'Logan' Is One of The Smartest, Sweetest and Most Badass Comic Book Movies Ever Made

'Logan' Is One of The Smartest, Sweetest and Most Badass Comic Book Movies Ever Made

Feb 17, 2017

The opening scene in Logan tells you exactly what kind of movie you're about to watch. It pulls no punches, only claws, and by the end of it curse words are thrown, limbs are torn off, our hero is a bloody and disheveled mess, and we've just witnessed a moment in a Wolverine movie unlike any moment in any Wolverine movie thus far. 

Meet Logan, Hugh Jackman's final farewell to a character he's played for 17 years across nine different movies (including cameos), a feat that culminates in a wildly violent R-rated spectacle that delivers fans the Wolverine movie they've always dreamed of watching. It's gutsy and quite possibly the riskiest film we've ever seen from a major studio when it comes to a brand as big and powerful as Wolverine and the X-Men, but it's also a film that pushes the comic book genre forward in a way that's thrilling and exciting and, above all else, necessary.

When we pick up with Logan (aka Wolverine), the year is 2029, mutants are all but extinct, and he's wasting his days away downing booze and driving a limo to make ends meet. He's sick, his wounds aren't healing the way they used to, and much of his time is spent caring for an elderly Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) at a dusty and dingy remote hideout somewhere south of the border. Xavier is also sick, susceptible to seizures that are all kinds of destructive, and so he's kept in a giant metal dome in order to keep his caretakers, Logan and the mutant Caliban (Stephen Merchant), safe from harm, as well as an outside world who've already been harmed enough. Xavier, meanwhile, is forgetful, weak, and unpredictable, but he senses the presence of a young mutant who's searching for Logan, and that's where our story kicks in.

The mutant, a young girl named Laura (Dafne Keen), has the same powers as Logan. Pretty soon it's apparent that she's escaped from a mysterious facility and her captors -- lead by Boyd Holbrook's Donald Pierce -- are searching for her. Once she makes it to Logan and convinces him to take her to a safe location on the other side of the country, the race is on to see if they can get there before Pierce and his gang of cyborg Reavers can catch them first. 

With nods to old Westerns like Shane and the father-daughter themes of films like Paper Moon, at times Logan feels both like an immensely satisfying and cheer-worthy midnight movie, and then also a quiet, heartwarming road-trip picture with a strong '70s vibe as country and folk tunes from guys like Johnny Cash and Jim Croce set a throwback mood that helps the film feel more grounded than your typical comic book movie.

And unlike your typical comic book movie, the brilliant thing about Logan is that X-Men comics exist in the film. The X-Men legend exists in the film, and Logan is portrayed as a kind of has-been who is now as ancient and worthless as the old comic books that used to regale children with larger-than-life stories about the X-Men that may or may not have ever been true. 

That's where Logan goes from a unique claw-crazy bloodbath of an action movie to a pretty brilliant take on the power of comic books, using actual X-Men comics within the movie to propel the story forward. And as Logan dismisses these comics as nothing but tall tales and exaggerations of the truth, it opens up the entire X-Men Cinematic Universe to interpretation.

What if all the other X-Men movies were just adaptations of these comics, which are just heightened versions of the real X-Men stories? And then you really twist your brain around when you realize the fact that the movies are, in reality, adaptations of the comics... and, yeah, you can easily spiral into a bit of a nerdhole with this one.

Outside the film's rad meta-ishness, you also have this soulful message about finding your home. There are a couple of moments in Logan that are by far the most emotional and hard-hitting than we've ever seen in any X-Men movie, let alone a Wolverine story. And even though director James Mangold rarely lets you linger too long in one of those moments before he lets loose with the claws, it's just enough time to feel for these characters in a way that we haven't before. 

That's what makes Logan such a special movie. It's different, it's badass, it's foul-mouthed, it's heartwarming, it's funny and it's clearly driven by a filmmaker and cast who are making exactly the kind of film they've always wanted to make with these characters. If Deadpool is the amusement park version of an R-rated comic book movie, then Logan is the fine steak dinner -- a film rich with mood, character and ideas that all come together to fuel a tremendous finale for the Wolverine. 

Logan is, without a doubt, among the greatest comic book movies ever made. It is incredibly faithful to the character, delivering moments hardcore fans have always longed for, but it's also sophisticated and tangible in a way that allows you to connect with it -- and invest in it -- even more. There are no tight leather superhero costumes or big world-ending stakes in play, and instead there's a story about how love conquers all. It's simple, it's sweet and don't be surprised if you find yourself tearing up in between its savage brutality and bitchin' knife brawls.




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