In the near future, a weary Logan cares for an ailing Professor X in a hide out on the Mexican border. But Logan’s attempts to hide from the world and his legacy are up-ended when a young mutant arrives, being pursued by dark forces.
Director: James Mangold
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Dafne Keen, Stephen Merchant, Eriq La Salle, Richard E. Grant, Boyd Holbrook
Rated: R (strong brutal violence and language throughout, and for brief nudity)
By Matt Greene
2013’s Wolverine saw Jackman’s clawed curmudgeon join forces with Hollywood-heavyweight Mangold for some brooding fun that was decidedly more down-to-earth. Back together for Logan, Mangold has not only kept his distinct strengths of tone and combat, but has ramped up the quality & gravitas rarely seen in a blockbuster. In one of the most brutally and beautifully made superhero films of all-time, Logan gives audiences an experience full of gasps, laughs, and thrills…& buckets of blood.
Taking place in the near-future, we find our invincible anti-hero trying to live a quiet life, driving a limo, and taking care of his dangerously senile father-figure Xavier; yet his world is far from boring, especially when a girl with familiar powers appears. The emotional anchor here is the Logan / Charles relationship; watching them deal with weakening bones, a changing world and oncoming dementia is powerfully relatable. However, the action is far from dormant. Keen is a fantastic mutant newcomer, grunting and fighting in ways that Logan himself doesn’t have the virility for anymore. Instead, he lumbers through his fights with vicious intensity and careless selflessness.
And when I say “vicious”, I mean “vicious”; this is NOT your kids X-Men. The R-rated door Deadpool knocked down has allowed Logan to violently dance on the other side. If you’ve ever felt like Wolverine’s claws and fury felt neutered in a PG-13 world, fear no more. However, the violence is to a purpose; we’re shown the difficult effects in honest and effective ways, especially in the jarring use of children. All-in-all, it’s a perfect send-off for one of the most successful character / actor collaborations in movie history, and is far-and-away the greatest X-Men film yet.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
By Cole Schneider
As its title implies, “Logan” is much more interested in the human side of Wolverine than all the previous iterations of the character have been. The film fancies itself as somewhat of a western drama like “Shane”, and that’s an apt comparison, but it also has elements of the Terminator movies and shares traits with “The Dark Knight Rises”. It’s the first R-rated X-Men movie—it’s most definitely not a kid’s movie!—as well as the most quiet and brooding. It’s also the best of the otherwise mediocre bunch.
Hugh Jackman (Logan/Wolverine) and Patrick Stewart (Charles/Professor X) have played their characters so many times and with such an uncanny effortlessness that it’s unsettling seeing the aging heroes face mortality in such a human way. “Logan” isn’t the first time that we’ve seen an on-screen superhuman face death, but it is the first time that we’ve internalized the struggle of the process of death alongside them. The Wolverine of invincible strength is a certainly theatrical attraction and is on display here too, but the Logan of mortal vulnerability is a much more dramatic character.
“Logan” picks up about 12 years in the future near the Mexican border, where a life-weary Wolverine is caring for a Professor X suffering from the kind of degenerative brain problems many humans suffer from (Alzheimer’s? ALS?). Their quiet life of slow decay is soon interrupted by a young mutant and a band of foes chasing after her. What role can Logan play in helping her to safety? What role can she play in helping him wrestle with his own demons? Action scenes abound too, but this is largely a more internal, meditative drama.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars