The X-Men films have been hit and miss, with some of them being truly great such as First Class and X2, while some have been absolute garbage such as Apocalypse and The Last Stand. And unfortunately for all of us, the Wolverine spin-offs have been at the bottom of this spectrum. Origins was an unfinished film which needed another year of development and while I think people are overly harsh on it, The Wolverine is pretty forgettable. So none of us were really bothered when it was announced a third Wolverine film was coming out, but with an R rating now on it, can Logan be the Wolverine film we’ve always wanted?
In 2029, mutants are almost extinct with Logan (Hugh Jackman, The Prestige) hiding out over the border with a dementia-ridden Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart, Star Trek: The Next Generation). While they are looking for a quiet end to their lives, a young mutant girl named Laura (Dafne Keen, The Refugees) who has very similar powers to Logan shows up and wants taking to an apparent refuge in North Dakota. Reluctantly, Logan agrees.
What Logan proves first off is that even in an expanded universe, you can make incredibly different films. This shares the same word as Deadpool and the only similarity these films have is a love of brutal and bloody action scenes. This is a very dark film, more reminiscent of a Western than a superhero movie. After all, the movie is about a disgraced man who is handed a chance at redemption so reluctantly takes it. That’s about five Clint Eastwood films right there. And it fits perfectly within Logan’s character. He’s always been a reluctant hero, someone who a lot of the time would quite happily walk past a problem if it doesn’t affect him directly. So putting him in this sort of film is a natural fit and it allows Hugh Jackman to really test his acting chops, something which is always great to see.
And yes, that means this film is very dark. Probably one of the darkest superhero films I’ve ever seen. And to those whiny DC fans who think critics have an agenda those films, this is how you do dark. You don’t just make everything look grey and grainy and have all the characters do growly voices, you earn it with your subject matter. And considering Logan has themes ranging from extinction to family, I can be perfectly happy with the movie decides it is going to brood for a while. It earns every bit of darkness it has because it doesn’t do it because that’s the cool trend, it does it because this is the tone that fits what is happening on screen.
And I know what will grab the headlines though is the action, because it is the best Wolverine action you’ll see. We’ve never seen Logan fight like this, the closest being his cameo appearance in Apocalypse, one of the few good parts of that film. But because they have that R rating, they can now show what would really happy to a person if they got skewered by Wolverine’s claws. And it is the child inside me, the bloody hungry child, that really enjoys this action where you feel every single stab, punch and shot. James Mangold’s (Walk The Line) direction really helps with this. His aim is to make it all feel as real as possible and he really pulls it off with some skillful camera movement.
But I think it is testament to the storytelling present in the movie that the amazingly brutal action scenes aren’t the favourite part of this movie. No, my favourite scene is actually a very simple one where Logan, Xavier and Laura end up staying the night with this farming family. Considering how bleak most of the movie is where it seems like death is inevitable for pretty much everyone involved, seeing the trio actually smile while chatting to these guys is such a nice thing. Of course I can’t really spoil what ends up happening, but everything unfolds in a brilliant way which just hammers home why Logan is like what he’s like and just how cruel the world he has been living in is.
So as you can tell, this film is pretty awesome and definitely one you have to watch, simply to reward Fox for finally making a good Wolverine movie. It leaves me very little to complain about, but I admit I’m not a good man and do have some quibbles I have to note. It all revolves around the villains. Now don’t get me wrong, Donald Pierce (Boyd Holbrook, Gone Girl) is a solid villain. Holbrook puts in a very good performance and he is certainly menacing at the right parts. Nothing wrong with him. No, the issue is with Dr. Rice (Richard E. Grant, Bram Stoker’s Dracula) who shows up halfway through the movie, abrely does anything and then disappears. The film presents him as the main villain, the man who is running the operation which causes all of the problems with Laura, yet he is constantly overshadowed by Pierce. That’s a poor way of doing things and wastes Richard E. Grant who is an amazing villain actor if you give him the chance.
Logan though is a truly stunning movie which is the film we’ve always wanted for Wolverine. It is an example that if you allow directors to go out and make the film they want rather than constraining them with an inappropriate age rating, you truly get some special. If you aren’t into superhero films, you have some incredibly good exploration of people who suffer from survivor’s guilt and the idea that nothing lasts forever. If you do like superhero films, you have some incredibly action scenes which make the most of that R rating. It is just a magnificent film which show not every Marvel property needs to be run by Marvel themselves.