I will be honest with you, I was never big on the X-Men films. Growing up in the early 2000’s I was always more excited for the Spiderman films. All the knowledge I have of X-Men was through my father’s comic books. But as I grew older I started to understand and appreciate why X-Men was one of Marvel shining examples of what stories a comic book could tell when influenced by real events. I was excited for Logan, but it wasn’t a film I was incredibly hyped for. Now after seeing it, I have never been more wrong about a superhero film before.
With the removal of a PG or a 12 rating, director James Mangold was given the opportunity to create a gritty world for these characters. Not only did James do that, but he also incorporated a lot of elements that fans of the X-Men franchise had been requesting for 17 years, these included but not limited to a huge amount of bloody violence, the film includes blood stains on the hands of Wolverine where blood would be expected to stain, a few vulgarities from Wolverine and Professor X of all characters, it was quite surprising to here Patrick Stewart use this type of language as a character who has been presented as the kindest and wisest of mutants but it fits perfectly with the world and the characters situation.
Wolverine and Professor X are placed in a period where physically and mentally they are too tired and worn out. The days of the X-Men are over and are just waiting for death to take them from the earth. The film’s opening scene teaches us so much about how this film is going to play out. We know instantly that Wolverine is nearing the end, he’s between a rock and a hard place with he and Professor X both struggling with their mutant abilities and that the action in this film is going to be nothing like we’ve seen in previous X-Men or Wolverine films.
This is Hugh Jackman’s supposedly final performance as Wolverine and I don’t need to tell you that his performance was outstanding because after 17 years of portraying the character he has become the expert on the character. There are some characters in film that if performed well become the actor or actress’ property in a way, it is only open to those a very limited number of performers. It’s very unlikely that anyone will ever outshine Heath Ledger as The Joker or Al Pacino as Tony Montana, Hugh Jackman is another actor that can be added to this list. Wolverine belongs to Hugh Jackman.
For all the film’s brutality, the flow of the cinematography and editing is quite peaceful. There is very minimal rough cutting, everything flows together in great synchronisation. However, this film can be split into three acts, two of those acts being a road movie inter-cut with action sequences and the other reserved for developing character relationship and a time for Wolverine to self-reflect. The second act is where the film does start to slow down which disrupts the pacing of the film but not completely off rail as to follow a different route. In this second act the character of Caliban (played by Stephen Merchant) start to become more irrelevant to the events of the film, despite being give a strong new purpose from his introduction.
Let’s move away from the details of Wolverine and Professor X and instead analyses the character of Laura or X-23 for X-Men comic readers. In the film, she reflects Wolverine’s former, aggressive self. This is an incredible first time performance for Dafne Keen, she conveys an incredible amount of emotion and she does this for half of the film without a single line of dialogue. For all filmmakers, out there, if you can incorporate characters’ emotions without having them talk, that is the mark of a talented director. Laura also takes part in a granddaughter and grandfather type relationship with Professor X, even during a scene where they’re watching an old western (1953’s Shane for film buffs) the dialogue given to Laura by Professor X is very to how a grandparent would speak. Creating a calm attitude to sooth the rage she has bottled up.
James Mangold manages also to incorporate the X-Men comics into this film’s universe, something that once you see you’ll start to question why they didn’t do this sooner. If you’re expecting a genius method of inclusion, they you’ll be quite surprise to see that they are incorporated in the simplest of ways for a screenwriter to do so.
I must make it perfectly clear, Logan is a long way from being equal to The Dark Knight, a film celebrated as the grandest superhero film and quite possibly the grandest their ever will be, Logan however has certainly given it a run for its money and although it falls short of Christopher Nolan’s masterpiece, it has certainly placed it in running contention of being one of the greatest superhero films in recent cinema. Yes it has flaws, yes it can be improved upon, but for what it is, Logan is most certainly a must watch for any film enthusiast to see.
Final Result: 10/10 – Masterpiece
Have you seen Logan? What did you think? Please let me know your thoughts and opinions in the comments below.
Next Time: Kong: Skull Island