When you go to see a movie based on a comic, like Logan, you always hope that it does the source material justice. But more often than I’d like, fight scenes get added and lines get cut until the movie is an inferior version of the story. Logan is not one of those movies. A beautiful film with a palpable affection for the ink-and-paper original, it draws inspiration from classic westerns while presenting a new storyline that’s slimmed down, but takes care to allow the original’s themes to shine on screen.
The basic plot follows the isolated and outlawed Logan, Caliban, and Charles Xavier, the last three remaining mutants, scraping to get out of the country so that they can live in peace. When a young girl is thrust upon them by a desperate nurse, Charles insists that they take her in – and reveals that she is a fellow mutant. Logan wants nothing to do with her, but he’s too much of a good guy deep down to abandon a child to the ruthless men who are after her. The journey to safety forces Logan to confront both his goodness and his failures.
Logan has garnered a ton of hype for an R-rating that is certainly deserved, but instead of being filled with fluff fights and gratuitous gore, the script presents violence as set pieces that tell as much story as the dialogue. The aging Wolverine looks awful. You can practically feel his joints creaking with every movement. He still fights like a wild man, but the wild man is old now and every punch hurts him. The little girl, Laura, is no pacifist herself. No spoilers, but let’s say she’s come by her rage honestly. And its visceral. Dafne Keen delivers an incredible physical performance. It would have been impressive from an adult, but from an 11-year-old, it’s downright chilling.
The storytelling doesn’t rest on action though. Finally we have an X-Men movie that lets the iconic characters really wrestle with their inner demons. Patrick Stewart and Hugh Jackman get scene after scene to deliver incredible dialogue. They turn over their failures and their hopes. Xavier epitomizes the eternal optimist who has lost his faith in humanity. And Logan is, well, Logan – gruff, honorable, and ruthless in the defense of his own.
It’s not all heavy gloom (although the little girl’s back story left me in tears – please don’t bring sensitive children, as they will be wrecked). Old Logan fights a younger clone of himself several times, and each is a moment of pure, unabashed fan service. I mean, who doesn’t want to see two indestructible Hugh Jackmans (Jackmen?) fighting to the almost death?
Logan is a triumph and has won back my heart and hope for future X-Men movies. It doesn’t really fit well into the visual canon of the other X-Men movies so far, but it sets a new precedent and passes the baton on to a new generation of badass mutants.
About Our Rating System:
The Loresworn Order reviews games, movies, TV, books, and music on a four-point scale.
No Medal, “Not Recommended”