiece, but this rectifies past wrongs and is a beautiful and bloody send-off for Hugh Jackman’s portrayal of the character. Absolute highest recommendations for Logan, but once again, leave your children at home.
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