2017 will be a huge year for superhero film. There’s so many diverse films coming out this year from both Marvel Studios and DC Comics. This weekend though, started us on an emotional rollercoaster. Logan, starring Hugh Jackman as Logan and Patrick Stewart as Professor Xavier is their last time playing these iconic characters. It’s crazy to think this all started in 2000. Logan was some hardnosed cage fighter, and the Professor was full of wisdom. Looking at this film as a storyteller, I have to say this film is magnificent. The achievement of keeping characters alive and popular for 17 years isn’t one that should be written off. Whether you like the journey the characters have been on or not, Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart are human beings. Yes, they’ve done other roles since X-Men, but they’ve given more than one hundred percent to these roles. I have nothing but respect for their commitment. Logan isn’t a perfect film. Actually, I don’t think it’s a good comic book film. Logan succeeds though in showing us the end of an era. That’s what caused me to cry at the end of this film. Yes, I do believe it was lacking heavily in the story and plot department, but this movie truly wasn’t about that.
Look at this year’s winner for Best Picture at the Oscar’s. Moonlight’s plot isn’t specifically brilliant. We just follow the main character, Chiron, from youth to adulthood. Nothing visionary in that. Moonlight wasn’t about the story though. It was about the themes. Being a gay black man in the black community is rough. This film confronted that stigma head on with vulnerability. It made you want to look away at times, and it didn’t necessarily have a happy ending. The moment where Chiron admits to Kevin that no man has ever touched him the way Kevin has, broke my heart. You can hear the pain and weakness in Chiron’s voice. Finally, at the end of the persecution and torment, Chiron is able to confront his feelings with the only man he’s been intimate with. That alone chokes me up, even as I type. That’s why it won Best Picture. Logan does a fantastic job finishing the development of Wolverine. He’s been growing for years, and at some point, he must face his own mortality. Something he never thought he’d have to do, but it happens anyway. Wolverine is a good man. Always has been. But he’s a broken soul. Somehow though, he manages to do the right thing even when he doesn’t need to. That’s who Wolverine is and that’s who we’ve seen for the past 17 years. This movie put those morals to the test. Everything has been taken away from Logan. By the end of this film, I realized it ended just the way it needed to. I’m happy this film happened, even though I wasn’t excited for it when it was announced.
The X-Men are my favorite superhero team of all time. They represent ideals that sprouted during the civil rights movement. The X-Men protect everyone, but mainly learn about themselves and how to accept themselves for who they are. The world fears them because they don’t understand them. Their story is comparable to every minority group in the United States today. The rhetoric, the themes, and the emotion the X-Men stories have brought to mainstream media and comics make them a gem in comic book history. Given that information, I haven’t been the biggest fan of the X-Men film franchise. When the first X-Men film came out in 2000, it was a special achievement for superhero film. The film felt more science fiction than anything else, but it was a solid intro. X2 was a good film too, but both films had issues. Then we get to X-Men: The Last Stand. They had a Batman v. Superman moment by attempting to mesh too many stories and characters. The Dark Phoenix Saga and the mutant cure are two of the biggest stories in X-Men history. Both failed in this film and it left a sour taste in my mouth when it comes to the X-Men franchise.
This newest trilogy has been amazing. James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender were perfect as a young Professor X and Magneto. People have their problems with Apocalypse, but I enjoyed the film. Connecting somewhat (but not really) to those was Deadpool. I enjoyed Deadpool for what it was, but the film wasn’t anything special to me. Throughout these films, Hugh Jackman has been the only one to portray the character of Wolverine.
