*WARNING: There will be minor spoilers in the review, I will try my best to avoid anything major.
When I was told by many friends that they heard Logan was the best X-Men movie ever made and one of the better comic book movies in a while, I was definitely interested. Of course I wanted to see the last hurrah of Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, so I was going to see it no matter what, but hearing what the early reviews were saying, I was far more interested going in than I intended to be. I’ve always loved the X-Men franchise and unlike most, I really enjoyed them all and that’s including Last Stand. Yeah, you heard me. So to see Hugh Jackman one last time, one last movie, I had to see it.
And boy oh boy did I get more than what I thought I was going to get.
Right off the bat, the movie doesn’t pull its punches. This is an R-rated movie in every way, limbs are being severed, claws are going into a guy’s throat and sticking out of his mouth, there’s no hiding the gore this time around, what you’re seeing is a real depiction of a guy with razor sharp claws hitting human flesh. No bullshit editing and censorship, just straight up violence. The language is also more than there and it isn’t just Wolverine taking the role of F-word dealer. I don’t know if there will ever be a more happy moment in my life while watching a movie than watching Patrick fucking Stewart swearing like a sailor. Seriously, it feels so weird to watch and yet you feel so much joy watching it. There’s no bones about it now, folks, Deadpool opened up doors and Logan is the proof in the pudding.
The start of the film after nailing down it’s tone, is admittedly a bit slow. Keeping the audience in the dark of what has caused this situation Wolverine has found himself in kind of leaves you confused and trying to latch onto something. But once Charles Xavier appears into the fray, you really start to get a sense of what you’re in for and from then on out, it’s over, you’re drawn in and you ain’t leaving ’till it’s over! The tone of the film is a mixture of sadness and depression, to downright rage and anger. There are a few moments of comedy, but they’re really around to keep you from sinking in your chair and wanting to just get away from all this negative emotion. But it’s not to say you yourself will leave the movie with a negative opinion, the film just does a fantastic job of setting it’s darker tone and doesn’t move away from it. You’re in for the long haul.
A lot of people seem to think the film was stolen by Dafne Keen as Laura Kinney or X-23, but I don’t know if that’s the case. She certainly kicks a lot of ass in the film and the bonus of having claws to her feet as well (which I didn’t know about, as I don’t keep up with the comics that much) really got me going, as if I needed to be convinced any further at that point. She definitely is great in the role and plays her character well, the only problem I had was the moment she started talking. She’s mute for half of the film essentially and once she starts talking she starts yapping in Spanish and it was really annoying and kind of took away from her badassery. She obviously got it right back in the next fight scene, but that little bit really threw me off. Once she started going to English, she was a lot more tolerable. The spoken language has nothing to do with it, by the way, just the way she spoke the Spanish in comparison to the English.
Another negative I had, which kills me saying this, but Stephen Merchant just didn’t bring much to the table with Caliban. I love Stephen Merchant, but in this film he was just the weird-looking “friend” in the film. I don’t feel like he added much to film at all, he wasn’t funny (which is a shame that they didn’t let him be the funny comic he is), he wasn’t badass, he wasn’t interesting. I don’t know if that’s because of Merchant or if the character itself just wasn’t written well enough to be as a good as other characters in the film. The villains were also a bit weak, aside from the revealed end boss of the film, which was really surprising and not where I thought it was going. The two main villains in Donald Pierce (Boyd Holbrook) and Zander Rice (Richard E. Grant) did their job of being hateable, Pierce especially playing the asshole role very well, but the problem I had with them is that they weren’t…I guess the word I’m looking for is engaging. Especially Rice, he comes in later to the film and offers pretty much nothing other than the desire to want him dead. Pierce at least has a unique look and actually does some damage, Rice is just the guy who opens the cage.
In terms of the story overall, in particular the end, without spoiling it much, I love what the future is looking like for the X-Men films as a whole. Having X-23 and more in the fold now brings us potential for a whole new series of films that could really carry a very interesting concept of being post-orginal X-Men. There are so many points in the film where the future looks bright and then the darkness envelops once more, the film does a fantastic job of playing with your emotions, every time you think things are okay, it gets worse. Lives are lost over and over in the film and it’s not just the guys Wolverine is slicing and dicing. The sidestory of the diseased brain of Charles Xavier makes you stay on your toes, worrying something bad could happen at any time. As it’s said in the film, the most dangerous brain in the world is now diseased and potentially a weapon of mass destruction.
But most importantly, the relationship that builds between Logan and Laura, that’s where the money is. The downright passiveness between the two for a large chunk of the film really makes the coming together moments so much more meaningful. They aren’t half-assed, they aren’t put together too quick, care was taken with this part of the story. The two together really worked off each other very well and it only enhances the fight scenes even more when the two are killing endless numbers of men together. Side note though, why aren’t there ever female soldiers in these armies? Story for another day, perhaps.
As a final movie for Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine, it’s a bittersweet end to say the least. We all knew the day would come when the man who played the character so well was going to stop playing it, but we selfishly wanted this ride to never end. Sending off the legendary character was never going to be easy, but man this film really had to play on that and be such a dark and depressing story! But for the many years and the many films Jackman’s been in as this character, he was amazing and I challenge someone to do it better, because I don’t think that’s possible.
Leaving the theater, I had this penciled in at a 10 out of 10, a perfect movie. But after thinking about it a little more, there were a few weaknesses here and there that I couldn’t ignore, so perfection it is not. But as a comic book film, especially when it’s one not directly done by Marvel Studios, this is as good as it might get. I’m convinced DC isn’t capable of making films this good and that includes the upcoming Wonder Woman, which at this point I’m hoping it able to at least make it to “Good” status. Logan is a movie that plays with your emotions extremely well and the addition of being the first major comic book character R-rated movie (Deadpool isn’t THAT big compared to Wolverine) really brings so much more to the table. As someone who grew up watching the first X-Men trilogy, this movie is now the adult version of what I’d been wanting to see for so long and I challenge other comic book movies to reach the level that Logan has with this film. It’s an emotional roller coaster and one of the most fun, badass comic book films I’ve seen that weren’t littered with jokes.
Thanks for the run, Hugh Jackman. You killed it. Along with a lot of grunts. Like seriously, A LOT of men died to his hands…or claws. You know what I meant.