10 Thoughts on Logan
The newest comic book movie hit the theaters this past weekend in the form of Logan, the final movie in Fox’s Wolverine series (trilogy?). Overall, movie goers have been loving the final chapter for Hugh Jackman’s X-man, as Logan berserker raged its way to $88+ million during its opening weekend. That’s an impressive sum considering how well other comic book movies have down lately…at least ones not produced by Marvel Studios.
We saw Logan on Friday and overall, I thought it was a great movie. It was powerful, thought-provoking, and highly entertaining. So let’s get right to it and, as always, spoilers abound if you haven’t seen the movie yet.
10 Thoughts on Logan
1. Logan earns its R rating.
While Deadpool definitely paved the way for R-rated super hero movies, Logan is a beast unto itself. We’ve finally shaken off the shackles that have been holding directors back for years as comic book movies no longer have to be made for “families”.
Logan is dark, gritty, violent, and doesn’t shy away from putting anything of that in your face. Within the first few opening minutes of the movie, we see old man Logan enter a berserker rage and mutilate some would-be car thieves. Gone are the wide shots or the implied violence, Wolverine uses his adamantium claws to stab people through the eyes and cut off limbs. Deadpool may have proven the concept, but Logan takes the violence to another level. And the R-rating isn’t just due to violence, there is plenty of langue and even a brief flash from a topless woman.
Yet the movie also didn’t seem like it was trying to hard for its rating. None of the violence felt gratuitous, or that it was just there for shock value. Logan is a movie that truly embraces the roots of who Wolverine is, what he’s become, and puts it right in your face.
2. The scope of the movie was perfect.
Many super hero movies are larger than life. It’s someone(s) with extraordinary powers taking on a villain with global stakes. But not Logan. While Wolverine may be being chased by cyborgs and soldiers, his real enemy is time. Set in the near future, Logan’s healing factor isn’t what it used to be, and his adamantium skeleton is now slowly killing him. There is no threat to the world, society, or even the city in Logan. It’s about a man’s quest to do right by his new-found daughter, and the only father figure he ever had, an aging and sick Professor X (Patrick Stewart). I’m glad director James Mangold managed to avoid falling into the trap that befell Suicide Squad, and kept Logan all about Wolverine and his last days. The movie never feels bigger than it needs to be.
3. Professor X…
Speaking of Professor X, we now see Charles Xavier as old and infirmed man. He is prone to seizures, and possibly on the door of Alzheimer’s. If you ever wonder what happens to the most power telepath on the planet when his body and mind start to degrade, look no further. Logan isn’t afraid of showing you the repercussions and they are frightening. When Charles has a seizure, he effects a massive amount of people around him.
Yet Professor X also seems to be having issues coming to grips with his failing health. He hates taking his medicine, and what his life has become. And it’s on that front that Charles and Logan really can share a bond.
Both Logan and Xavier need each other. They have to take care of each other because they are all that they have. It’s as touching as it is sad. Logan has taken to drinking to solve his problems, while Charles seems to be trying to avoid them all together. Both of these men have fallen far from their hero days.
I do have to say though that I didn’t love the Xavier’s death. At first, I thought it was a dream sequence because of who killed him. But alas, Charles Xavier did in fact die in bed…to a Wolverine clone…
4. X-24 was unnecessary
Which brings me to X-24, a clone of Wolverine. I felt like the movie could have done without this one. Compared to the rest of the movie, X-24 felt really forced. Wolverine and crew were having a hard enough time with the team of soldiers chasing them, and their own failing health, that they really didn’t need another villain to combat. Especially one as cheese as X-24. I mean, when has cloning ever worked well in comics. *cough* spidey-clone.
I also totally called the death of X-24 by the adamantium bullet. As soon as I saw the clone, I knew that was how he was going to go out. While Logan was toying around with suicide with the bullet, I knew better. It was almost a “Chekhov’s Gun” type of situation. And sure enough, Laura killed X-24 with the bullet.
5. Wolverine’s death was fitting.
This was a great send off for Hugh Jackman and the character he has played over a whole mess of films. You always have to wonder how a mutant that can heal immediately will finally be taken out. And for Wolverine, it wasn’t some glorious battle at the hight of his game, but one final showdown to save the daughter he never knew he had. It’s real, it’s personal, and it gives Logan one last chance to embrace his humanity after a decade of death and violence.
While I did think the movie ended a tad abruptly, I did enjoy the symbolism when the cross on his grave was turned to an X.
6. The X-Men comics are real.
One thing I found interesting was that the X-Men comics are a thing in the world of this movie. The X-Men were not only heroes, but apparently celebrities with their own comic book stories. Near the end of the movie, there was even a the little boy carrying the Wolverine doll, in all its yellow spandex glory. I think this is the first super hero movie to truly embrace the fact that comic books exists and feature the main characters.
7. This wasn’t a torch passing movie.
With the introduction of Laura (X-23), this could have easily been turned into a torch passing movie, ala The Force Awakens. But that didn’t happen in my opinion. While Laura definitely had some scene stealing moments (I loved her feral rage), I felt like she was able to compliment Logan, which was helped by their great onscreen chemistry. Laura seemed perfectly capable from the get go (other than with social skills), so we weren’t forced into some kind of mentor relationship between Logan and Laura.
The abrupt ending to the movie also helped prevent this from turning into a torch passing flick. Once Logan died and was buried, that was it, fade to black, time for the credits. We don’t know if the group ever even made it to Canada (I assume they did), but the story stops there because it’s not about them, it’s about our old hero and his last ride.
8. The consequences are real.
To go along with the darkness of Logan is the fact that it feels more real than just about any superhero movie to date. When the trio meets the family with the horses on the highway, I wasn’t surprised that they stopped to help. But as soon as they were invited back, I knew they family was in trouble. Proving that no good deed goes unpunished, the family is brutally murdered, all for taking in a few good samaritans.
In fact, all throughout the movie bad things happen to good people. The nurse that helped X-23 escape, the gas station attendant, the family…the body count just keeps going. That’s just part of the real world Logan takes place in. Even our main characters died. The albino at the start, Xavier, Logan. No one, short of Laura who no one was really trying to kill, was safe. Logan was a refreshing breath of air in a genre so dominated by “plot armor”.
9. That Deadpool teaser.
I know it’s not part of the movie, but I was totally caught off guard by the Deadpool teaser at the start. It came after the previews and the lame “no cellphone” videos, so I had no idea at first that the movie hadn’t actually started yet. Even the bleak visuals of the trailer matched what I was expecting from the movie.
That being said, that teaser was fantastic and I got a good laugh from it. Apparently the one we saw in the theater was a shortened version, so make sure to check out the online one, complete with the best Stan Lee cameo ever.
10. Where do they go from here?
Fox is in an interesting position. They own the movie rights to the mutants and they clearly aren’t stopping anytime soon. But Wolverine is also one of the most iconic of all the X-Men, so I have a hard time believing this will be the last time he appears on the screen. I do think it’s the last time we see Jackman in the role though. He’s said he’s done with the role and this was a perfect send off for him and his character.
I hope whoever steps into the claws next doesn’t try to duplicate what Jackman did, that will be a losing battle as his portrayal of Wolverine was fantastic. But if they can put their own spin on it, I’m sure the audiences will be happy to embrace the new version of their beloved x-man.