Since his debut in the X-Men movie (2000), Wolverine has snikt his claws in cinema for as long as 17 years now, thanks to the dedication of Hugh Jackman to the role. Despite his incredibly low rated movies–X-Men 3 and X-Men Origins–his reputation remains strong; leaving no dent or scratch to bother with. Wolverine’s fame has been as invulnerable as his own body, thereby creating one of the biggest film icons in 21st century.
When Deadpool hit the cinemas with his baby hands and fourth wall breaking, it became the first R rated Marvel movie in history. Since it became such a box office hit, it wasn’t surprising to hear that another R rated X-Men movie would come around. A year later and here we are with Logan, Hugh Jackman’s last go as the iconic Wolverine.
Despite what it sounds like, Logan wasn’t–or at least didn’t feel like a cash grab. I knew the crew, especially Hugh Jackman, poured out as much love as they could when they made this movie. I felt that love when I came into the theater and I still felt it when I left the theater.
Logan was able to achieve what his other character-focused films hasn’t. While X-Men Origins: Wolverine couldn’t help but make Logan an action star, The Wolverine was hitting the right notes but it still felt lacking in a few areas. Logan is, in the core, a character beaten down by history, who’s always under construction and has never really found his peace.
This was well represented in almost every aspect of the film: the soundtrack, composed by Marco Beltrami, is as beautiful as it is haunting. It has its moments which promise serenity only to bring us back into the gritty reality of Logan. The gore helped its audience to view the film and its characters as vulnerable, yet dangerous, while still never losing its emotional core. Logan’s age has suppressed his invulnerability, and his bullet wounds no longer chuck up the bullets the way they used to. This added effect provides an element to the story without the need for explanation; it’s action-through-storytelling at its finest. The action scenes never take away the life from the plot but instead adds to the visceral tone of the movie.
While The Wolverine focused on the animal, berserk nature of the character, Logan focused on his human side. The plot, which barely adapts from the Old Man Logan storyline from the comics, is a roadtrip in essence. Director James Mangold (director of The Wolverine) made sure that the story is a mere backdrop to what is really important: Logan himself. Logan has always been in a roadtrip–getting himself from Point A to Point B is what drives him as a character. Despite this, he never reaches Point B and is instead forced to take u-turns and drive through tough terrain.
Veterans Patrick Stewart and Hugh Jackman are joined by Dafne Keen as Laura, or as we all know her, X-23. She provides a ferocious yet mysterious aura to her character and has a very promising acting career. I cross my fingers to see her appear in more X-Men films. Patrick Stewart plays a 90 year old Charles Xavier, who is as unbalanced as the rest of the main crew thanks to his age. The villains, played by Boyd Holbrook and Richard E. Grant, never really make worthy opponents to Logan, but instead push his already worn-out limits and show us Logan’s real opponent: himself.
Overall, Logan provides a nuanced, brutal, yet visceral look at Wolverine. It is a love letter and a great salutation to the character and to the audience. It breaks the boundaries of superhero tropes to create a personal, more intimate look at the character we all know and love. While Deadpool paved the way for R rated Marvel movies, Logan shows us and Hollywood that superhero films don’t need bigger stakes or CGI glory to create a superhero film. Sometimes all we need is a crew behind the film that loves and respects its material.
Yes, Hugh Jackman is no longer Wolverine, but it will be tough to adjust to a new Wolverine. To the next Wolverine actor: I am so sorry for the high expectations that you will receive.
Thank you Hugh.
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