Spoiler Free Logan Review: Heavy, Heart-Pounding, Jackman’s Best
We’ve known for a long time now that Logan would be Hugh Jackman’s final performance as Wolverine, but we perhaps underestimated how much emotion and gravitas he would bring to the character in his last (…for now) time on screen.
Logan is a completely different film from any other in the 18-year-old X-Men franchise. First of all, it’s bloody…and I mean REALLY bloody. Much like Deadpool, this is not a film for children. Actually, I think this is worse because the film lacks Deadpool’s tension-alleviating humor. While action-packed, Logan is a serious film that deals with the heavy subjects of guilt, redemption, mortality, family. Logan showcases Jackman’s incredible range, and he adds so much more depth to Wolverine in this final chapter. The film asks, “Do you deserve happiness if — to steal a reference from Black Widow in Marvel’s Avengers — you have red in your ledger?”
Logan brings the X-Men out of the realm of fantasy and makes them all too real; here you see a deeply flawed man, who, while struggling with his own demons, also has to care for an aging parent. Sir Patrick Stewart is heartbreaking as Professor X; even the most powerful mind in the world can’t escape the deterioration that comes from aging. He’s not posh or poised as he once was as the head of Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters, but blunt, impatient and angry. He too is broken, in many different ways, and yet, he still has one final important lesson to impart to Logan.
Logan is a man who has fought for so long only to inevitably lose almost everything, including the will to go on. Should he continue to fight against the villains of the world.. and against himself? When all hope is nearly lost, it’s only then that he learns that he is not, in fact, alone in this world. Enter newcomer Dafne Keen, in a completing stunning and raw performance. Much like the comics, Laura is mostly mute but she doesn’t have to speak to be understood. Her eyes spoke volumes…as did her body count. Even with a few detailed changes, this was an amazingly faithful version of X-23, arguably one of my favorite comic book characters of all time. One of the things I enjoyed the most was that she wasn’t some feral lab rat but a highly intelligent — albeit deadly — individual, constantly observing and absorbing the world around her. You watch this little girl strike down grown man after grown man with brutal fury and you still feel for her. She just gets to you, despite not uttering a word of dialogue until the last quarter of the movie. You’re with her all the way.
While the whole evil-corporation-is-trying-to-reclaim-what-was-stolen-from-them seems cliche, here it’s firmly rooted in reality. Boyd Holbrook is almost delightful as Pierce, with his calm temperament and southern drawl. He makes no long-winded villain speeches, no one-liners or witty banter, he’s just a relentless man on a mission to recover what was stolen from his organization. Along with the cybernetic arm, it makes him all the more terrifying.
Logan doesn’t give you a lengthy exposition in the beginning; it gives you pieces and bit by bit, the picture becomes clear. Why is Wolverine with Professor Xavier? Why are there only a handful of mutants left in the world? Why has Logan aged so much? Where are the rest of the X-Men? But the reveals, even if you’ve figured it out, can still feel like a punch in the gut. It’s well known that I have only cried in two movies ever (My Girl and The Lion King, in case you were wondering) but I felt myself getting choked up on more than one occasion; a true testament to the powerful performances by Jackman, Keen, and of course, Sir Patrick. This is X-Men’s Rogue One, and a truly masterful film for Jackman to go out on.
Logan is directed by James Mangold and opens today in theaters.