Film Review: ‘Logan’

Written by on March 7, 2017

Director: James Mangold
Studio: Marvel Entertainment
Cast: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Boyd Holbrook, Dafne Keen
Release Date: March 3, 2017

Logan is the best comic book movie Marvel has ever created. At times, I forgot that I was even watching a comic book movie, because it’s just so unlike anything we’ve ever seen before from the genre. Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine and Patrick Stewart’s Professor X helped to define the genre with X-Men in 2000 and X2 in 2003, but with Logan, they tear that idea to shreds in favor of something far more sinister.

Let’s just get this out of the way now: Logan is rated R, and that is for a very good reason. Do not take your children to see this movie. There were some points that made me look away and I’m 19 years old. There was an elderly couple behind me in the theater who made a funny noise every time something gorey happened. But it was beautiful.

The film lets you know its intentions right away. In the first few scenes, there are multiple F-bombs, Wolverine’s claws going through people’s skulls, and later in the movie, boobs! Yes, you heard that right. Bare breasts in an X-Men movie. I never thought I’d see the day. But basically, this isn’t the film to take your 8-year-old to to show him or her what being a superhero is about.

That’s because this film shows superheroes as the complete opposite of how they’re seen in society. The film depicts an older, weary version of Wolverine, now casting himself away from the “superhero” persona as a chauffeur in El Paso, Texas. He’s using the money he makes from that business to buy pills off-the-record in a shady, drug deal fashion in order to secure medication for Professor X, who is holed up in an abandoned chemical plant south of the border in Mexico.

A strange woman seeks Logan’s help to transport her daughter, Laura, to safety in North Dakota, but everything is not as it seems as the girl (Dafne Keen) is being chased by Donald Pierce (Boyd Holbrook), the head of security at Transigen, a pharmaceutical research company.

Logan’s plot is enthralling. The film has a big fat runtime of 137 minutes, but it honestly flew by because you were always in anticipation of what was coming next. I’m usually against obscenely long movies, but this film needed it to pack in all the action.

That brings me to another point: The action sequences in this film are second to none. The choreography is flawless. The way the director and Jackman made Logan seem so vulnerable and human, while also remaining the badass he is, is remarkable. The scenes where Logan and Laura fight together are some of the most jawdroppingly incredible action scenes in recent memory.

Dafne Keen has a bright future ahead of her. She was only 11 years old when Logan began filming. Her action scenes are some of the most stunning things I’ve ever witnessed on the silver screen. She steals the show every time she’s on screen.

This isn’t just a simple action beat-’em-up. This movie is very sad. Bring your tissues. I shed a manly tear at a few points. There’s a monologue from Professor X as he lays in bed that really puts the whole film, and series, into perspective. One could tell that that was Stewart’s last great contribution to the X-Men franchise, since this is his last appearance in it.

The sound design, camerawork and editing were stellar, the latter in particular. I know comic book films are usually overlooked during awards season due to their childish nature, but I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see Logan nominated for an Oscar or two for sound design or editing. The sounds of Wolverine’s claws striking metal, or of Jackman’s heavy breathing during tense moments, or even of car chases is superb.

Logan was a leap of faith for Fox, Marvel and James Mangold. Most Marvel movies nowadays are fun, silly romps you can take your kids to enjoy. There’s no problem with that. In fact, I really love mostly every movie in the MCU. But this film is mature. It’s dark. It’s sad. The film decapitates people. Multiple people. It deals with issues such as drug addiction, suicide, alcoholism and death. It’s about the human condition. It all comes together beautifully.

Logan will go down in history because it’s the end of an era; Jackman and Stewart are both done with X-Men. But it will also go down in history as one of the best comic book films of all-time, one that transcends the genre and makes you stop and look every time a new adaptation comes out.

It’s a masterpiece.

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