For the longest time I’d given up on 20th Century Fox’s adaptation of the X-Men series (2000-2006). The first two films from Bryan Singer were fine, but the third was an abysmal mess. More films came around, like X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009), which followed suit. Then Matthew Vaughn came shaking things up, rebooting the franchise with X-Men: First Class (2011). That film is beyond amazing, but Fox destroyed its potential by linking it to past films through X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014), with the mindset of a larger universe. DOFP was a great film, but still a missed opportunity on how magnificent it could’ve been. In all, the one flaw with the character of Logan (Wolverine) in all of these films is that despite being the ultimate warrior with claws for weapons there is an absence of blood and carnage. James Mangold addressed this with The Wolverine (2013), but was still too afraid to go all out with the character. Finally, with X-Men: Apocalypse possibly being the worst of them all, it seemed like the franchise died a horrific death. Though Mangold wasn’t going to give up. He promised a worthy X-Men film through Logan (Hugh Jackman) and gave us exactly what fans have been longing for. Not only is Logan one of the best X-Men films to date, it’s possibly one of the most entertaining comic book movies of all time.
Separate from Marvel Studios’ cinematic universe, the world of mutants has always had their own continuity to hold things together. Though when it comes to continuity within Fox’s X-Men lore, it’s all over the place, being loosely connected to each other. That doesn’t matter here, and Mangold sets the environment in the not so distant future. It’s a smart idea to have all the stakes stand on their own, and it gives the writing team more freedom to explore. This works well for creating the overall tone of the film without feeling like anything that came before. As you’re watching you forget it’s a comic book movie at times, until all the action starts ramping up; which is a plus on many standards. For a while now, other critics and fans have complained about a super hero/comic book fatigue that some feel, and Mangold takes care of that issue from the first frame of the film. Instead of some action blockbuster, Logan is just a man tired from life, reminiscing on the past, and wanting to die peacefully. I think we can all relate to that at some point.
Hugh Jackman has taken on this character for the past 17 years, and as a fan of the character myself, this is by far his best bout. Without any words from him early on, whether you’re familiar with the material or not, you sympathize with the guy. He’s cursed to live a long life that he didn’t ask for, and is plagued by the constant greed and supremacy of foes from his past. He’s nearly given up on everyone, which could turn you off, but in his case, you can’t blame him. It appears that everyone he cares about suffers, which haunts him psychologically and brings his persona down to the lowest levels. The irony being that he’s such a powerful, unstoppable force physically, but is dying on the inside emotionally. Professor Xavier (Patrick Stewart) is back as well with all his wisdom. It’s sad to see him this way, with him having been such a respected figure when he led a school many years ago. Though seeing one of the most powerful mutants of all time possibly in his last days struggling with disease and the effects of old age was humbling. He’s still powerful beyond measure, but doesn’t possess the same control as before; which warrants a few scenes of comic book greatness.
Even though on the surface this appears to be more than a comic book film, what’s a comic book film without well-choreographed nonstop action. The action does start and stop, but when it’s up and running it pops loud and comes from all directions. James Mangold and team take full advantage of all of Logan’s mutant powers, giving the character the justice it deserves. This is by far a hard R feature, with legs, limbs, and blood flying everywhere. It’s not over the top, and each kill serves a purpose besides just catering to fanboys who want mindless carnage. Logan is not a character running looking for a fight. He just wants to be left alone, and the fight comes to him. He warns his enemies to leave him alone, and if they don’t it will be their end. Never has it been more exciting to see the three blades come out each hand, because after they do the first time, the remaining scenes are near perfectly executed to annihilate all forces with an evil agenda. It’s all heart pumping chaos of wonderful destruction from one of the most popular mutants of all time. At least fifty people got stabbed in the face, and you’re smiling ear to ear as you witness it all. It’s so inspiring, motivating you the audience member to get stronger yourself to dish out such punishment on those who deserve it. It’s like Logan is powering up after each kill, which makes it all even more enticing. Yet that’s not even the half of it. Let’s not forget the inclusion of the newest mutant on the scene, Laura/X-23 (Dafne Keen). This little girl was a wonderful addition as the mutant clone of Logan/Wolverine. She was just as barbaric as Logan and had every right to be. The casting choice here was perfect, but I will admit I’m not too familiar with the character. Though when a film inspires you to do more research on a character because your interest is piqued, it’s safe to say justice was served. Seeing Logan and Laura/X-23 team up on screen was the perfect pairing and a love letter to all comic book films worldwide.
There’s still some nitpicks that were slightly noticeable throughout the film that should be brought up. The film is around two hours and fifteen minutes, but didn’t have to be. As our heroes are along their journey, there were a few pit stops along the way that were necessary, but they didn’t have to spend so much time planning things out. It felt long at times, but not remotely close to where you’re breathing heavy in your seat ready for the next action bit. During the action that was near perfect, it was hard to ignore the barrage of bullets that conveniently missed a character or two. There’s a ton of cannon fodder at the mutant’s disposal for good reason, but to have so many men with so many guns I’m sure a bullet or two would’ve slowed our mutants down. That brings up another small issue. If the antagonist is trying to capture certain mutants instead of killing them, it would make more sense to use tranquilizers instead of bullets. Maybe they did, but with the action moving so fast it is not fully explained. The last gripe is that Laura is a stone cold killing machine when she’s ready, but her level of skill seems to far exceed other mutants around her same age group. At times, some of the exposition conveniently takes place through cell phone footage that wouldn’t happen in reality, but these are all small moments that most will overlook.
I went into this with low expectations, thinking I might be disappointed. My feelings after walking out were the exact opposite. I’m thrilled at the success level that was accomplished here by 20th Century Fox. They knocked this out of the park, delivering the perfect Wolverine film. It is a textbook example straight out of the Marvel cyclopedia. This will easily fit in the top 10 superhero/comic book movies of all time, and deserves it two times over. It’s not too often a film will have you dancing in your seat from excitement from the wonders the film presents in front of you. Hugh Jackman stated multiple times that this is his last time playing the Wolverine character, and if so it was the perfect send off for the role. Though if possible, it would be a great pleasure for him to take on this role again, and again, because what he did with Logan is a comic book dream come true.