By: Matt Prazak
Logan is the tenth installment in the X-Men franchise and third, and presumably final in the Wolverine centered spinoffs. Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart reprise their roles as Logan and Xavier in this superhero film that parallels as a brutal western-family-drama-road-trip movie. James Mangold helms the film as he did previously with The Wolverine in 2013.
Logan tells the story of a not so distant future where mutants are on the brink of extinction. Logan spends his days working as a chauffeur and hustling for prescription drugs in Texas. He and mutant outcast Caliban (Stephen Merchant) live in an abandoned smelting plant across the border in Mexico, where they care for a senile Charles Xavier. When an 11 year old girl named Laura (Dafne Keen) finds her way to the exiled location she is followed by a group of enforcers led by Donald Pierce (Boyd Holbrook). Logan and Xavier are introduced to the mutant traits of Laura as carnage ensues, eventually the three of them escape as the captors fall behind.
The third installment of the Wolverine movies differs from the two previous as it finally unleashes the beast. A grumpy, no nonsense old man spewing profanities, Logan swipes through his opponents with ease as blood spatters everywhere. With the success of the rated R Deadpool, 20th Century Fox was finally confident enough to give the fans the Wolverine they knew and loved from the comics. The violence is graphic but emphasizes the brutal, bleak world Logan is living in.
A modern day western with sci-fi elements, Logan packs a punch with its action while offering intimate moments between the three leads that will leave lips quivering. Maybe the most personal superhero film to date, the scenes between Logan and Xavier show the father-son relationship from a new perspective. Carrying the gaunt Charles up the stairs and tucking him in bed, the two share a conversation that sheds new light on both characters.
With both portraying their characters since 2000, Jackman and Stewart deliver their best performances to date. Jackman gives Logan nuances we’ve never seen before, often speaking just as much with his eyes than he is with his mouth. Stewart’s Xavier lives with heavy shoulders as he is haunted by a past that caused pain and suffering to many. Seeing a frail Charles is traumatic as he has lost control of himself. Xavier is vulnerable but still more caring than ever as he encourages a reluctant Logan to help Laura. Played by Dafne Keen, Laura is quiet for the majority of the film as she is taken aback by the world she is introduced to. Subtlety showing development throughout the film, Laura becomes more mature and independent.
If there is one cause of concern for this film it will most likely be the villains and the intentions they have. Boyd Holbrook and his charisma make the most of the one note, clichéd character he plays. Richard E Grant plays the head of Transigen, a project that involves the development of new mutants. Coming off as a generic mad scientist, Grant isn’t given much to work with and doesn’t bring anything fresh to the character. Giving more screen time to both bad guys cuts into the development of the three leads which is the films main priority. Regardless of the thin villains, their intentions are more grounded than other X-Men movies which gives this film more surreal stakes.
The ending is more than satisfying as it concludes the journey of both Logan and Xavier as Jackman and Stewart plan to step away from their characters. A film so rich in character, Logan stands at the top as one of the best superhero films to date. Seamlessly mixing visceral violence and vulgar with genuine moments of heart, Logan gives fans the Wolverine of their comic book dreams while not succumbing to the tropes of the typical superhero film.
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