Suffice to say, MAJOR SPOILERS ahead from here…
Logan has become another surprise in the whole X-Men movie franchise. Not unlike Deadpool last year, Logan turned out to be an ambitious piece of comic book filmmaking that somehow in spite of its dark adult material, has become a surprising success. But as opposed to Deadpool, this movie is all drama and brutal redemption. But what are the big points that made this one of the more fascinating comic book movies in recent memory? Well, I’ll break it down:
Logan Is A Wreck. It’s a smart move that we start seeing our hero (Hugh Jackman) as a hungover wreck of a guy, who can barely pop his claws out, but still able to tear into guys if pushed hard enough. But it does something up front the previous Wolverine solo movie briefly did: make its hero not completely invincible. He has to drink, the metal in him is slowly killing him, and he is ragged and scarred up. It’s easy to see why this appealed to Jackman to do: it’s a take on the character that forces him to examine his past.
Logan has done some pretty horrifying things, but has also serious regrets about his actions. His relationship with Laura (Dafne Keen) certainly helps to humanize and redeem him, but also gives him a reason to keep going. It’s not a surprise the movie Shane comes up as a reference in Logan, because Logan is the legendary gunfighter of this world. That means he has to fight a darker version of himself, but we’ll get to that in a bit…
Logan’s Surrogate Family. It’s surprising to see Logan’s little camp of tortured mutants, mainly Caliban (Stephen Merchant) and Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart), and how they pan out. It’s never directly said about what happened in the history between the X movies and here that caused Mutants to almost vanish from existence, but you have the feeling both of Logan’s roomies have unwilling hands in that apocalypse (to coin a phrase). While Caliban gets taken out of the big road trip with his friends, it’s Charles who gets to hang around for most of this trek. And Stewart seems to relish in playing this unstable and tragic version of this iconic character, his friendship with Logan making up an emotional spine for the movie.
Violence That Hurts. A lot of X-Men fans have been waiting for a more bloody version of Wolverine to pop up in the movies, and they definitely get that in Logan. But besides the copious amount of limbs and heads being slashed at, there’s a dramatic weight to the violence that reminds you how horrifying this all would really play out. And violence is a key theme of this movie, from Logan becoming a surrogate dad to Laura, who is quite the little berserker herself, to trying to instill in her that all of this death has a price tag that’s not necessarily physical.
This echoes a lot of Clint Eastwood’s character in Unforgiven, who is haunted by the violence of his past, but isn’t afraid to barrel into doing it again if the circumstances call for it. And the violence here is merciless, evidenced by that family that puts Logan’s little group up for the night, getting slaughtered by that unstable Logan clone. Even Charles gets a tragic end, finding some peace before briefly thinking his friend may have just killed him.
The Future Western. As I’ve mentioned Shane and Unforgiven here, it’s obvious this is meant to feel like a futuristic Western in the X-Men universe. The director, James Mangold, is no stranger to the genre, having directed the remake of 3:10 to Yuma, a Western that also–SPOILERS for that–deals with the death of a parent at the end too. There’s rarely the sign of a big metropolitan city anywhere here, which lends a pre-dystopian feel to the world around our characters. Yes, there’s nice touches like those drone trucks on the highways, but this is a movie that could easily be set in the present in rural America.
X-23 and X-24. Laura is really one of the standout characters in 2017, being one of the few women that no guy wants to tangle with. But it’s her need for a familial connection that makes Logan’s arc worth watching, as he tries to tell her that there’s more to life than just taking what you want for yourself. She has a family to protect in those mutant kids that have to cross over into Canada, but finds a father in Logan. So when she does lose her dad in Logan, you see a different girl at the end, and hopefully one that won’t make the mistakes of her dad.
What X-24, the Wolverine clone, represents is that truly dark side of the character. He’s younger, crazier, and more powerful, and certainly ratchets up the tension as the movie goes on. There’s no way old man Logan can face down and defeat this younger version of himself, and the movie doesn’t allow him to. The only reason this monster gets stopped is because Logan himself had that adamantium bullet with him that Laura uses to blow its head off. It’s not very subtle using a physical demon to mirror our hero, but it’s effective.
Sacrifices Galore. If this movie is about facing demons of the past, it’s about finding peace for that by saving the lives of others. Redemption for our old heroes although, ends with them quite dead for their trouble. I’m sure the idea of killing Wolverine off here was a bit of a dispute, as he is the biggest character in the whole movie series. But if this is detached from whatever effed up continuity the series has, and is Jackman’s last time as Logan, the character gets a wonderful send-off.
Now for some general pluses and negatives:
–So it’s alluded that, yep, Professor X probably had a seizure years earlier and accidentally killed the X-Men! That’s really rough!
–Funny to see the evil doctor die, shot in the head as he’s monologuing!
–Pearce was an interesting enough bad guy, but once X-24 came in, you could tell he was not gonna be the big event fight for the film’s end. And getting ganged up on with all those young mutants and their powers was pretty good.
–That cell phone video was nicely edited together. I guess future iPhones have video editing software that good.
–Hilarious to witness an attempt to bust through a fence with a car Go not the way it usually does in movies.
–Once I heard her say “Daddy”, you couldn’t stop the waterworks from me.
–That burial cross being turned into an “X”. You couldn’t make a better final shot for this.
–Man, as weird as it was from the movie it was attached to, I’m glad that Deadpool 2 teaser thing is was in front, not at the end of Logan.
These are just a few of my random thoughts on the movie, but please, what are some of your favorite things about Logan? Comment below, and let’s chat…