Written By: Nick Poulimenakos
This is probably the hardest review I have ever written… Let’s do this…
I have said that Wolverine is my favourite superhero a few times on this website. He was the first superhero I watched on screen (X2: X-Men United was my first superhero movie) and he was the first superhero I read about in comics. Hugh Jackman’s famed iteration of the character is one that I (as well as the two other members of Talkies Network) have grown up with. So, when Comic-Con 2016 rolled around, and Hugh Jackman announced that he would play Wolverine one last time, I was both excited and sad. For one, the character I have loved won’t be in anymore X-Men films. But on the other hand, I was extremely excited to see what Fox would do for Jackman’s last X-Men film. The result? Logan, a gripping, grounded superhero story that is, without a doubt, the definitive Wolverine film, and quite possibly, one of the greatest comic book films of all time.
Logan takes place in the year 2029, 6 years after the ending of X-Men: Days of Future Past. The X-Men have disappeared and all that remains is an ailing Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) and a weary Logan (Hugh Jackman). Logan has aged significantly and, as a result, is losing his healing abilities. When a mysterious woman arrives begging Logan to help a young mutant child, Laura aka X-23, Logan must use his claws one last time to protect the girl from the sinister forces that pursue her.
This is my favourite superhero movie. No question about it. I went into this film with the highest expectations and they were all exceeded. Hugh Jackman gives the performance of a lifetime as the clawed mutant. He has played this character for the last 17 years and he lets that show in the film in the best way possible. Wolverine is carrying the baggage of his life as weapon X, as an amnesic wonderer and as a member of the X-Men. Jackman completely understands exactly what Wolverine needs to deliver in each seen of Logan; whether it’s concern, empathy, berserker rage or sorrow, Jackman can do it all. This has become second nature to him, having played the Marvel Comics character for so long.
The rest of the cast is utterly fantastic. Patrick Stewart returns as the former leader of the X-Men, Charles Xavier who is incredibly dangerous now that his mind powers are deteriorating. He is a wise-cracking, disorientated, swearing old man who still hangs on to his young heart and it could not have been better. Boyd Holbrook stars as main antagonist, Donald Pierce and proves to be a great matchup for Wolverine. Holbrook is charismatic, chaotic and, above all else, one giant asshole. Every scene he is in, he is cold and calculating but never seems to take things extremely seriously. Despite not having a lot of screen time, Stephen Merchant portrays the mutant tracker Caliban very well. He demonstrates that he cares for Wolverine and Professor X and he desperately wants to help them. He was one big scene in the film’s second act and it’s just awesome.
This paragraph will be dedicated to X-23/Laura, played by newcomer Dafne Keen. She’s amazing. There is no other way to put it. She is the scene-stealer at every point in the film. Director James Mangold beautifully adapts the character, showing her feral and ferocious side but also demonstrating that Laura is still just a child who needs help. She was the perfect character to partner up with Wolverine as the film puts the makeshift father/daughter story at the forefront. Wolverine is reluctant to help the young mutant as everything he has done in the past has ended with pain and suffering. He is wounded and tired and it is X-23 who forces Logan to get his act together and unleash the Wolverine. Dafne Keen gives one the best breakout performances I have seen and I can’t wait to see what Fox does with X-23 in the future.
I have two minor gripes about this film. The first is Richard E Grant’s character, Zander Rice. Now, I liked his character a lot and his backstory was a nice tie in to previous X-Men films but I felt as though he was not given enough screen time to fully flesh out his character. Granted the film wasn’t really about him, it would have been nice to spend a few extra moments with the character. The second gripe is that the second act feels slower in comparison to the first and third act. This was mainly noticed by JJ and Artur, my partners in Talkies Network. The second act focuses much more on conversation and dialogue. It is clear that this was done to further the relationship between Charles, Logan and Laura, but when looking at the dramatic first act and the action packed finale, the second act does ever-so-slightly bog down the film.
James Mangold must be given a ton of the credit for how this film turned out. He directed this film in such a way that it didn’t feel like a comic book film. With all the CGI, over-the-top superhero films that are being churned out nowadays, Logan feels like a gritty western that includes comic characters. Mangold and Jackman have risen the superhero movie bar to a level that hasn’t been seen since Christopher Nolan came out with The Dark Knight. Drawing inspiration from films such as Unforgiven, Paper Moon, Mad Max, and The Cowboys, Mangold delivers a visceral, tear-jerking superhero film that will be remembered for years to come.
Logan is probably the most beautifully shot X-Men film ever. Using real locations like New Mexico and New Orleans, John Mathieson gives viewers one of the most stunningly shot superhero films ever.
Marco Beltrami, who previously composed the music for 2013’s The Wolverine, returns to score this film and it is just wonderful. Beltrami creates a very earie, original musical score that will stick in audiences’ minds for days on end. The intense and, at times, quiet orchestral music plant the viewer within the various battles Wolverine faces. Whether it is facing off against The Reavers or sharing a moment with Laura, Marco Beltrami knocks it right out of the park.
I should also say that final shot of the movie is absolutely incredible. This specific scene had almost all of the theatre in tears.
Logan is a film that has a special place in my heart. Not only does it give my favourite superhero the send-off he deserves, but it is also one of the most well made films in recent memory. It strays away from the typical superhero film style and becomes a dark, western-thriller that contains amazing performances, beautiful cinematography, an incredible musical score and minimal CGI. I was completely blown away by how much Mangold and Jackman accomplished with this finale. Jackman gives an Oscar-worthy performance (yes you read that right) as the fan-favourite mutant. The story, the violence, the performances; it all gave way to a perfect end to the Wolverine trilogy. Logan is a masterpiece and is my favourite superhero movie of all time.
Nick’s Rating – 10/10
Artur’s Rating – 9.4/10
JJ’s Rating – 9/10
Logan hits theatres on March 3rd, 2017