Comic book characters don’t age. That’s doubly true for the X-Men’s Wolverine aka James Howlett aka Logan. As he’s a mutant with an accelerated healing factor, he doesn’t show any signs of aging despite living for around a century. The same can’t be said for Hugh Jackman, the man who’s been taking up the role of Wolverine/Logan since the first X-Men movie. That was roughly 16 years ago and, while he still looks great, he’s starting to show his age.
When it was announced that the upcoming Logan was Hugh Jackman’s last time to don the claws, it made total sense. Also, Wolverine actually died in the Marvel 616 continuity a while back. So, it looks like it a fine time to close the book on Marvel’s most popular mutant and that seems to be the case for Logan, the latest and possibly the last film to feature the character. But will it give us a satisfying conclusion?
The short version: Logan is pretty good and it does satisfyingly give closure to Logan’s life and story. However, the movie does have some huge flaws that does keep it from being a thoroughly satisfying film. Of course, since a lot of you may not have seen Logan yet, this will be a SPOILER FREE review.
Logan takes place some years in the future. The X-Men have disbanded and Logan works as a driver/chauffeur to make money to pay for Charles Xavier’s medication. Time hasn’t been good to the duo as Wolverine’s once legendary healing factor is now failing him and Xavier is starting to get a bit senile in his old age. They eventually gets roped into a job to take care of a mysterious 11-year old girl who, as you can see from the trailer above, has the same abilities as Wolverine. The girl, Laura, is being hunted down by a company known as Transigen, and Logan and Xavier do their best to protect Laura from them.
First thing I have to address is the film’s R-rating. Thanks to Deadpool, which showed that R-rated films can make it big at the box office, Logan decided to follow suit. And, boy, did it earn its R-rating! The violence is still rather cartoony and over the top is the same way Deadpool was. But it feels a little more visceral in Logan as they don’t make light of the violence. Whenever there’s a fight in Logan, you can bet there are going to be a bunch of dudes who are going to be dismembered and decapitated and it’s glorious! Most fight scenes are brutal but, when you have a couple of people with enhanced strength and have claws built into their arms, there was bound to be some really bloody scenes.
The heroes also give a really top notch performance. Hugh Jackman looks right at home playing the really grizzled Logan. However, he adds a few nice subtle touches here and there to show that, while Wolverine is still a badass and can take a beating, the toll of all those battles are starting to get to him. He even walks with a slight limp to show that Logan is just not the same. Patrick Stewart is great as the
octogenarian nonagenarian former headmaster of the School for Gifted Youngsters, Charles Xavier. He gives a fantastic performance as a person with a once great intellect who is now struggling due to his failing mind. There is some chemistry between the two actors but it was lacking at times for some strange reason. Still, their performances still shine through and give a great gravitas to the bleak world they currently live in.
I will say I also enjoyed Stephen Merchant’s performance as Caliban, the albino mutant who takes care of Xavier while Logan is at work. It’s not a substantial role in the sense that he doesn’t really have that much screen time but there is a deepness to the character as he acts as the more sensible characters. Considering that Stephen Merchant is mostly known for being a comedic actor and not for his serious roles, making him play a rather tragic character should’ve been a huge miss but it totally works in Logan.
However, the actor that pulls off the best performance in Logan is, hands down, Dafne Keen as Laura/X-23. She doesn’t really talk all that much and a lot of what she says is just screaming while she disembowels someone. but her performance as the 11-year old ball of rage is just phenomenal. Most of the time, she’s just using her eyes to express herself. There’s just something about the way her eyes are and how she stares at you that just works as the super deadly X-23. I would love to see Dafne Keen in more roles in the future as I think she’s one actress to look out for.
While the heroes are given really meaty roles and Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Stephen Merchant and Dafne Keen played Logan, Xavier, Caliban and Laura/X-23 perfectly, the same can’t be said for the villains and the supporting cast. It’s not that their performances are bad, mind you. The problem is that they feel like generic characters. There’s just nothing really identifiable that makes them stand out, which is in stark contrast with the heroes. I, for the life of me, can’tgive you any of the names of the bad guys since they just don’t make an impact. The only reason why they feel menacing is that they’re just so many of them. If it weren’t for their sheer numbers, I would believe Logan and X-23 would’ve made literal mincemeat out of them easily.
The plot and the flow of Logan is pretty good for the most part but falters greatly during third act. The story worked for me because it didn’t really feel like your typical superhero film and it felt really refreshing. There wasn’t anyone to save. There wasn’t any over the top villain who wanted to take over the world. This was just an action movie where a guy reluctantly becomes a hero. It gave Logan a really nice grounded tone and it worked. At the start, anyway.
Near the end, however, Logan then devolves into a rather generic superhero film, where the villains start utilizing comic book tropes to combat Logan and, well, it kind of sucked. The tone changed from really being a somber story to something almost over-the-top. It doesn’t make the film into a bad movie but it just felt weird, almost like the writer was stumped on what to do or they needed to do it to appease the producers/studio. They introduce a whole bunch of elements that felt out of place with the feel of what they were going for initially. It also slows down rather drastically around this point as well, which didn’t help.
Even with those missteps, Logan is a wonderful send off for Hugh Jackman and his time acting as the legendary mutant. The action is brutal and exciting, the performances of the main protagonists, especially Dafne Keen, are great and the tone of the film, for the most part, is good. Logan has generic villains and a rather sloppy third act but they aren’t dealbreakers that destroy the film. I definitely recommend you give Logan a watch.
Have you seen Logan? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments section below!