REVIEW: Logan (2017 film)

Oh, Logan, how wonderful you were. And how bittersweet you were. This is easily Hugh Jackman’s best X-Men movie. That’s not to say that it’s the best movie of the X-Men franchise, though it is up there for sure. It is, however, the best movie to feature Wolverine to date.

Logan tells the story of Logan and Charles Xavier in the year 2029. Something has happened that has radically changed their lives since the last X-Men movie, and they now live in isolation somewhere over the border into Mexico. Their world is turned upside down when Logan is recruited by a woman named Gabriella to escort a young girl, Laura, to Eden, in order for her to be able to cross the border into Canada and be safe. Laura is a member of the X-23 Project, ran by Transigen, an agency that is trying to figure out a way to build the perfect mutant soldier.

The rest of the movie follows Logan and Charles as they try to get Laura to Eden and to safety while being closely pursued by Transigen’s head of security, Donald Pierce.

Logan is the first X-Men movie (aside from Deadpool, which was less of an X-Men movie and more its own thing) to receive an R rating. And, boy, when they said it was gonna be rated R, they weren’t kidding. This movie is brutal. For the first time, we really see how devastating Wolverine can be in battle. We see him just tear apart people in this movie. There’s so much blood and gore. But it never feels gratuitous. All the violence is there to service the plot and anchor the movie in realism. If Wolverine was a real character and really got into a fight, this is how it would look.

Aside from the violence, and a large amount of language (which also feels authentic), the movie utilizes its R rating to explore some pretty deep themes. Mainly what it’s like for someone who’s never had a family, who feels like they could never be a part of a family without putting them at risk, to end up as part of a family. The movie plays up the idea that Charles is a father figure for Logan, and it works beautifully as Logan becomes a father figure for Laura.

This is a superhero movie only in the sense that the characters are from superhero comic books and have superpowers. Otherwise, it’s really a character piece. It’s all about Logan and Charles and Laura’s relationship. It’s the culmination of Logan’s arc that started in the very first X-Men movie. And there couldn’t be a better conclusion for his arc than this movie.

They always say you should go out on top, and Hugh Jackman definitely went out on top with this film. He’s simply stunning in the movie, as is Patrick Stewart. Free from the constraints of a PG-13 rating, they are able to truly explore the depths of their characters and the consequences of what they’ve done in the past. So much of this movie deals with two men who have done terrible things trying to make peace with it, and Jackman and Stewart play this perfectly. Dafne Keen is great as Laura. For much of the movie, she says nothing, but she’s able to convey a staggering amount of emotion through the use of just her face and body. The rest of the cast does a great job as well.

James Mangold hit it out of the park with his directing. He expertly manuevered the actors into giving superb performances, and he was able to craft what ended up being a surprisingly moving, compelling, brutal, realistic, and enjoyable action flick.

Because of the themes explored in the movie and the brutality of its violence and emotional weight, I don’t know if this is a movie I will ever watch again. Not because I didn’t like it, on the contrary – I adored it. But it’s such an emotionally exhausting movie. You walk out of the theater needing a nap after seeing this. It really just knocks the wind out of you. In the best of ways.

I can’t recommend Logan enough. If you’ve been a fan of the X-Men movies, you should definitely check it out. If you like action movies, you should see this. If you like good movies in general, you should see this. Go see Logan.

(4 out of 5 wands)

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