Release date: 2 March 2017
Genre: Action Drama
Words by: Dan Tull
2017 is shaping up to be a mammoth year for the superhero genre. A total of six superhero films are due this year, along with countless TV series. From an avid fan of this genre, even for myself this is rapidly approaching the over-saturation point. Nowadays just to watch a Marvel or DC film you need to have done some significant homework to understand what’s going on, which in Marvel’s case involves trawling through almost ten years of film history. Whilst I understand and appreciate the idea of films that are related within a shared universe, films should still be able to stand alone and be fully experienced by viewers who are new to the shared universe. Logan is a respectable rarity in its ability to achieve this.
It is my belief, and one that many others share, that these films are soon going to lose the interest of people. There are simply too many coming out every year for the casual viewer to differentiate between them. Whilst some innovations and creative leaps are made on occasion (Deadpool, Doctor Strange), others still fall into the same boring rehash of a plot we’ve seen hundreds of times.
So when it came to Logan, the third solo Wolverine film and tenth overall X-Men film, I was something of a skeptic. The X-Men series has never been consistent, and while on the whole I’d say they were good, there are many that aren’t. In fact, remember the first Wolverine solo film, X-Men Origins: Wolverine? It arguably stands as one of the worst comic-book adaptations ever made.
However, with all of the above in mind, Logan categorically succeeds to satisfy and impress. The film requires no previous knowledge of other films in the series. Yes, it does call back to previous vents but the viewer does not need to have seen them to understand the context. Everything you need from this film is contained within.
This is perhaps the most refreshing superhero film I’ve seen since the Dark Knight. Logan isn’t weighed down by having to reconcile a while cinematic universe worth of plot details and it isn’t focused on crafting a franchise beyond itself. It is a self-contained story that excels in developing its own plot, setting and most importantly; characters.
The chemistry between Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart and Stephen Merchant (cast superbly as albino mutant Caliban) is totally believable, as a weary and senile Professor X struggles to stay lucid while Logan and Caliban desperately try to care for him. This triad of characters serves as our hub for the first third. The action really kicks off when we are introduced to eleven year old Laura (played by Dafne Keen). Despite having barely any dialogue, Laura is a welcome addition who brings about a contrasting flare to the story line. Keen is able to communicate precisely how Laura is feeling and what she is going through, purely with facial ticks and body language.
Logan is of course an R-Rated film. This was a cause of concern to many fans, who thought that since the success of Deadpool (another R-Rated X-Men film), this was simply an effort to cash on that. This is not the case. Logan uses brutality inherent in the Wolverine character to devastating effect. His claws slice through limbs and skulls with all the gory details exposed and laid bare. It doesn’t look glamorous like Wolverine may have in past outings. It feel visceral, savage and painfully real.
I tremendously enjoyed the first two thirds, which the final act lagged a bit in it’s set-up, the ending certainly makes for a welcome change in superhero movies. There’s no CGI filled cluster-fuck with a thousand things going on at once. Logan doesn’t face a giant silver robot with a samurai sword. Instead, the final battle is set in some woods with all the tension and drama coming from the stakes, which the first two thirds have carefully built up.
If there is one fault I have with this film, it falls into SPOILERS so read on at your own discretion.
The ‘big bad’ of this film is a perfect clone of Logan, played by a de-aged Hugh Jackman. Whilst I feel that the film portrayed this version of Logan as a manacing, beastial threat, I couldn’t help bu remember the last time Wolverine fought a version of himself in X-Men Origins: Wolverine and it made me quite sad and disappointed.
SPOILERS END HERE
Logan for its minor faults is a tremendous film. It has completely bucked the superhero formula and makes for a deeply emotional journey that tells the ultimate Wolverine story. Standout performances from Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart and Stephen Merchant make the whole thing believable, something that is desperately needed within this genre at the moment. I hope that more directors view this as an example of wonderful storytelling within a superhero universe.
Make sure to give the latest X-Men film a chance and watch it at your local