“The world is not the same as it was, Charles. Mutants … they’re gone now.”
It’s 2029 and the world has changed. Logan is operating a limousine service under a pseudonym as he hides out south of the border with fellow mutant Caliban and a distraught Charles Xavier.
Logan grabs your attention right away with a dramatic combat sequence. However, it’s not your typical combat sequence. Logan’s character is fully reinvented in this one scene. It also sets the tone for the rest of the movie moving forward. It’s also bloody, violent, and purposeful.
Director James Mangold turns this opening combat sequence into a theme with every single combat sequence. They are all bloody, violent, and purposeful. It’s gritty – in your face violence. He highlights Wolverine’s violent past and nature throughout – and not just in the action scenes. He uses dialogue to refer to Wolverine as an “animal.” Additionally, he makes a number of critiques regarding Wolverine’s violent nature, including a surprise villain as well as X-23.
Showcasing and critiquing Wolverine’s violence is probably the biggest on-going theme throughout the movie. Probably the most obvious critique is the use of a surprise villain. The symbolism is apparent and gets to the core of Logan’s character. It showcases not only an internal fight, but an external one as well.
The other more noticeable critique is from X-23 and Charles Xavier. This one blends into two other themes: the sins of the father and posterity. X-23’s origin is almost a mirror image of Logan’s own horrific past except she still has the innocence factor to some degree. Logan’s sins don’t have to be her sins. In addition, she has the ability to make her own choices and live her own life. Mangold hits this directly on the head in one excellent character confrontation between X-23 and Logan. The dialogue with the back and forth between the two is great and you really start to see the father-daughter relationship.
The other theme that critiques Logan’s violence is posterity. Mangold explores the idea of having a better future for your children than what you have for yourself. He does it in magnificent fashion using an X-Men comic book. In fact, you could call the entire movie a journey from a rough, despondent present into a brighter, better future. Mangold also shows us what that better future can look like during the farmhouse scenes. It’s truly powerful and moving.
The acting is superb from Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine to Patrick Stewart’s Charles Xavier and Dafne Keen’s Laura (X-23). Jackman is once again phenomenal in the role and takes the character to a whole other level with the depth of emotion he pours into the role. There is one scene with the Ford Bronco that just pulls you in and grips at your heartstrings and captures who Logan is.
Stewart’s Xavier gives us a whole different look at the Professor than what we have come to expect from 20th Century Fox. He’s less cerebral, more empathic. His acting is able to bring a truly human, emotional touch to the film.
Dafne Keen’s Laura is phenomenal. She provides the comedic relief due to her nature, but can be just as violent as Logan. Her acting really shines through towards the end of the movie in the dialogue and back and forth with Logan. She captures the stubborn daughter to a tee.
Logan is not a perfect movie, but it is damn near close. The pacing in the beginning of the movie was a tad slow. There were a couple scenes that probably could have been chopped that reinforce the opening action sequence. Yes, they show us what Logan has been reduced to, but it is repetitive.
There are also some lines of dialogue which can be a little difficult to understand. I especially had trouble understanding Richard E. Grant’s Dr. Rice and Dafne Keen’s Laura spoke so fast at times it was difficult to process everything she was saying along with the visuals.
As for the visuals, they were stunning to look at. Choosing the south of Texas and northern Mexico with the dust and the sand was the perfect location given Logan’s current character situation. The scenes in North Dakota were also visually stunning. It emphasizes the magnitude of the situation.
Logan is one of the best comic book movies ever made. It has superb action scenes that actually serve a purpose. They aren’t just there for action. They provide characterization or touch on key themes. There are a number of themes throughout the movie, giving it depth as well as heart and showcases Director James Mangold’s vision. The acting was excellent. There were a number of scenes with Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart that were truly moving and might even bring you to tears. However, there were some issues with the pacing in the beginning of the film as well as difficulties understanding some of the characters’ dialogue. Despite those flaws, go out and see this movie. Go out and see it twice or three times. It will be well worth it.
- Exceptional exploration of a number of deep themes and ideas
- Fantastic acting
- Use of action scenes to drive home characterization and emphasize thematic focuses
- Slow pacing in the beginning of the movie
- Dialogue can be hard to make out at times