About a year ago, I began my review of Deadpool with a promise to my friends and family that I would not be the one to introduce their children to it. I begin my review of Logan in a similar fashion. If any parents out there did not learn the lesson of Deadpool – not like it should have been remotely surprising given the trailers – let me reiterate the obvious: this is not a kids’ movie. It is extremely, brutally violent and does not shy away from the blood that naturally results from such violence. Even if it weren’t, the coarse language and serious subject matter alone – not to mention the gratuitous boob scene early on – could well earn the film its R rating.
So, once again, I promise I won’t be the one introducing the kids to Logan, at least not until they’re old enough that the word “kid” does not apply to them anymore. 😉
Now, with that out of the way, concerning Logan itself:
That was… amazing.
Logan is a fantastic movie, arguably the best installment in Fox’s X-Men franchise, and if their universe were as tightly tied together and well-executed as other universes, this could have been a most worthy conclusion to the entire saga. Of course, the franchise is absolutely not tied together remotely so well, so, instead of trying to figure where in what timeline anything in this movie takes place, I am just going to say this is its own little story independent from all the rest, and leave it at that. Logan stands tall on its own two feet as a deep and powerful character-driven drama, with elements of superhero action, suspense, and not a small amount of tragedy.
Part of that, there is no doubt, is the R rating. Without having to maintain a PG-13 rating – not that all PG-13 movies are actually child-friendly anyway, but thank you, Deadpool, for paving the way – Logan is free to be however graphic and bloody as it likes. And so it does, very well earning its rating by the MPAA, but it never really goes overboard. The violence, in particular, has a point and is important to the characters, rather than being bloody just for the sake of being bloody. I never felt that any of the violence was unnecessary for the story. That is a difficult balance to strike, but strike it they do.
Speaking of the story, it is somewhat difficult to go into the heart and soul of the movie without spoiling the plot. Skating around the spoilers as much as possible, I will say the plot and the theme were gripping and powerful.
This is the story of an old, broken, embittered Wolverine, who has lost one loved one too many, felt one agony too many, and given up on hopes and dreams and family. All he has left is one last friend in the form of Charles Xavier, a man who is not what he used to be, and an unlikely comrade helping him to care for Xavier. He’s enduring his existence for the sake of his last living loved one, but the fight has pretty much gone out of of him, as has his compassion. That is until his experience with Laura.
The relationships between the characters are the crux of the story, most of all the one between Laura and Logan. Individually, they are fierce, and together, they are a formidable duo. They are very alike in many ways, including, despite their behavior as loners, a disguised longing for that human connection we call “family.” Logan has repeatedly felt the pain of that connection being ripped away from him, so he has trouble opening up even one more time, while Laura has barely ever felt such a connection at all, and yearns for it. She wants to be free, she wants to be with her friends, but most all… she wants the father she should have had. In the end, she gets her wish, if only for a moment, as Logan lets her into his heart, and becomes the Wolverine one last time in her defense.
They say that old beasts have one last fight left in them, and though it takes Wolverine some time to get there, there is no cause better to spend that last fight on than the preservation of the beast’s own young.
Which, itself, goes into the theme of family, a very strong theme in this movie. It’s what Logan truly misses and Laura truly wants. Family is what makes life living instead of just surviving. Family is the elders giving their all for the rising youth, and the youth standing with their elders. It’s disagreements and arguing and looking after each other. It’s helping out and sharing meals together. It’s giving everything you’ve got in exchange for everything that matters.
All of this, mind you, would be absolutely useless posturing without top-notch performances by every member of the cast, both major and minor. I want to specifically mention the young actress who portrays Laura. In the center spotlight, Patrick Stewart and Hugh Jackman are absolutely at the top of their considerable game in this movie, and they are actually matched by the young Dafne Keen. Not even a teenager yet, and she already holds her own with two of the best actors in the world, playing one of the most intense and emotional characters ever created. This girl is going places, mark my words.
As this is Jackman’s last hurrah as the Wolverine, I only regret how impossible it seems for the most obvious of successors, namely Keen, in the role of Laura, to inherit the mantle. That is how impressed I was by her performance.
To summarize: I really enjoyed Logan. It’s not a tale for the faint of heart, and certainly not for children, but it is a worthy tale nonetheless.
Rating: a solid 9 stars out of 10, and I only subtract one point because… well, I do that for movies I can’t share with the kids. 😛
Grade: a solid A.
If this at all sounds like a movie you might like, then go, see it, support it… just don’t take the kids with you! 😉