The final appearance of the Wolverine is a good, but not epic conclusion.
X-Men (2000) was one of the few comic adaption films that worked during the early 2000’s. Failed attempts such as Daredevil (2003) and Superman Returns (2006) failed to continue on as a series. X-Men was written by David Hayter, who was a well known and iconic voice actor for the titular character of Snake in the Metal Gear Solid series and directed by Bryan Singer, who later left the series after the forgettable X-Men Apocalypse (2016). The film introduced the most iconic character in the whole franchise, Wolverine, who was played perfectly by Hugh Jackman (Chappie, Prisoners). The well known actor became the signature character and the series later spawned multiple spin offs, which became commercial successes.
Over seventeen years later, Hugh Jackman is finally leaving behind the iconic and fan favorite role. He has sighted his skin cancer and age as factors of his departure. So, after a highly anticipated wait, Logan (2017) has finally arrived.
Logan (2017) does accomplish many things. This film goes to show that some hero movies can be dark and gritty, while at the same time being very entertaining. The character of Wolverine has always had an animal side to him, but in the previous X-Men spinoffs, the violence was toned down significantly. With Logan (2017) there are no boundaries, it shows what must be done to make sure that one person who always gets up after a beating, stays down. The gore is satisfying and entertaining enough to keep you intrigued throughout. I found myself having a evil grin on my face during every confrontation between Wolverine and his adversaries.
This film is explicit, but not in any way similar to its previous spin offs. It’s darker and grittier and seems to show a more vulnerable of the main character. It is surprising to see Logan (2017) have more practical effects rather than CGI. Both Logan and Charles Xavier have this vulnerability written into the story and their chemistry onscreen is at times comical. But at the same time, you do sense a type of “father and stepson” type bond between the two. The film also introduces X-23 (AKA: Laura) whom is played by upcoming child actor Dafne Keen. Surprisingly, for a child actor, she plays her part as if she was born to play the character. While she does remain silent for a vast majority of the film, her shyness shows an innocent looking girl on the outside, but on the inside she is just as vicious as Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) himself. She is a likeable character and is a welcomed addition the film series.
The action within each sequence is gory, no doubt, but also beautifully choreographed with a slim amount of shaky cam. The cinematography in a way reminds me of old westerns, and that’s what Logan (2017) feels like, a western take on the X-Men series.
Now, some of the key flaws are back to back with the film’s pros. Laura, as a character on her own, is intriguing and enjoyable to watch. But Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) falls slightly behind as he mostly just seems to give the child a hard time. Even though the film is the second longest running in the series, it seems as if though too much time is wasted on showing the contentious side of their relationship, rather than the caring. It is not until the very end where we see the two actually seem to care for one another. While I will admit that when the two fight together, they are vicious, these sequences are few and far in between. This also applies to the bond between Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) and Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) as the two seem to have a more interesting chemistry than Laura (Dafne Keen) does with the main protagonist.
Overall, the film is highly entertaining, as it feels like a long lasting goodbye to the iconic characters of Professor X (Patrick Stewart), and the Wolverine (Hugh Jackman).
The biggest flaw the film has is its lack of background. The X-Men film series at first started off just as organized as the Marvel Cinematic Universe was, but this all changed after X-Men Days of Future’s Past (2014). While the film stands out as one of the best X-Men films ever made, it is also the same one that rearranged the entire story. From that film on, things were separated by timelines. All other characters such as Sabretooth from X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009 and Mariko Yashida from The Wolverine (2013) were all but forgotten. There were no resolutions made for the story or characters that made it clear as to what happened to them. These flaws are also partly Deadpool’s (2016) fault, as the film ignored the previous appearance of Wade Wilson in X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009). Last I recall Wade Wilson was falling down a silo with his head falling behind him. While there was a slight nod to the appearance in the form of the action figure, there was no proper explanation as to how Wade survived. While I’m sure there is some explanation fans of the comics or films will state, as a viewer, a film should not require the audience figure out what exactly happened off-screen. Both Deadpool (2016) and X-Men Days of Future’s Past (2014) were excellent films, but they also destroyed the organization of the X-Men story. The fault mostly resides on X-Men Days of Future’s Past (2014), as it basically stated that it was okay to ignore the story that has been going on for well over fourteen years. So Deadpool (2016) soon followed, while there are a variety of different opinions who will point fingers at each film. To put it bluntly, the timeline and story is all over the place and does not seem to have a proper footing.
