DFTG Full Logan Review – “An Exhilarating, Saddening, but Stirring Final Goodbye” (Spoiler-Free)
Before I go into my thoughts on the Logan film, here’s a little backstory to the franchise so far. As the first X-Men film was nearing production in the late 1990s, the casting news for the production had comic fans elated with such esteemed actors as Sir Ian McKellan, Sir Patrick Stewart and Halle Berry being signed on to bring the X-Men characters to life on the big screen. For the casting of the iconic lead role of Wolverine, director Bryan Singer hoped to cast Russell Crowe for the part, who reportedly turned down the offer. Instead, Crowe suggested a friend for the role, a little known Australian actor by the name of Hugh Jackman, who ended up obtaining the part. This casting at first confused some fans, but ended up being a fan favorite, by both the devout comic readers and the casual movie-going audience alike.
What followed was a career-defining role for Jackman, which saw him return to the adamantium claws for eight movies in the X-Men film series that spanned nearly two decades. However, while still the ever-fit specimen, Jackman and the studio knew his time as the ever-present figure in the X-Men films would have to end, which left the studio in the rough position of having to transition away from the quintessential portrayal.
Throughout production of Logan, the news began to break out that this film would indeed serve as a final farewell to Jackman’s version of Wolverine/Logan, as well as be a loose adaptation of the Old Man Logan storyline of comics and provide the much-requested R-rated Wolverine solo film that fans were requesting. With all of these goals needing to be met, those in the geek and film communities shared the same sense of uneasiness about the film’s ability to accomplish these aspects successfully, especially given the past perceived blunders of past Wolverine films. Against all odds, it appears that Logan does indeed stick the landing for all of these markers, but also manages to be a thrilling, tragic, and moving piece of cinema in its own right.
The film takes place in 2029 in an alternate timeline of sorts, wholly separate from the timeline of all the previous X-Men films. In the film, mutants are all but mostly extinct, save for Jackman’s Logan, Charles Xavier (portrayed once again by Sir Patrick Stewart, who is also making this his final appearance in the film series) and Caliban (portrayed by Stephen Merchant of The Ricky Gervais Show and Portal 2 fame). Logan, now finally aging and showing slower healing abilities, is working as a limo driver in south Texas, while frequently crossing the border to Mexico where he secludedly houses Caliban and Xavier, who is showing signs of severe dementia that causes his telepathic abilities to harm others nearby when no longer in control.
Hoping to earn enough money for a boat that he and Xavier can wait out their days on until they both pass, Logan comes across a woman looking for safe transport for her and an 11-year old girl named Laura to North Dakota. After initially refusing the high-paying offer for the job, Logan soon finds the task thrust upon him, as a team of Reavers, led by Boyd Holbrook as Donald Pierce, come looking for Laura, who is revealed to be X-23, the cloned daughter of Wolverine. As more is uncovered about Laura’s origins, Logan, Xavier and Laura begin on a road trip that takes them through America’s heartland as the makeshift family learns how to cope with the unique demons that each of them has faced.
Jackman, as always, brings the intensity to the fight sequences as Wolverine, but with the added R-rating and reduced healing factor, the brawls this time feel more weighty. Each blow Logan receives feels like it has actual weight to how it affects (and possibly end) him and how cool it is to finally see blood and decapitations delivered by the adamantium claws. In addition to that, the aged, morose expressions Jackman delivers in dealing with the painful past share plenty with their visuals than the script rightfully needed do with an explanation about the fate of his and Xavier’s X-friends. Stewart’s acting is also striking in this addition to the franchise, given the dementia his character now experiences, as he balances the downward mental slipping that Professor X exhibits while still finding the warmth and wisdom that his character is known for in the series.
The breakout, and obvious, show-stealer here is Dafne Keen making her film debut as X-23. Her acting abilities are well beyond her years and her fighting prowess is some of the best talent exhibited by a child actor in recent memory. If there are indeed plans to give her a spinoff film in the future, there would be a great deal of material there and a very capable young actress worthy of the clawed mantle.
The western-feel that the film seeks to embody does help with the worn and weary future that the story is meant to express. I will mention that the underlining theme of the rural America, father and child figure somber bonding experience we’ve seen in such films/games as The Road, The Last of Us and the Telltale Walking Dead games is a bit “tropey”. Still, director James Mangold manages to find the beauty in the bleakness, with each shot capturing an environment reflective of the strain each character holds. The characters that the main heroes interact with all bring out significant building material for Logan, Xavier and Laura to use in their interactions with each other. The film does in some ways seem to beat the audience over the head with the sadness hammer, but it makes a point to keep the story moving so that the wallowing does not overstay its welcome in the film.
Bottom Line →
Logan is an exhilarating, saddening, but stirring final goodbye to two of superhero film’s biggest and most important character portrayals in its recent history. Aside from Deadpool, the film is easily a high point for the X-Men film series. Longtime fans of the series, and even newcomers aware enough of Wolverine and Professor X, will definitely enjoy seeing the claws come out for one final adventure. See it, won’t regret it. Just don’t forget to bring those tissues.
If you guys have seen Logan, what did you guys think of it? What did you think of our Logan review? Let us know in the comments below, or start a discussion on our Disqus page! Be sure to follow us on Twitter to see our updates the minute they go live!
Cory Lara1455 Posts
A royally radical and totally tubular 90s kid, Cory has a passion for all things nerdy, particularly gaming and nostalgia. While an accountant by day, he strives to be as creative and humorous as possible in his free time, be it here writing on Don't Feed the Gamers, or making dumb satirical posts on his Twitter, Youtube, Facebook and Instagram accounts.