When Logan first came out, we thought to ourselves that this was a shining example of just how a movie in the superhero genre could stand out as an artistic masterpiece. Don’t get me wrong, we believe that all films are a form of art but compared to Logan? Nothing stands close, even after all that came before and after Endgame.
By now, you have likely seen the movie if you are interested in superhero flicks, the X-Men, or brilliant films in general but if you have not, we will try and keep the spoilers to a minimum. That said, the movie did come out five years ago so it’s kind of on you at this point.
Logan loosely follows the ‘Old Man Logan‘ story by Mark Millar and Steve McNiven in which Wolverine is now an old man. The movie closely follows Logan into his gray years as he cares for Charles Xavier who has now become ill and has developed the most extreme case of dementia known to man. Combined with his Mutant abilities, Xavier’s unpredictable behavior, which often results in massive attacks on the populace due to his uncontrollable power, the government has deemed Xavier a weapon of mass destruction. As Wolverine aids the ailing professor, the two try to find a life of peace and escape as all of the other Mutants in the world are gone, none having been born in over twenty years. However, their lives take a turn and become vastly more complicated as a young mutant named Luara, aka X-23 (Dafne Keen) falls into their lap as she is hunted by an organization led by Donald Pierce (Boyd Holbrook).
What makes Logan so compelling, both as a film and as a character, is seeing everything that he has been through and everything he is burdened with having lived through so many generations. Witnessing everyone you know and love die and knowing that anyone who gets close to you can suffer a fate worse than death, and then eventually death itself, is not an easy task. In fact, Logan is one of a few heroes out there that are strong enough to stomach such gruesome brutality but even more impressive still, is how well Hugh Jackman is able to capture that.
In the most basic terms, Wolverine is a self-healing mutant with metal bones who fights bad guys. It would be hard to describe that to anyone who wasn’t already familiar and even more difficult would be trying to explain that this film was nominated for Best Adaptive Screenplay, the first live-action superhero movie to do so.
Whether or not you are a fan of the X-Men or the genre it hails from, we all know just how incredible Hugh Jackman is as an actor. But it would be such an incredible disservice to focus so much on that and not just how great the rest of the cast and crew were to be able to put together such an emotionally moving film. While Jackman gave the best performance of his career, his supporting cast and director James Mangold, along with everyone else in the crew, made sure that they made the absolute best movie they possibly could, and it shows in literally every way.
Opposite Jackman is Patrick Stewart, whose role as Charles Xavier this time around is unlike any other portrayal that has come before and as expected, he nails it. In fact, I don’t think we have ever seen Patrick Stewart in a role he didn’t absolutely nail, including that one movie where he plays a bad guy who takes over a high school.
Newcomer Stephen Merchant plays Caliban, one of the last remaining adult mutants who can sense and locate other mutants. What can we say about Stephen that hasn’t already been said? Like Stewart, he is perfect in pretty much everything, even if his usualy genre is in comedy. In a movie all about the last remaining superheroes, Merchant is a great addition and brings an equally serious performance to the film’s already fairly serious tone.
Boyd Holbrook, who I had originally thought was Tom Felton after hitting the gym, is not your typical charming, southern bad guy. I mean, on paper he might be but in what was our first time seeing Holbrook on screen, we were blown away. As a villain you want to see fail, we still wanted to see more of Holbrook in action as Pierce. We could not get enough of his sinister undertones and thinly veiled threats. Especially when the guy can back them up with his radical metal arm.
Then of course there is Dafne Keen, the shining star of the film who steels it right out from anyone else she shares the screen with. As a Wolverine clone, she brought about a whole new level of gruesome violence to a film whose titular character is one of the most brutally violent superheroes of all time. But the fact that she managed to absolutely dominate the screen with a breathtaking performance at such a young age makes us sad that she wasn’t able to return as Laura/X-23 in a later film after the Disney acquisition. She easily could have been the star of her own film franchise and while she never got the chance to even try, even now that she is older, we hope that Disney sees the potential in this because we desperately want to see it happen.
Taking the focus away from the cast for a moment- we need to really acknowledge the incredible filmmaking at work here. James Mangold’s directing is in perfect form from start to finish. At no point in the movie did we ever witness a scene that we felt could have been done better by a different director or filmmaker. The writing, which Mangold had a hand in, is equally incredible with a screenplay from Scott Frank, Michael Green, and Mangold that earned the film an Oscar Nomination for its screenwriting.
The editing, the cinematography, the sound and score, there is nothing in this movie that could use any touch-ups or improvement. The whole thing is just so damn close to perfect that we aren’t sure anyone out in the movie business could ever take a crack at a superhero film and come close in comparison to Logan. It is that good.
Overall, Logan is one of our favorite movies of all time and I think we highlighted why it earns a spot among such a select few films. It is hard to imagine Warner Bros. Discovery or Disney/Marvel Studios ever reaching such potential and then some as Jackman and Mangold did here with Logan. The only other film in recent memory that is in the same ballpark as Logan is maybe The Batman but even so, it’s still not even close, even if they are in the same league.
In the last film featuring Wolverine, fans and star Hugh Jackman said farewell to the character in what would amount to being a masterpiece of film and a proper sendoff to one of the most popular cinematic heroes and characters in all of movie history. And while we hope one day Jackman will return to snikt the claws at least one more time, we are happy knowing there is still a rather large film portfolio featuring Wolverine on his many adventures that we can go back, rewatch, and relive whenever we want. Just like we did with Logan.
Logan was originally released in February 2017 to critical acclaim. The film stars, Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Dafne Keen, Boyd Holbrook, Stephen Merchant, and Richard E. Grant.