In the near future, a weary Logan cares for an ailing Professor X in a hide out on the Mexican border. But Logan’s attempts to hide from the world and his legacy are up-ended when a young mutant arrives, being pursued by dark forces.
Where do I begin? ‘Logan’ is one hell of a film. From start to finish there’s a feeling that Mangold and Jackman are really pushing themselves to the limit. There’s no messing around in this film as every moment is packed to the gills with character and/or action. In doing so they’re able to create a satisfying swan song to the two longest serving ‘X-Men’ cast members.
The story of ‘Logan’ is fairly simple however the synopsis does it no justice. There are so many layers to the film, each one builds up from the basic premise to create a complexly layered yet strongly emotional tale. Mangold and scriptwriter David James Kelly make it abundantly clear they are aware of their audience. There’s little room for the uninformed to catch up with several major plot points. A great example is Logan’s ailing health, it’s not explicitly stated for much of the film that this is down to his failing powers and adamantium poisoning. Amazingly it doesn’t matter. The film is simply too great for even the most casual of viewers not to find something to enjoy.
Hugh Jackman deserves a standing ovation for his performance. This is Logan at his most beaten down, his most desperate and his most vulnerable. There are the typical Wolverine moments that any fan would expect but then there is so much more. He brings a level of emotion we’ve never seen before which propels the film in to a whole new level of class. Easily some of his finest work.
Comic book films are often derided for their poorly constructed villains. One only need look at films like ‘Suicide Squad’ or any recent Marvel film to see how villains can be overcooked. ‘Logan’ bucks that trend perfectly. Boyd Holbrook’s Pierce gets very little backstory throughout the film. He has a clear purpose in the story which is made evident in his first scene. For the remainder of the film he only exists to carry out that purpose. Each time he comes in to conflict with Logan we respect his character less-and-less. His appearance never graduates beyond antagonist. He is arrogant, gritty and often just plain nasty. A great bit of casting.
Similarly Richard E. Grant fails to appear as Dr. Rice for more than half the film. Yet when he does we already know the reasoning behind his actions. Once again little time is spent developing a backstory beyond what is necessary. The focus is successfully never pulled from Logan, Xavier and Laura save for when Caliban appears on screen.
Patrick Stewart is simply amazing as a 90+ years old Charles Xavier. He is heartbreaking and funny all in one breath. This is his best work in the ‘X-Men’ world. Saying goodbye to him is one of the hardest moments as a viewer watching this film.
There’s little to be said about Dafne Keen. She packs a punch and is intriguing to watch. Not only can she emote but she can kick butt. Stephen Merchant never loses his Bristolian accent yet it only adds charm to his Caliban. There’s a futility to his character which sits well with the films overall tone.
Speaking of tone it is perfectly consistent throughout. There’s an overarching feeling of ‘one last time’ to this film. From Logan’s mission to the inclusion of Professor X it’s abundantly clear all involved are there for the love of the characters. Referencing the 1953 Western ‘Shane’ throughout only helps to solidify the point. James Mangold has often referred to ‘Logan’ as a Western and ‘Shane’ is the perfect allegory for Wolverine’s final outing.
At times the pacing of the film goes a little off-kilter. Transitioning from the films second act in to the third leads to a drawn out sequence at the Eden location. The story makes it entirely necessary for this sequence to take place but it doesn’t make it any less drawn out. Those moments aside ‘Logan’ is an incredibly well paced movie which makes to satisfy audiences looking for action as well as those looking for character.
What is most striking about ‘Logan’ is the sheer amount of characters involved. The cast is overstuffed with them. From the children of Transigen to the Reavers, Logan, Charles Xavier, Laura, Caliban and the Munsons there’s a lot of people to meet. Amazingly Mangold manages the cast like a pro. The mainstream ‘X-Men’ films often feel like a fight for the leads to get screen time. Here the characters are all given room to breathe and that is thanks to the top notch writing and the 137min runtime.
‘Logan’ never feels overlong. Likewise I didn’t feel shortchanged. The ending, poignant as it may be, feels a little like ripping off a bandaid. It comes all to fast and you will never feel ready.
The action is perfectly in line with the R-rating. It’s bloody, it’s violent and the body count it high. In that vein ‘Logan’ is similar to ‘Deadpool’ but where the two differ is in the execution. ‘Logan’ is able to handle the violence with a level of maturity that really lifts the comic book genre to new heights. Jackman also clearly enjoyed the ability to drop F-bombs as there are countless ones throughout.
Special effects are kept to a minimum. This film is very hands on and grounded so the special effects are only used to augment and enhance the environment. It’s a nice break from the usual summer tentpole, green screen melee that audiences are used to. Kudos to Jackman and Mangold for creating something genuinely different and engaging.
The soundtrack is provided by Marco Beltrami. He is able to create a musical landscape which enhances the films overall aesthetic. Quite moments feature simple, beautiful moments of huge emotional depth. Yet he is also able to make fight scenes soar with heavy drum beats and a much brasher pace. It hardly breaks new ground but certainly accompanies the visuals perfectly.
‘Logan’ is awesome. There’s very little else that needs to be said. It’s the perfect ending for both Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart. Both are given emotional goodbyes. It’s a satisfying ending to 17 years of Wolverine and Professor X. Thanks for the memories guys.
‘Logan’ stars Hugh Jackman, Sir Patrick Stewart, Dafne Keen, Boyd Holbrook, Eriq La Salle, Stephen Merchant, Elise Neal and Elizabeth Rodriguez & Richard E. Grant. The film is directed by James Mangol and scripted by David James Kelly.