I HATED X-Men Origins Wolverine. It had solid moments, most films do. But Origins was a horribly paced film. The story was weak and the acting was mediocre. Next, came the Wolverine. This was a solid film, but once again, nothing special. That’s the thing about Wolverine. He has such a rich history that there’s almost too much to choose from. The films over the years became too clustered and muddled from a story standpoint. His origins, where he’s been, his adamantium claws, all of that became confusing by the time we reached Logan. Sometimes the coolest thing about Wolverine is the mystery of his life. It’s like the Joker. If we found out the Joker’s true origin, it would take away from the mystery of his character. That’s what makes the character interesting. By the time Logan rolled around, I was exhausted with Wolverine’s story. This is the main reason I wasn’t excited for the film. Yes, I respect Hugh Jackman’s dedication to the character, but I am fatigued of his version of Wolverine and the different interpretations we get every film. The trailer for Logan was amazing, but tell me what superhero film in the past couple of years hasn’t had a good trailer? The movie looked like it was clearly taking from the aspects of Old Man Logan too. Old Man Logan is a graphic novel that came out in 2008 the main problem with adapting this story to the film is the problem of rights. I won’t spoil the graphic novel at all for anyone who hasn’t read it, but I knew there wasn’t much they could truly adapt into Logan. That made my anticipation lower a bit. The main reason I was excited for this movie was to support Jackman’s last time as Wolverine. I figured this movie would be filled with emotion, but the story and timeline wouldn’t make much sense. And no, not in the “I’m a dumbass, spell everything out for me,” way of understanding. I wanted this movie to be driven by something other than his mortality and the girl. I didn’t expect to like Laura as much as I did, so this movie really needed a strong plot and sub-plots for me to consider it a masterpiece. In the end, the story was weak as expected, but this film did a wonderful job of introducing us to Laura as X-23.
The year is 2029. Mutants are basically extinct because of a company called Transigen. Logan is a shell of himself. Professor Xavier suffers from seizures and is senile. Logan is suffering from adamantium poisoning and is dying from the moment we meet him. Before this film, Xavier had a seizure that killed several mutants (probably the main members of the X-Men) and injured hundreds. Now, Logan keeps him doped up with Caliban, who tracks mutants. This is an awesome concept, but I hated where this movie starts. When we first see Logan, he is a couple of weeks from death. I knew Logan was going to die at the end of this film, but he felt dead from the moment it began. I understand that was the point of the film, but I NEED to see Logan get to that point before I see him cussing out kids and killing gangsters. There’s no reason for this film to start right before Xavier’s seizures. Show us a magical time where the X-Men are saving the world and everything is good. Maybe put Wolverine in a damn costume too. This could have driven home the mortality theme of the movie home more efficiently.
This is a big negative for me because of the timeline of the X-Men movies. This movie supposedly takes place after X-Men Apocalypse. Logan was last seen in his famous Weapon X gear and escaped the facility with the help of Jean Grey, Cyclops, and Nightcrawler. I would have love to see Wolverine come together with those younger X-Men and the other members. Since Logan didn’t have those interactions, there was a disconnect. According to the story, this Logan hadn’t experienced Days of Future Past. He hadn’t experienced X2 and The Last Stand. If I’m correct, none of the Wolverine continuity matters because of his actions in DOFP. So, that means the Logan we see in this movie is basically a brand-new character. I need to see this character, even though in theory, this is the same man. A confusing complaint, but this will forever turn me off from this movie.
Given all that info, this film starts with Logan impaling some Mexican gangsters. You just read my thoughts on how this movie should have started, but I did enjoy this. As a film, this movie looks fantastic and is edited very well. Logan is a man with a death wish. He works as a chauffeur and takes care of Professor X. The movie took a bit to get going before we’re introduced to Laura Kinney. My only complaint at the beginning of the film was the constant reminder that I was watching a rated R film. The “fucks” and the boobs in the beginning felt incredibly forced.
Logan is approached by a nurse named Gabriela. She pleads for him to take Laura away to North Dakota so she can escape Transigen. Donald Pierce, leader of the Reavers, is in charge of hunting Laura down. Pierce did his job as an annoying villain, but he wasn’t formidable enough, even for a broken Logan. One of the coolest parts of the film is when we first see Laura use her powers. The Reavers find her at Logan’s hideout with Professor X and Caliban. She unleashes her full power and the scene is awesome. One of my problems with Jackman’s Wolverine is his fighting. That didn’t change in this one. I hate how stiff he is when punching. He never kicks either and has never seemed like a martial artist. Laura though, is next level. Her moves were something else. They eventually get away and Professor X tells Logan that Laura is in fact his daughter. Not in the traditional way, she was a clone of Transigen. Logan watches a video Gabriela took before she died. This video made me feel for Laura and the other kids who were getting experimented on. Jackman’s acting was good here too. He was wearing glasses and the way he looked at the screen really showcased his range when it comes to emotions. Wolverine has a pure heart that has been trampled on time after time. Laura provided him with a chance to recover, but he never truly did.
