Logan is allegedly Hugh Jackman’s final turn as the title character or Wolverine, as he is also known as. A character that has enabled Hugh Jackman to become almost an icon of films, will continue but they will have to do it with someone else. Too bad for us. Jackman will be very difficult to replace. Logan is only the second R-rated film to come from Marvel Comics, with only Deadpool being the first film. As Logan opens, there is a teaser trailer, of sorts that is included in the actual film of Logan itself. I have never seen this done before. Usually, the previews run and then the feature film. It is odd, but it works.
As for the film, Logan, James Mangold has written and directed it all by himself with Scott Frank aiding him in the story department. They have given Logan a rousing sendoff. The film opens with Logan as a tired, broken and alcohol swilling limo driver to make ends meet. Living with Professor Xavier (Patrick Stewart) and Caliban (Stephen Merchant) near the Mexico/American border in the middle of nowhere, the three live on an abandoned farm. Addicted to booze and painkillers the three have a contentious relationship but since they are in hiding, I accepted their situation.
When a Hispanic woman named Gabriela finds Logan she pleads for help for her little girl, Laura (Dafne Keen). There is a place called, Eden for mutants to live in peace, somewhere in South Dakota. She offers him $50,000 to take Laura there. Since Logan is trying to buy a boat and sale himself, the professor and Caliban off into the sunset, he reluctantly agrees. Before he can get on the road, Pierce (Boyd Holbrook) and his gang of mercenaries converge on the farm and all hell breaks loose. On the run, with Pierce and his goons on their tail, Logan heads for South Dakota.
Logan could have been more of the same that we have seen with the last couple of X-Men films. They have been decent but their stories have been a bit of a letdown. X-Men: Apocalypse was widely panned although I did give it a three star review, if I am not mistaken. These are good films but for younger audiences. Writer and director James Mangold has created an adult film about real issues regarding life, death, mortality and all that encompasses. Logan has a lot of responsibility and it is on his mind constantly.
Bribing local hospitals so he can get the drugs Logan and the others need, working almost nonstop, Logan is a broken down shell of his former self. I really did not think of him as a superhero in this film and that is a credit to Mangold delving deep into the psyche of these characters. Also credit Jackman for a riveting performance. Logan is usually, surly and impatient. His disgust with himself and what is begins to take its toll and at one point, I truly think Logan can barely stand the sight of himself. He absolutely detests what he is. Professor Xavier still believes there is goodness in the world and tries his best to bring out the better in Logan.
Logan has an abundance of action that is spectacularly shot and Boyd Holbrook provides a worthy performance as one of Logan’s adversaries. I was particularly impressed with newcomer, Dafne Keen as Laura. As you have most likely seen in the trailers, she is just like Logan, sprouting blades from her hands and feet. She is a vicious beast when she wants to be, but by film’s end she has become so much more. Dafne Keen show remarkable maturity and understanding with her character. There are a few scenes towards the last act of this film which require her to show some emotion and she shows it convincingly.
Since much will be asked about the R-rating for Logan, I will say this an adults only film. It has a plethora of bad language and the violence is grisly. Since up until this point, Wolverine has existed in a PG-13 world, some of the violence might take you back some, but I went with it. It seemed logical and fit the direness of the story. These are people who are fighting for survival in a world that has all but rendered them extinct. The acting by everyone in this film is superb, especially by Jackman and Keen. Characters are given dimensions and depth so it makes everything else more involved and compelling. Gone are the bells and whistles of previous X-Men films; time travel and such. Logan is a humanistic story of mutants, plain and simple.
I was disappointed, however, by the fact that Marco Beltrami replaced Cliff Martinez in scoring Logan. Nothing against Mr. Beltrami. He is a fine composer and has worked with Mangold previously on the remake of 3:10 to Yuma and Wolverine. But I wanted to see what Mangold and Martinez could do, together. There are several musical cues in the second and third acts of Logan that bear the Martinez touch; soft, surreal and dreamlike. As it stands, Beltrami’s score is superb and is worth purchasing. I also could see what the final action sequence was going to reveal but overall, Logan is a raw, gritty, thoughtful and exciting film. Well fleshed out characters, with solid acting, writing and directing show just how adult superhero films can really be.
Logan – ****1/2 out of 5
Logan – Rated R for language, graphic violence, adult situations
Logan – Run Time is 137 minutes
Logan is now playing in theaters. Check your local listings for times and locations.