An X-Man's Last Stand, Logan Review
It has been almost 20 years since the release of the first X-Men film, which means that nearly two decades have passed since Hugh Jackman first put on the Wolverine claws and Patrick Stewart first sat in Professor X’s chair. In many ways, these two actors helped start the superhero movie renaissance we find ourselves in today, so it is fitting that their final outing with these characters serves as a reflection on the genre.
In Logan, comic books are presented as a romanticized version of true events, and the world is much more real and gritty than any before. However, this dystopia is unlike the one displayed in X-Men: Days of Future Past, with giant robots and snazzy black outfits. Logan’s future is essentially a Western version of Cormac McCarthy’s, The Road. It is not a future that was brought about by a power-hungry super villain but rather, by humanity, making it even more believable.
In the year 2029, mutant-kind is going extinct. At nearly 200 years old, Logan is finally starts to look his age since his healing abilities are slowing down, making his youth more temporary and his wounds more permanent. Logan spends his days caring for the ailing Professor X, whose powerful mind has become ill and dangerous. Although Logan tries to keep a low profile, the reputation of the Wolverine continues to follow him, and a woman seeks his help in taking a young girl to a supposed mutant haven. Logan and Charles are dragged out of hiding and retirement while trying to help the girl, who is revealed to have much in common with the title character.
Anchoring this film are the three leads: Logan, Charles, and the girl, Laura. We have seen Logan and Charles’s relationship evolve and strengthen over the course of many movies. What started as a simple mentor-pupil dynamic has become much more layered, with both characters acting paternal to one another in their own ways. They may bicker like an (extremely) old married couple, but it is clear they have formed an unbreakable, familial bond.
Laura also has a familial bond with Wolverine, but it is Charles, with his undying drive to help people, who initially wants to take care of her. The powerful chemistry between the characters is what makes Logan such an emotional experience.
My one qualm is that the death of Professor X felt rushed. The filmmakers stole a page from the Game of Thrones playbook and killed him off suddenly, providing great shock value, but I could not help but feel that Charles deserved a more ceremonious send-off, even if it went against the stark and realistic vibe of the film.
Regardless of the Professor’s passing, the tone of Logan is one of its strongest assets. The movie makes excellent use of its R-rating with plenty of violence, while still having moments of levity and inspiration. Director James Mangold essentially gave its audience a movie adaptation of The Last of Us video game with an X-Men theme. It is spectacular.
Logan is a love letter to longtime X-Men fans, but also stands on its own as one of the best superhero movies to date. The grief incited by this film rivals that of Manchester by the Sea and delivers an Oscar-worthy swan song for Jackman, Stewart, and their respective characters.
Final Score: 8/10