‘Logan’ Film Review
Hugh Jackman is Wolverine. Few actors are so closely associated with an iconic character, but all good things must come to an end and Logan marks the end of an era.
Logan is an experience unlike any other X-Men movie. The action is secondary to the characters and the destination is secondary to the journey. Touted as the final X-Men film to star Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, Logan closes the book on a surprisingly emotional note. This final adventure, a rated R movie, explores a world where mutants are on the brink of extinction. Wolverine’s friends are dead, his adamantium skeleton is poisoning him and he must care for a dangerous Professor Xavier (Patrick Stewart) — the latter of whom is struggling to control his powers due to a degenerative disease. Slogging through this miserable life, Wolverine finds renewed purpose following the arrival of a young mutant girl.
A peculiar superhero film, Logan has been met with both critical acclaim and indifference. Several critics suggest the movie should be the first superhero film to receive a Best Picture nomination, citing the film’s emotionally heavy story. Others believe the movie went too long and struggled to maintain momentum. I am of the latter.
Make no mistake, this is by far the best movie in director James Mangold’s Wolverine trilogy. It also presents the best performances and emotional weight of any X-Men movie to date. The relationship between Wolverine and Xavier is sincere, you get the sense that actors Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart are really cherishing their final scenes together. Most importantly is the undeniable chemistry between Jackman and Dafne Keen, who plays the mysterious young mutant X-23. A real star-making performance.
Logan may be Wolverine’s swan song, but the film gives birth to a brand new star in 11 or 12-year-old (unconfirmed) Keen — whose performance rivals that of her veteran co-stars. As a mute killing machine, X-23 is violent and primal. When she finally speaks, X-23 is surprisingly hilarious. Fingers crossed the young mutant can sink her teeth, or claws, into more X-Men baddies in future films.
Speaking of action, Logan is by far the most gruesome superhero movie to date. The R-Rating — which Jackman took a pay cut to secure — really pays off. The kills are brutal, gory affairs that really add to the film’s serious tone. There is one slow motion scene in particular that had me picking my jaw off the theatre floor.
Unfortunately, Logan was not quite perfect. The movie was at least 15 or 20 minutes longer than it really needed to be and the film’s villains were the typical bland bad guys audiences have come to expect from the Wolverine solo franchise. These are minor gripes however.
What was unforgivable and really knocked the movie down a few pegs is the disrespect shown for the characters. It should be no secret that Logan is a film of finality and as such certain characters are going to die. In an attempt to pack in more action, the movie quickly brushes over the death of one of the film’s main protagonists with little care. There was no time to sink in how emotionally significant that death was before the audience was thrust back into the action. Even the film’s final scene felt somewhat lacking.
Logan is a fitting end to the 17 year journey of Hugh Jackman and Wolverine. The movie has a dark, emotionally heavy tone not seen since 2008’s The Dark Knight. The story is relatable and the performances are top class, but despite its many successes Logan failed to do right by the characters that have anchored the X-Men franchise for nearly two decades.
*The Shak Rating System:
5 - Film of the Century
4.5 - Acadamy Award-Worthy
4 - (One of) The Year’s Top Movies
3.5 - Worth Price of Admission
3 - See it on a Tuesday
2.5 – Let Someone Else Buy Your Ticket
2 - Maybe After a Few Drinks
1.5- Are You Sure You Have Nothing Better to Do Tonight?
1 - The Movie Equivalent of a Zombie Bite