A longstanding issue I’ve had with superhero movies is that the lack of consequences (for a prime example, rewatch Captain America: Civil War) and that they don’t necessarily “end” for a lack of a better term. With Logan, director James Mangold (who also directed the previous Wolverine solo film The Wolverine) seeks to send a loud and clear message to Hollywood: sometimes consequences and a definitive ending can be achieved without ruining your plans for your cinematic universe. Logan is the culmination of a tale of a loner who found a family that showed him a better life so many years ago.
In the near future, a weary Logan (Hugh Jackman) cares for an ailing Professor X (Patrick Stewart) at a remote outpost on the Mexican border. His plan to hide from the outside world gets upended when he meets a young mutant (Dafne Keen) who is very much like him. Logan must now protect the girl and battle the dark forces that want to capture her.
I think the biggest change people will immediately notice: the R rating. There are multiple swear words during the film, blood spurt from a wound, and everything you can expect in a film with such a rating. The rating is just there to serve the tone and story of the film. Logan feels very much like a modern Western with Wolverine taking hits left and right. Director James Mangold thankfully makes these beatings on Wolverine feel like a struggle as opposed to an endless gore fest with blood filling up the screen.
Fans of the comics are really going to have a blast with this movie. Logan is so very different from the X-Men. Sure, the color palette is eerily similar to the team films, but make no mistakes that this film is very different. Logan and Professor X have descended into myth and they’re just trying to survive, which requires a new echelon of acting from Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart.
Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine has finally gotten to a point where I can say definitively that he is Wolverine. Throughout the X-Men series and even the unrated cut of The Wolverine, Jackman simply felt held back, either through the lack of blood coming out of a wound that simply didn’t make sense for a man who had metal claw going through a person or that he had to fit Wolverine into a cinematic universe. No one can ever replace this Wolverine.
Patrick Stewart is given the most to do here through the simple fact that Professor X is old and he’s not the man who used to be. Instead of being a wise teacher, he’s become this angry person bruised by his many decades of guiding the X-Men through their many adventures. He’s essentially become the person he told Logan in X-Men not to become.
I think the real star of Logan is not Logan himself, but rather Dafne Keen’s Laura. She’s a little badass that you don’t doubt for a second that she’s very much like Wolverine in a myriad of ways I won’t spoil for you here. Having Laura as a child puts Logan and her dynamic in a very interesting place. Logan needs to step up and be the protector he’s always shied away from being. Laura doesn’t make it easy, either, as she doesn’t speak a word for most of the film, making the acting of Dafne so much harder when you have to express that without just coming right out and saying so.
Logan is a fitting conclusion for our favorite Adamantium (and sometimes not) clawed hero from Hugh Jackman. The X-Men films may keep on churning out, but its clear that if you let a director play outside of a cinematic sandbox and treat a character with respect, it pays off big time. Take note, Marvel Studios and DC Films.