I just got done watching Logan for the first time and most of my thoughts on the film involve heavy spoilers but I’ll try to refrain from them for the first half or so. I’m going to have a lot of people disagree with me about this film but I will stand by my opinion.
First and foremost, Hugh Jackman deserves an Oscar and he should absolutely be considered for it in 2018…even though he won’t be. Him and Patrick Stewart both give out some truly phenomenal performances in their final outing as these characters. These aren’t the Logan and Charles Xavier that we’re used to, no these are hardened versions of themselves that have lived through far too many tragedies in their lives. They’re worth the price of admission just by themselves.
If you didn’t know then X-23 is the primary side character after the first 20 minutes or so. She’s a newer, young mutant which is why it’s so crazy when Logan sees her for the first time. Most people had thought that mutants had become all but extinct until she shows up. It’s a great performance by Dafne Keen, she adds a lot of heart to the character which says a lot because she’s basically just a tiny killing machine throughout the first half of the film which is one of the reasons that the film works and doesn’t work.
The plot of Logan is very linear, and not in the best way. Effectively it’s a bleak road trip from Mexico to North Dakota. Logan is supposed to transport X-23 to a safe haven with Professor X tagging along. It’s a genuine connection between those three characters and that’s what makes the movie succeed. Without them, it’s honestly just go here and fight people, go here and fight people and go here and fight people. Which made me wonder who Wolverine hadn’t killed by the end of the film.
It’s probably the best of the X-Men franchise which has been a struggle since the changes of Days of Future Past but it doesn’t really change anything about the movie besides that you have no idea what’s happened leading up to this.
For the end of the spoiler free stuff, it’s a perfect send off for Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart. If you’ve followed these characters and grown up with these actors performances like I have then you owe it to yourself to watch it because it’s worth it for them.
Here’s a giant film poster to help separate the segments!
Alright, so the main reason that I struggle with this film is because of my love for heroes and make no mistake that Logan is very heroic in this film. Now, when I heard that James Mangold was going to have more freedom this time then I knew that it was effectively going to be a tragic biopic about Logan which totally works for me until I realized one major plot point that could possibly effect comic films as a whole.
When he picks up the comic and says : “In the real world, this s@%# doesn’t happen. People die.” I took that as he’s saying that these stories aren’t worth anything unless they’re the hyper-realistic versions. Which just isn’t my preference because I believe that although the world can occasionally be as dark as these films let on I still believe that heroes exist to counterbalance it. Which Logan does in this film multiple times but unfortunately the film often refuses to accept that and instead drives home the message of futility against the darkness.
The death of the happy little family about halfway through the film was just the worst thing that could happen and I’m worried that it sets a tone for future films. My brother put it best when he said that “When they’re at Hawkeye’s house in Avengers : Age Of Ultron you never have a fear that somehow everyone that we’ve just met is about to die but in this film, it can and does happen.” It’s a genuine tragedy but it’s one that is fairly unnecessary unless you were trying to push the agenda of turning all of these comic book films into a watchmen-esque murder fest.
Yes, Logan is a tragic character but because of the X-Men he learns how to become a better person through the love he has for his teammates and I think that Hugh Jackman maintains and understands that but the film doesn’t until right before he dies.
The visual aids of that death scene with the bloody wolverine figure, or the X over the grave signifying him as the final X-Man are all very on the nose saying that these heroes don’t actually get to have a happy ending and I hate that it’s come to that. Especially when your ending is preceded by a beautifully bittersweet death scene which Hugh Jackman and Dafne Keen just make you experience every emotion you can at once.
I’m nitpicking quite a bit here but it’s because I’m concerned about what this means for comic films as a whole. My personal hope is that a year from now I can look back on this article and laugh at how silly I was being but I have a fear that I won’t be able to do that. With DC’s films alienating half the fanbase and the fox films losing it’s biggest asset I am concerned that this film is going to have the same effect on comic book films that Unforgiven had on westerns.
Overall : At the end of the day, even for all of my complaints, Logan is still a very well made film that absolutely deserves a viewing if you get the chance. Thank you to Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart for all they’ve given us over the last 17 years.