The next two parts of the movie are cool. First, we see the crew make their way to Oklahoma City. They are staying in a hotel. The Reavers use Caliban to track them. Before they can take aura though, Professor X experiences another seizure. The visuals during this scene was fantastic. Watching Logan struggle to the top, eventually getting there, and slowly, but forcefully ripping a man’s head off, was awesome. The brutal nature of this movie was more than welcomed. I enjoyed this scene. The next part involved a black family who they helped on the side of the road. This film isn’t about diversity at all, but I loved seeing a black family who lives in the country. Not every black family is struggling to get by. Not every black family isn’t a family, where the dad isn’t around. It was nice to see normality for once when it comes to black people. As usual with Wolverine though, people tend to die when they get involved with him (remember that old couple in Origins? I couldn’t believe they died.) The Reavers have found them again, but this time, they have X-24. Laura is X-23, she’s considered a mistake. X-24, also played by Jackman, is their perfect clone. A mindless beast who can kill anyone. A powerful scene comes next as Professor X confesses he remembers killing all those people. He knows that it was his mind that killed his fellow mutants. We think he’s admitting this to Logan, but X-24 kills the Professor and the rest of the black family. I hated this scene so much. It was impactful for sure, but watching innocents die, and in the brutal way they did, really gets to me. An epic fight between the clone and Logan takes place. Logan isn’t a match for it. The father of the family rams and impales the clone with his truck. He then blasts him directly in the head. He then gets out of the car, and tries to kill Logan, but he’s out of bullets. It’s a sad scene because Wolverine saved these people, but he is responsible for the father losing his wife and son. By far, the best part of the film to me.
The movie concludes with some development from Laura. She’s the best thing about this film. Director James Mangold said that Dafne Keen, the actress who plays Laura, has a maturity about her that exceeds her age. This showed on screen. Laura doesn’t talk much, but her facial expressions show a child who is curious and adventurous. The scenes earlier of her stealing in the grocery store were funny. Laura is on her own mission during this film. Gabriela, the nurse who originally helps her escape, is killed and that’s how Logan becomes responsible for her. Gabriela spoke of a place called Eden. She stole 20 grand and wrote down the coordinates of Eden on an envelope. Wolverine realizes that Eden is a place from an old X-Men comic, so he doesn’t think it’s real. This was cute at first, but I couldn’t get behind it for the whole film. Once again, not establishing who Logan lost in the first place makes it hard for me sympathize with his anger/sadness about seeing his former team. Laura still has her team however. She formed a bond with the children that were getting experimented on at Transigen. The first time she talks in the movie is after she takes Logan to an urgent care. She continues to repeat the names of her friends. She has a picture of them, and she won’t stop until she gets to Eden. I wanted her relationship with Logan to be better towards the end, but I don’t think he ever truly comes around to the idea of her as his daughter. He continues to look at her as a pest.
They bury Professor X in an emotional scene. Logan clearly knows that he’s lost the last remaining person from the X-Men. He can’t take it. Laura grabs his hand in an attempt to silently tell him, “I’m still here,” but he pulls away and the scene is over. They reach Eden soon after and we see the children from the picture. They’ve been hiding out for a while now and plan to cross the border into Canada.
As you can guess, the Reavers find them as soon as Laura and Logan get there. Here, we find out that Zandar Rice was behind the virus that killed mutants. He did it to avenge his father’s death during the Weapon X program. We saw Wolverine kill him during Apocalypse. Pierce is with him there as well and they capture the children. Logan’s last act of heroism comes when he uses a mutant serum to give him healing powers. He uses the rest of the serum and gets a surge of energy. The scene was cool, but it wasn’t anything we haven’t seen before.
