Before I begin to pour out my thoughts in the form of an emotional roller coaster, let me start off by telling you that I had the great opportunity of watching Logan on the night of 28th of February at my local cinema theater’s pre-release night screening with an odd showtime of 10.23pm. It was only until a couple of days after watching the film that I realised it was intentionally timed that way in honour of the young girl’s character in the movie, named Laura aka X-23, X being the roman numeral depicting the number 10. (Yeah, I think I found it cool)
Having watched the movie twice now, I feel the movie tends to hit me harder the second time. The first watch was all about the experience of witnessing the tragically degrading story of one of your most beloved comic book characters of all time, and the second watch brought about the angst of having to cope with the fact that Hugh Jackman, the legend that he is, was hanging his boots as playing Logan for the last time.
Yep, its been 17 years of Hugh Jackman playing this iconic X-Men character ever since he took up the role of Wolverine in X-Men (2000). It is safe to say that he has been a profound presence during most of our lives growing up from toddlers to the adults that we are today, and it was because of Hugh Jackman that today we describe Wolverine as one of the most iconic comic book movie characters that greatly impacted our childhood and teenage-years, amongst the likes of Spider-Man, Superman, Batman, and Iron Man.
Logan (2017) is set in 2029, and the world in this setting isn’t as utopian as it was left off towards the end of X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014), when it showed Logan arriving in a perfect world without sentinels and undesirable events in the year 2023, and as many fans and critics have discussed, Logan is believed to have continued in that timeline, which raises many questions about the destructive events that have led to a deplorable state of mutants in 2029. Logan is shown to be an older, degrading Wolverine whose healing powers seem to be on the decline and hence, works as an alcoholic limo driver trying to make ends meet and earn enough to buy medication for a deteriorating Professor Charles Xavier. Loosely based on the Old Man Logan Marvel comics, the story in the film was made sure to stay as grounded to reality as possible, and in my opinion, director James Mangold, who also directed the standalone movie The Wolverine (2013), has made that work out beautifully by neither over-exaggerating the action sequences nor glorifying supervillains – something most superhero films of the genre entail. As events unfold, we’re introduced to the character of Laura aka X-23, who is believed to be an artificially generated mutant created from Logan’s DNA, hence giving her powers exactly like him and more importantly, making her Logan’s daughter. The rest of the movie follows an emotionally-driven road trip with Professor X and Logan protecting Laura from villainous characters and helping her find a save haven away from harm.
Charles Xavier: “This is what life looks like: people love each other. You should take a moment..”
The film is built on the foundations of the importance of family clearly depicting the father-son relationship between Charles Xavier and Logan, and later the building relationship between father-daughter. Moreover, the squabbles and the fidgeting between the three characters makes it all the more believable of a genuine family portrayal.
The R-rating approved by Fox, following the unimaginable success and reception of Deadpool last year, gave the film much-needed breathing space to include the violence and gore expected to slush out of those adamantium claws. Mangold definitely used the R-rating well by not over-utilising its advantage and making sure the swearing was appropriately set in. Personally, it was quite entertaining to witness Professor Charles Xavier drop the F-bombs in the movie after having respected the innocence and maturity of the character in all these years!
As far as acting goes, truthfully, there is nothing but praises to Hugh Jackman and Sir Patrick Stewart reprising their respective roles as Logan and Professor Xavier. They gave impeccable performances and great justice to their rusting and deteriorating characters, making the viewers relate to the character’s wear and tear and their exhaustion over the years as they survive the world with nothing but love and care for each other. Dafne Keen as Laura was brilliant in her own way, effervescing of cuteness and innocence but being deadly and vicious inside. Boyd Holbrook as the negative role was commendable, and so was Stephen Merchant as Caliban.
As far as a few loopholes go, I did find some faults in the score in certain areas mainly towards the third act action sequences: they felt patchy at times and didn’t seem to build up towards the unfolding of what could be considered the climax of the film. The plot seemed to get a bit slow in the middle of the film, which in my best guess was to focus on the growth of the relationship between the characters, but after which it suddenly rushed into the final act.
Spoiler Warning: As most Wolverine comic book fans are showing slight dislike towards the introduction of an “anti-Wolverine” nemesis that goes by the name X-24 in the movie, I don’t feel it deserves the hate. I am indifferent towards the decision to include the character, but in my opinion, it was probably needed to include the much needed “equality” in battle, and to some extent, the movie IS all about Logan fighting himself – the man that he has turned out to be.
To sum up, it is the best X-Men film and probably the best superhero film I’ve seen in a while, and definitely the most relatable and seemingly-real story in this genre. Yes, it was bawl-worthy and the tissues will come flowing out as the era of Hugh Jackman as Logan comes to a heart-wrenching end. While the character of Wolverine continues to be a popular icon amongst the fans around the world, it will probably be reprised by other talented actors but it is safe to say, no one will come anywhere close to the legendary stature of Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine. Logan proved it to us. It also proved to us that sometimes, the greatness of superhero movies doesn’t lie in the big battles and alien portals, but in the small things that matter.
Logan: “Nature made me a freak. Man made me a weapon. And God made it last too long.”
Reel Rating: 9/10