After ‘Logan’, No Other X-Men Film Could Ever Come Close!
No superhero film has moved me like this in quite some time. Sure, I’ve proclaimed my love for ‘Batman v Superman‘ but even that doesn’t touch the near perfection that is ‘Logan‘. I don’t even see how the X-Men franchise can continue.
First, a big shoutout to Hugh Jackman for his 16-plus years as Wolverine! He’s come a long way since 2000’s ‘X-Men‘ and that journey is perfectly finished here. Everything before has led up to this moment. I can honestly say I don’t remember a Hugh Jackman performance with this much heart. Not to take away from his work within this franchise and other films BUT the magic he captured in ‘Logan‘ is breathtaking.
Jackman does well on his own but pair him with seasoned pro Patrick Stewart and newcomer Dafne Keen…you’ve got a recipe for a good time. For me, the bond between Logan and these two characters is the biggest takeaway. Stewart and Jackman have always worked well together; their odd father/son bickering is notable and used here with such sad irony. When they are funny, it’s great but when it’s dark, wow. They don’t pull any punches and it really gives their relationship weight.
Then you get to see Wolverine be a father figure when the mutant Laura crashes into his life. Dafne Keen gets the “introducing” credit in the intro but you’d never guess by her performance and screen presence. Keen just burns in action but can deliver a punchline when needed. She may not speak much during the film but it doesn’t stop her from building a relationship with old man Logan.
“Nature made me a freak. Man made me a weapon. And God made it last too long.”
-Logan (Hugh Jackman)
There’s a beauty in the pain of this film. ‘Logan‘ does a great job of telling a morose and grounded story without making it feel too dry or boring. In the land of superhero films being massive productions, this feels so stripped back. The way everything feels different to its peers is why this is a winner. If you compare this to others in the franchise, it loses that “plastic/cartoony” feeling and gives something grittier. When you compare it to other films in the genre, this is a more mature piece.
That maturity gets help from the R-rating. There’s been tons of talk about the MPAA rating of this film and the influence last year’s ‘Deadpool‘ had on it. Wether you believe that film is the reason we got this or not, ‘Logan‘ EARNED its R-rating way better. The violence in ‘Deadpool‘ compared to this doesn’t match up. There’s some cool moments but anytime there’s blood in ‘Logan‘, it means something! The style of kills lends itself to the insane gore but it never once feels gratuitous. Even when the young Laura is dishing out the kills, it feels needed and not wanted.
Major credit to director James Mangold for bringing everything together masterfully. Mangold said earlier that he took inspiration from films like ‘The Wrestler‘ and ‘The Cowboys‘ and that’s apparent throughout. Those inspirations can be felt in the color palette of the film, as well as the shot composition. The camera never felt like it was trying to re-create comic book scenes but instead tell a very specific kind of story. James Mangold also handles taking iconic X-Men characters and giving them a darker makeover with ease.
Without any doubt, I don’t think there’s an X-Men film better than ‘Logan‘. Other franchises have tried to take superheroes and set them in different genres but this successfully becomes as Western as a John Wayne film. That’s also backed by a spectacular chase movie; it never stop rolling and there’s always a feeling of being hunted.
The movie pushes the limits by delivering some shocking blows but everything feels so right. No moments are wasted in telling this tragically beautiful tale.
Synopsis: 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.
Genre: Superhero (Western/Drama)
Directed By: James Mangold
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Dafne Keen, Patrick Stewart, and Donald Pierce