The X-Men films are in a funny state right now. After 17 years and nine movies, fans are ready for something new. They’re tired of being fed the same shit over and over. One of the main criticisms of this film franchise is its over-reliance on Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine. Don’t get me wrong, the character is great, but nearly every film is either focused on him or has a reference to him and it’s like, “okay, can we get something else?” So imagine my initial skepticism when 20th Century Fox announced ANOTHER solo Wolverine movie. Yeah, I wasn’t looking forward to it because the last two solo Wolverine movies stunk. But then little by little, details about the film came out, like it was inspired by the graphic novel Old Man Logan and I was cautiously curious. Then the first trailer came out and out and here was my reaction.
To say I was pumped for the movie would be an understatement. The trailer promised us a dour, gritty, Western-like film that’ll set itself apart from the previous X-Men movies. Did we get that? Well, let’s find out. This is Logan.
In the year 2029, mutants are dying out and the X-Men are no more with only a few left alive. Logan is caring for an ailing Professor Xavier near the Mexican border when a mysterious girl shows up with abilities similar to Logan’s and with a shady organization called Transigen after her. Now, both former X-Men must take this girl across the country to the Canadian border to a place where she could be safe. The notable feature of this story is its smaller scale. The stakes in this film are a more personal one. There’s no evil bad guy who wants to destroy or conquer the world like in most comic book movies and that’s a good thing. Sometimes, you need a break from the monotony.
The scale and stakes aren’t the only thing that’s small. The cast is also smaller, which means more character development. Let’s talk about the titular character first. Apparently, this is gonna be Hugh Jackman’s last time playing Wolverine and if that’s true, then this is one hell of a performance to go out on. Logan in this movie is much older and more worn-down. His healing factor doesn’t work as well as it used to, meaning any injury he sustains takes longer to heal and his adamantium skeleton is poisoning him from the inside along with infections. This man is way past his prime and Jackman delivers that well. Patrick Stewart returns as Xavier. The man who inspired and led the X-Men into fighting for a good cause is now broken, suffering from a neuro-degenerative disease that causes him to lose control of his psychic powers, which can be dangerous for anyone close to him. It’s real tragic and Patrick nails it. From what I’ve heard, this is also gonna be the last time he plays Xavier.
And now for the little girl, Laura a.k.a. X-23, played by Dafne Keen. In terms of kid actors, she was great in this role. She was created in a secluded lab using Wolverine’s DNA (which kinda makes her his daughter), so she doesn’t know much about our world. Throughout the first two acts, she didn’t speak at all, yet her expressions defined her character. If there’s a flaw that Logan has, it’s in its villains. Here, we have two villains in Donald Pierce and Zander Rice. Pierce was an entertaining bad guy and presented an actual threat while Rice was phoned-in for a plot twist involving the reason why mutants are dying out. It’s a shame really.
When it was announced that Logan was gonna be rated-R, many fans were excited because we were gonna get the Wolverine we’ve should have gotten. In terms of action, this is the most brutal X-Men movie to date. They don’t hold back with with how gruesome things can get. You have limbs getting cut off, decapitations, brutal impalements, and more emphasis on the gore and blood. This is not a film that you show to the little ones. Plus, with his healing factor decelerating, Logan is more vulnerable, which makes him in peril from dying. Speaking of that, the final third was the best part. Laura is reunited with the other mutant kids who were created in Transigen’s facilities and they head off to a place across the Canadian border called Eden, where they can be safe. Unfortunately, Transignen are after them and tried to kidnap them. Logan shows up to protect the kids and faces off against Transigen and a Wolverine clone named X-24 that they created (yes, it’s weird and silly, but these movies are based off comic books, which are weird and silly by nature). They managed to kill off Transigen, but then after dealing with X-24, Logan dies from his injuries after his healing factor stops working. The kids and Laura mourn him and they move on to Eden, and that’s where the film ends.
Before the movie started, they played a short teaser for Deadpool 2. It had a Superman homage with Deadpool going into a phone booth to change before attempting to save an old guy getting mugged. All of this while the Superman theme was playing in the background. By the time he gets out of the booth, fully-suited, he was too late and the old guy was shot dead. It’s not as hilarious as the Deadpool movie, but it brought out laughs. I was already pumped for Deadpool 2 and this teaser has yet to change that.
I give Logan a 9/10. This is one of the best films in the X-Men franchise, one that could go up against First Class and X2. Jackman and Stewart put their all into their final hurrah as both Wolverine and Xavier. The action leaves you gripping at your seat at the intensity. The cinematography captures a dystopian Western atmosphere that feels near human. Plus, there was a sense of closure. The ending was probably the most appropriate ending for the titular character and to be honest, I hope they retire the character of Wolverine for a good while. I mean, I know that 20th Century Fox will still make X-Men movies as long as they hold the rights, but move on from Wolverine. Take some more chances like Logan and Deadpool. Think about it: does anyone remember X-Men: Apocalypse? If they’re gonna make more R-rated comic-book movies, then I’m down with it.