What clearly separated this film from its superhero counterparts were the characters, action, and the tone. Hugh Jackman’s version of the titular character, Logan/Wolverine stands out immensely. Throughout this film, the sadness, weariness, and mental and physical fatigue of this character was tangible with every gruesome fight and intense interaction with every character. What was truly compelling with Jackman was his ability to go into depth of the character of Logan and reveal a man that conceals himself in a facade of isolation and loneliness but in actuality is caring and selfless. In Jackman’s last depiction of the character, he reflects the most intimate and emotional parts of this closed-off character showing off Jackman’s longest and best roles. In addition, what made this film noticeably unique was its set of lovably complex supporting characters, specifically Charles Xavier/Professor X (Patrick Stewart) and Laura/X-23 (Dafne Keen).
Stewart’s performance as the dying mentor was just as equivalent to Jackman’s damaged hero. Stewart’s portrayal seems surprisingly vulnerable but also emotionally considerate. It is interesting to see how this film has unveiled more about these Charles’ and Logan’s range of personality that sort of went unseen in past X-Men films. Stewart’s character, Charles, centers on how a 90-year-old man with extremely powerful psychic abilities deals with the increasing awful struggles of dementia. Stewart provides an intriguing component to the story, showing how a man that was once known to be mentally stable loses his stability and has to rely on others to guide him rather than the other way around. The film is at its best when Stewart and Jackman are able to portray the dynamic relationship of Charles and Logan with Stewart almost representing Charles as the old, grumpy father and Jackman portraying Logan as the irritated and saddened caregiver son that is pained by his father’s illness. The film finally shows even though Logan and Charles have somewhat contrasting characteristics that juxtapose perfectly. Although, what is so similar between Logan and Charles is that they share is that they share care, kindness, and sympathy for each other and for others.
Dafne Keen’s portrayal of Laura/X-23 is magnificent. Laura is a violent, moody, and taciturn girl that gradually through the story shows how resourceful, reliable, and caring she is to Logan and Charles. Furthermore, Keen flawlessly executes complicated and ultra-violent action scenes while also making the interactions between Jackman and Stewart believable. Her emotional connection with Jackman’s “Logan” is one to be aware of due to her vitality in Logan’s life and guidance. Another standout of the film was Stephen Merchant’s “Caliban,” who deviates from his past comedic performances and gives a more serious portrayal that highlights his acting range.
The tone of the film is dark, gritty, and intensely violent. It is a modernized Western film that incorporates underlying themes of loss, death, and the integrality of a family. The plot of the story is character-driven and also intensive, cohesive, and gradually paced. Although, there are some negatives that hurt the film. One is the continuity of the X-Men film series where timelines have been altered and even erased. Viewers who have seen the past movies might become perplexed with the film’s setting and might question what circumstances occurred that cause these harsh alterations to Logan’s and Charles’ lives. Another error was the absence of a strong central villain. Boyd Holbrook’s portrayal of Donald Pierce; the malicious head of security of an evil corporation did well with what he was given. Richard E. Grant as Dr. Xander Rice, head scientist of that evil corporation was also a decent villain just nothing that was distinctive.
This film provides viewers with a bold, gritty, and unconventional tone that differentiates itself from other films of the superhero genre. Mangold reveals this when he focuses more on the characters and their complex relationships rather than how ostentatious they can make action sequences look. Overall, the film has amazingly talented characters, realistic relationships, and a distinctly gritty tone the only problems of plot continuity and the need for a strong central villain. It is these combinations that leaveLogan with one of the greatest endings to a superhero and with a grade of an A-.
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“Logan” Review: The Greatest End to A Hero’s Story. Photo courtesy of 20th Century Fox.