Logan is a multilayered film that continues the evolution of the superhero genre and by the end, gives you an unexpected emotional punch. The genius of this film is that while it features popular comic book characters, it’s actually an anti- tent pole film. At its heart, this is an independent film dealing with themes of forgiveness, family, and redemption.
This film exists in an alternate future of the X-Men universe and is most likely inspired by the graphic novel Old Man Logan. The popular comic features an older Wolverine who is retired from the the super hero game. In Logan, we are in a dystopian nightmare of a future where most of the mutants are deceased. We find Logan not as the young, nimble and indestructible hero that we know from the early X-Men films but as a vulnerable, bitter, and battle scarred individual. At night, he drives clients around like a futuristic Uber driver and during the day he cares for his ailing mentor Professor Xavier who took him in many years ago. The real fun starts when he discovers a young girl with similar abilities who’s on the run from a criminal corporation.
This movie has been appropriately described as the Wolverine movie that we’ve all been waiting for. We finally get a vivid portrayal of the savage nature of Logan that we’ve seen in the comics since the character debuted in 1974. In his quest to protect Xavier and their new companion, Logan slashes through his victims without mercy. He has little empathy for humanity because of all the darkness that he’s seen and like an animal he’s focused on survival.
Hugh Jackman does an amazing job at portraying the grim and ferocious nature of this version of Logan. From the very moment he appears onscreen his physicality portrays a man who’s seen and survived too many wars. Along with his rough exterior we do get moments of seeing the emotional side of the character. The interaction between Jackman and Patrick Stewart’s Professor X are some of the best scenes in the film. The father son-like relationship between them is the backbone of the story. Dafne Keen almost steals the show as a scrappy young version of Wolverine.
James Mangold masterfully creates a dystopian world on the brink of chaos. His cinematography presents a world that is bright and hazy but at the same time dark and hopeless. He creates a film that plays like an old fashioned western with its themes of regret, loneliness, and redemption. The classic Western Shane appears on a tv screen in this film and further enhances the meaning of Logan.
Logan joins a small group of films like The Dark Knight that transcends the comic book movie genre. It takes popular comic book characters seriously, makes them three dimensional and puts them in a world that we can relate to. In terms of action, this film never disappoints. The action scenes are as entertaining as they are brutal and bloody. Logan gives you more than you expect and leaves you wanting a second chapter to this story.