X-Men films are a standard of the superhero genre, dating back to the first film, X-Men, in 2000. Over the course of the series, the original trilogy of films was joined by multiple spin-offs, including X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014), a weird quasi-reboot that confused many fans. One of the only constants in the series was Hugh Jackman’s character, Wolverine, who makes an appearance in every film. Intended to be the final film in which Jackman will portray Wolverine, Logan is a spectacular send-off for Jackman—and may even be the best film in the X-Men series.
When Logan begins, it is clear that things have changed since the last X-Men movie that starred Wolverine—Days of Future Past. Mutants are on the verge of extinction, most of the X-Men have disappeared, and Logan (Hugh Jackman) is in Mexico taking care of Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart), who appears to have lost some of his marbles. Along with fellow mutant Caliban (Stephen Merchant), the trio live a quiet existence along the Mexico-United States border. However, the arrival of a mysterious girl, Laura (Dafne Keen), forces Logan to embark on a cross-country journey to get her to safety.
Logan is action-packed, epic, and grittier than a mouthful of sand. In many ways, the film bends the traditional paradigms of the superhero genre, with more complexity than an average action film. Logan is without a doubt the darkest and most intense X-Men movie, as reflected by its R-rating. The film is laden with f-bombs and graphic violence, but Logan is more than just a hyper-violent action film. Important themes, such as family and redemption, as well as stylistic flairs, add depth to the film’s surface thrills.
The influence of the Western genre can be felt throughout the film. The epic and vast landscapes characteristic of Westerns make their way into Logan via its beautiful, scenic shots. The bad guys are essentially ‘guns for hire,’ and the film even ends in a showdown of sorts. The incorporation of these elements makes for a satisfying deviation from the standard superhero film formula.
Logan focuses on a cast of few characters, in contrast to other recent blockbusters like The Avengers and the upcoming Justice League, that feature large ensembles. This proves to be refreshing, as the smaller cast allows viewers to enjoy the relationships that develop between the characters, ultimately enabling audiences to become more emotionally invested than other blockbusters of this kind. Hugh Jackman’s portrayal of Wolverine is excellent—at times the ferocious character we are used to, but at others displaying a more sensitive and conflicted side. Additionally, Wolverine’s dynamic with Laura, is enormously entertaining—the two characters are equally stubborn and angry, and constantly butt heads.
However, one drawback is that the violence and action sequences can be excessive. After so many severed limbs and decapitations, the violence can be a little overwhelming, and at times detracts from the story.
Regardless, Logan is an emotional finale to the story of Wolverine, and will leave fans of the X-Men series satisfied. The film shows another side to the Wolverine character, as well as the superhero genre, and is truly a superb film. It is a reminder that big-budget films that deviate from typical formulas pay off.