The movie ends with Logan killing Price with a gun and another fight with X-24 breaks out. The kids escape the Reavers. They end up surrounding Pierce too. He suffers a slow, painful death from the kids. I’ve never been more satisfied to see a villain die since Joffery in Game of Thrones. I didn’t like the character of Pierce, but he achieved his job of being unlikable.
Logan isn’t a match for X-24. He’s impaled by a tree. Right before X-24 can finish him off, Laura kills the clone with an adamantium bullet that Logan had been carrying from the start of the movie. Logan isn’t able to overcome the wound. He dies and Laura buries his body. As he’s dying, she calls him “Daddy.” Her character came full circle and I love it. Her and the rest of the kids bury Logan. There’s a cross over him. Before the kids leave for the border, Laura moves the cross so that it makes an X. An awesome moment but also a sad one for the X-Men franchise.
Overall, I enjoyed this film. To me, it was a good film, but not a good superhero film. I don’t consider this an X-Men film simply because the lack of other X-Men in the film. This is a Wolverine film, and it might be the best one. Jackman has given us his all during the last 17 years, but this film fell flat on some key points. I expected the story to be lackluster, but that doesn’t excuse the fact that it still was. They should have shown us something before Logan’s suicide week. I love the character, and seeing different versions of the character, but I wasn’t expecting him to be so somber for the whole film. Up until the very end, he thought of Laura as a burden. Yes, they have their moments, but Logan didn’t see her as his daughter. Even when he died in the end, mortality was more important to him than Laura. It makes sense sure, but she shouldn’t have been in the film if there was never going to be an effort at a relationship. It’s a shame because Dafne Keen was my favorite part about this film. Her acting makes me want to wait until she’s a bit older, and put her in another X-Men film. To me, she is Wolverine now. This movie did do a good job of passing the torch I think. We didn’t see Wolverine in that movie. As he and a bunch of characters said throughout the film, that person didn’t exist. That’s why this movie isn’t a good superhero film. It’s a good film about a former superhero named Logan. He has good in his heart, always has, but he is still broken. That’s where this film did shine though. Wolverine is one of my favorite characters in comic book history because of his heart. If Wolverine believes in you, loves you, and wants to protect you, you have a great ally. He’ll die for you. We saw remnants of that with the black family and at some parts with Laura, but overall, I think this film missed on some spots to show us Wolverine, the hero.
Visually, this movie looks fantastic. I expected it would, but there were some scenes I really loved. Logan’s fighting, as I mentioned earlier, was stiff as usual to me. Whenever we see the character of Wolverine again, I want to see more effects with his fighting. Jumping, sliding, kicking, blocking, all of it. Wolverine is a MASTER martial artist. Yes, his fight style is brutal, but he is calculated, he’s trained with the best. Laura looked more trained than Logan did. I know an easy defense of this is his poisoning and his age, but still, he’s Wolverine. There almost isn’t any excuse not to have him fight like Black Panther or Batman.
This movie, like a lot of the X-Men films, is good. Not a masterpiece by any means, but good. I like this film more than Origins, but right now, I like it the same as the Wolverine. To me, this was his third best performance as Wolverine. The best being Days of Future Past and X2. I think people got caught up in the emotion of this film. It’s emotional, but I can’t forget all the mistakes the franchise has made with this character. This movie felt like a sendoff more for Hugh Jackman than the character of Logan in this universe. Nothing but respect for Hugh, but this film suffered from some of the same mistakes previous X-Men films did. The X-Men are tough because their subject matter isn’t jovial. Wolverine is an especially hard character to get right because of the brutal nature of his fighting. Overall, I think they’ve done an average job with the character, but there still more that can be done.
I know all of that sounds negative, but it’s just how I think. I really did enjoy the film. I will be buying it when it comes out and can easily watch it again. Laura was great. Professor X was great, and Jackman gave it his all. A career most of us dream of. As a writer, I want nothing more than to build a universe and for people to experience it for years to come. Jackman has done this with Wolverine and for a long time, maybe forever, he IS Wolverine. The best at what he does, but what he does isn’t pretty.
I hope you enjoyed this review! Please share this with others and let me know your thoughts on the film. Remember to follow me on Twitter @Hero_Review for more updates on future reviews. Until next time!