The modern cinema world is all too familiar with superhero films, from Marvel to DC. In a genre as widely explored as superhero drama, Logan makes a stand out performance with familiar yet well-developed characters, a dramatic storyline that has been built up for several movies, and action scenes that impress and hold today’s young fans. The intensity and maturity of the story treats the audience who has become familiar with Logan’s character a satisfying conclusion to Hugh Jackman’s 17-year portrayal.
The history of this movie is laid out in the past nine movies, starting with X-Men in 2000. While this film series has many characters and arcs involving the mutant group known as the X-Men, the stand out performance has always been Hugh Jackman’s character, the mutant known as Logan or Wolverine. The first films were very general in focusing on all the characters as a team, but this quickly changed, zeroing in on Jackman’s character and his interactions with the X-Men. The last few movies have explored his origins and backstory, building up to this final performance.
Logan, directed by James Mangold, starts in the near future, with a weakening Logan who is caring for a dying Professor X (Patrick Stewart) as they hide from the outside world, which still aggressively hunts the Earth’s few remaining mutants. Their lives are further complicated by a strange woman giving them the task of taking a young mutant girl named Laura (Dafne Keen), who possesses many similarities to Logan, to a refuge. They are pursued by hunters who want her DNA, which reveals big secrets about the child’s origins, and Logan is left to contemplate his powers, his purpose, and whether his fight is worth maintaining.
Most of today’s college students were children when the first X-Men movie came out in 2000, and have therefore grown up with the franchise through the past nine movies. The character of Logan has become synonymous with the role, so much so that many were disheartened to hear that this film would be his last portrayal of the character. However, all good things must come to an end, and this ending brings a sense of completeness. A journey that started in X-Men with a young tough guy named Wolverine has grown through the years into an aged warrior simply called Logan. Hugh Jackman’s character has developed, experiencing loss, anger, madness, tragedy, and the inevitability of evil and death, while retaining his inner strength and his heart for his fellow man and mutant alike. Logan highlights his humanity, shows Wolverine is not invincible, and adds to his depth by providing a glimpse into his more human
Problems. For example, in one scene, Professor X and Logan discuss their financial issues, which is something most superhero narratives overlook. To bring this level of grounded reality into a story about mutants and fighting illustrates the level of maturity reached by both the characters and the audience of these films.
Professor X and Laura are with Jackman throughout most of the film, and they are both spectacular support, with Stewart, as always, Logan’s wise mentor and Keen as Logan’s new charge. The action scenes are unique in the way they rely more on choreography than CGI. Most films now focus heavily on making grand explosions and special effects, but Logan keeps a dignified tone in fighting by having beautiful cinematography and choreography be the focus of the action. When Logan is struggling to swing his arms and lift his legs in the opening fight, you feel his pain and the agony of each step. The CGI that is used, such as for Logan’s claws, is spectacular, showing again the evolution between X-Men and Logan.
Storywise, the Logan movie falls into a familiar genre of loosely adapting from a comic, this one being Old Man Logan. Both follow Logan into a hopeless future where mutants are almost extinct and he is one of the only surviving members of his team. The film’s story primarily follows Logan and Laura, along with the Professor, as they work together to get Laura to Mexico, and Logan and Laura develop a strong father-daughter bond. They naturally draw to each other in their nightmarish world, and it is both charming and heartbreaking to watch their relationship grow and break simultaneously. The movie itself is that way, both deeply depressing and highly enlightening, giving a unique spiritual journey into humanity and how evil and good must coexist no matter how the evil can overshadow the good. However, as the Professor states, “This is what life looks like… You should take a moment, feel it. You still have time.”
I can say this as a Marvel fan, a movie goer, a young college student, and a person who is
often disheartened by the state of our world–Logan is a definite A+, a masterpiece of the superhero drama genre. No matter if you grew up with the X-Men franchise or not, this film still offers incredible acting talent, suspenseful action, and an amazing and thought-provoking journey. Jackman received a fitting departure from his most recognizable role, and audiences received a truly hopeful look into humanity.
By Danielle Maguire
Danielle Maguire is a fourth-year Secondary Education English major and aspiring writer with a love of music and a passion for fiction and poetry.