Logan (2017) takes place in the final days of Wolverine’s (Hugh Jackman) life, but there is no backstory to it. Throughout you will hear that there was an event in Westchester where six hundred people were injured and seven X-Men were killed. Great, but who was killed? You will ask yourself this question over and over again as there is no clear explanation. While Logan (2017) by itself is a good film, it lacks a proper background and does not do anything notable with its characters.
The story follows Logan (Hugh Jackman) who is slowly losing his ability to heal due to the adamantium rotting inside his body, while he works as a limousine driver in order to pay for a boat, Professor X is a shroud of his former self. As he is suffering from degenerative brain disease and on occasions has seizures which cause him to injure those around him. Interesting premise, but there is no backstory as to why this is happening. Logan (Hugh Jackman) is attempting to buy a boat in order for him and Charles (Patrick Stewart) to live on the ocean away from others. The world they live in is scarcely occupied by mutants who are in fact are on the brink of extinction.
A fleeing nurse attempts to persuade the former X-Men to help take a girl to the border of Canada in order for her to escape a biological company that has been using children as breeders for the mutant DNA. In pursuit of trio is Donald Pierce (Boyd Holbrook) who does a moderate job at being an antagonist. He in fact never faces Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) head-on but instead unleashes his clone, X-24 (Hugh Jackman) who is better than the aging Logan (Hugh Jackman). The two often clash, brutally, but Logan never seems to outmatch his adversary. Yet he still fights, which is what makes Logan (Hugh Jackman) the Wolverine, broken, beaten, but never truly defeated.
The issue with story is that its too quick. Considering that this is the last rendition that Patrick Stewart and Hugh Jackman will be playing their iconic characters, you basically know what happens to them.
Spoiler Alert: Both characters are in fact killed. But the biggest issue with this is that there is no emotional “gut punch”. When Charles (Patrick Stewart) is killed by Wolverine’s (Hugh Jackman) clone X-24 (Hugh Jackman), he slowly dies of blood loss, but when he does pass away, Logan (Hugh Jackman) shows surprisingly little anger. Sorry, but if someone killed Patrick Stewart I’d be pissed. Yet when he shows his “anger” he can’t seem to put in one good strike. Logan (Hugh Jackman) feels somewhat of a “punching bag” in the film. When he buries the former professor, he shows emotion as he begins to tear up and you see a side of the character not often shown. But the film cuts away to him bashing a truck with a shovel. It was a wasted opportunity at an emotional death, the scene later jumps to Logan (Hugh Jackman) in the hospital in which he leaves and continues on like it didn’t happen.
The story overall, is weaker than its predecessors. While it attempts to tell an emotional conclusion, it fails at even showing any emotion.
- Intriguing yet violent take on the Wolverine story which proves to show that not all hero films should receive a PG-13 rating.
- A western feel often is seen throughout each sequence, which does prove both original and enjoyable.
- A ton of gory fun.
- Entertaining choreography that makes the wait between each fight worth it.
- A interesting chemistry between Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) and Logan (Hugh Jackman) not seen before in the series.
- Well designed set pieces that feel in a way “realistic” for a Marvel film that is.
- A original and unique soundtrack that adds to the “western” feel the film establishes.
- A rather disappointing amount of chemistry between Logan (Hugh Jackman) and X-23 (Dafne Keen). There is very little standout moments when they are together.
- Cliche and uninteresting villains while brilliantly played, they are seriously undermined.
- Highly anti-climactic “fight” between the Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) and his clone X-24 (Hugh Jackman). You would think that a guy who fought in multiple wars and has lived more than a hundred years would know how to fight, here Logan (Hugh Jackman) barely seems able to take down minor henchmen.
- Too many continuity errors and plot holes that are not resolved.
Final Score: 7.3/10
Overall, Logan (2017) is in fact a good conclusion to the Wolverine story. It is not great nor epic, which is disappointing considering the amount of hype that followed the film after its fantastic trailer release. It offers a large amount of gory fun while slowly saying goodbye to Hugh Jackman as the Wolverine. Its shortcomings are noticeable, but it does not ruin the film, but it does make you think about what could’ve been rather than what it is.
Lauren Shuler Donner
Based on the characters created by:
Richard E. Grant
20th Century Fox
March 3rd, 2017
137 Minutes (2 hours, and 17 minutes)