By Jacob Douglas, E23 Reporter
WARNING: THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS SPOILERS.
“This is what life looks like: people love each other.”
With one line, Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) describes what makes Logan so great.
In Hugh Jackman’s (potential) last go around as The Wolverine, we get the most grounded take on a comic book property. The film takes place in the year 2029, six years after the final scene in “Days of Future’s Past”, in a world where there are no more mutants.
All that remains of the race is an aged and diseased Logan, a frail and epileptic Charles Xavier, and Caliban (Stephen Merchant) a mutant who tracks other mutants. The three live south of the border in an abandoned factory, with Logan and Caliban forced to take care of the Professor.
Their world is flipped upside down when Logan stumbles upon a young girl named Laura (Dafne Keen). Laura is a mutant made from Wolverine’s DNA, who has been communicating with Professor X.
Laura (also known as X-23) is fleeing from the evil Dr. Rice (Richard E. Grant) and his mini army of men led by Pierce (Boyd Holbrook). Logan, The Professor and Caliban must go on the run to find a way to get Laura to safety.
The movie plays out like a family road trip, except they are running away from people who want to kill them. That doesn’t sound like the best idea for a super hero movie, right? What makes it work is the terrific performances from Jackman and Stewart.
Jackman portrays a fading hero on the last leg of his life in a gut wrenching performance. Of course, we still get the tough guy Wolverine we are all used to, but this is one of the first movies where we see the guilt and fading will of the character. Jackman delivers heart wrenching scenes on multiple occasions, in his strongest outing as Wolverine yet.
However, the real stand out here is Patrick Stewart.
As a fan of the “X-Men” movies, seeing Charles Xavier as a helpless old man was painful to watch, in a good way. Seeing the world’s greatest mind deteriorated into a babbling grandpa is tragic. Credit to Stewart for being able to deliver a very real and emotional performance, in a role that could have been botched easily.
The scene in which we realize Charles’ fate (as well as the rest of the X-men’s) is dramatic acting at its peak, and solidifies Stewart’s performance as one of the greatest in the comic book genre. I know that these type of films do not do particularly well come award season, but Stewart’s name should at least come up in the conversation next January.
Now while the movie is surely fantastic, it is not without its faults. One being all of the movie’s villains. We are getting into major spoiler territory here, so beware going forward. The big twist towards the end of the film’s second act, is that Dr. Rice has made a Wolverine clone (X-24) to hunt down Logan and crew.
While we do get some great payoff with the reveal (Charles Xavier’s death), I felt the villain was a bit too on the nose with Logan “battling his inner demons”, as he literally fights himself. Besides that, I was disappointed to see Boyd Holbrook, who is terrific in “Narcos”, wasted in this movie.
His character is prominent in the first act, but fall by the wayside after we get X-24. I realize this is a movie about Wolverine and his relationships, but it would have been nice to have a stronger villain for us to fear (Sabretooth?).
I want to credit James Mangold, and especially the people at Fox, for taking a risk with this movie. Hopefully this is the shot in the arm the Comic Book movie genre needed.
What makes “Logan” so great is that this isn’t a superhero movie, this is a movie with superheroes in it. I have never seen a super hero film that felt so raw and human. If this truly is Hugh Jackman’s last time wearing the claws, it is safe to say he went out on top.