The X-Men franchise has always been imbalanced in terms of the quality of its films. Some are amazing (X-Men Days of Future Past), some are average (X-Men Apocalypse) and some are poor (X-Men Origins: Wolverine). This meant that despite my excitement for Logan, I was cautious not to get my hopes up too much, as I have been majorly disappointed by the franchise before. However, I’m happy to say that not only is Logan possibly the best X-Men based film, it is certainly up there with my favourite superhero films of all time.
Set in the year 2029, mutants are on the brink of extinction. All that remains is Logan (Wolverine), Professor X and their ally Caliban. Yet they are not the powerful god like heroes that they have been in the previous instalments of the franchise. They are weaker, older and certainly more vulnerable. They are feeling the effect of guilt, depression and are desperately trying to survive, with Logan having to care for Professor X who is dealing with a degenerative brain disease. All hope seems lost for them, until they encounter a young girl with incredible abilities, who they must protect from an evil corporation. With Logan forced back into action once more, the characters embark on an adventure that is unlike anything that we have seen from the franchise before.
Just to start with, I think that the performances in this film are Oscar worthy. It is no secret that this is Hugh Jackman’s final portrayal of the iconic Wolverine, and his dedication to the role deserves a humongous amount of respect and applause. It’s been a fantastic journey watching Hugh Jackman evolve over the 17 years that he has been Wolverine. And I really mean that Hugh Jackman is Wolverine. I can’t imagine anyone else taking the helm of this role after Jackman. What’s so fantastic about this film is that Jackman portrays Wolverine as we have all wanted to see him after all these years. He’s brutal and feels entrapped in his illness of immortality, which is perfectly conveyed in Jackman’s portrayal of the character. We also see a far more emotional side to Wolverine, as his chemistry with Professor X is stunning and is easily one of the most moving elements of the narrative.
Speaking of Professor X, Patrick Stewart is yet another highlight of the film. We’ve always understood Professor X as a calm and wise father figure, someone who is logical and can bring hope to those facing seemingly impossible odds. Yet here, he a dishevelled and withering man. We see a much darker side to his character, one that to be honest I never knew existed. And that’s what’s so amazing about this film. It takes characters that we think we know, ones that we’ve spent numerous films with, and examines them in a completely new and exhilarating manner. Yet the relationship between the two is indicative of what is brilliant about these fantastical heroes that at heart have human flaws and qualities. There is also some funny back and forth comments that the two make to each other, layering their friendship which allows us to empathise with the two. Whilst these two are the driving force of the emotion that is rooted deep within the film, Stephan Merchant as Caliban provides some light-heartedness where necessary whilst also allowing us to get a greater understanding of the pain that Logan is entrapped in. The villains of the film are also menacing, yet act as a support to the internal conflict that Logan and Charles face throughout the film. And Dafne Keen must be commended for an incredible portrayal of Laura. I won’t give away who she is, but she brings a certain complexity to the story. Not only does she have some incredible action packed moments, but her very presence builds upon Logan’s character.
Another major positive of the film and what I think will allow it to stand out from the crowd of superhero films today is its tones. I absolutely love superhero films. It’s probably my favourite genre, yet I am aware that a common criticism is that they are becoming generic, bland and predictable. Well, I can safely say that Logan addresses them concerns and disposes of them with ease. This is unlike any superhero film I have ever seen. In fact, it doesn’t necessarily need to be labelled as a superhero film. It’s a Western of family drama that happens to have characters with special abilities found within. From the cinematography to the setting, the film seems to disconnect itself from the huge spectacle of the special effects heavy previous entries of the franchise, whilst maintaining the charm of the characters.
From that incredible first trailer for the film, Logan looked to be filled with violence. Yet I was not expecting them to go full out on this promise. The violence in this film is beautiful. There is limbs being severed, decapitations, and blood pouring everywhere. Yet it is done with care and is not melodramatic. You believe the rage that the characters are experiencing, with Logan having one of the best superhero fights scenes of all times towards the films climax. It is through fluid camera work that captures the pure beastly nature that is rooted within Logan. It’s hard to imagine how any X-Men film after this can go back to a 12A rating; because I believe that the violence in this film is what makes the films impact as powerful as it is (We have Deadpool’s success to thank for 20th Century Fox to make Logan a 15). The swearing is ramped up as well. We’ve had this in previous films, yet here it is truly earned, as we are empathising with the depression that the characters are feeling within the narrative. Despite it sounding odd Patrick Stewart saying the F-Word at first, we almost automatically adjust to it when we understand the lives that these characters are living. This is an incredibly emotional film as well. Without giving anything away, there are some incredibly sad moments and some shocking ones too which can be incredibly disturbing (a certain farmhouse scene). Yet it is handled with such care that I truly believe the emotion behind every moment and I found myself invested in this story as if the characters were real people, despite their inhuman abilities.
Concerning any negatives of the film, there are very little. However, the villains of the film are just serviceable in my opinion and have no real depth to them in my opinion. And whilst that may seem a major negative in other superhero films, this is a much more personal story, and we spend so much time examining Logan and Charles in a much more subtle manner, so this isn’t a huge issue. Other than that, this is a near perfect film. It is a shame for younger children that they won’t be able to see this film, but I respect 20th Century Fox for sacrificing some box office returns to make the film that gives Hugh Jackman the send-off he deserves.
So to sum up, Logan is definitely in contention for the best film in the X-Men franchise, despite how dramatically it deviates from any of the other films. It’s disturbing, stunning and emotional all at the same time, bringing us a film that does justice to one of the most iconic comic book characters of all time. Definitely see this one even if you’re not a fan of comic book films in general. It’s truly special.
I give Logan 9.5 out of 10