Logan Movie Review!

It takes all of 5 minutes into Logan to let us know that we’ve never really seen Wolverine well and truly mad, which in many ways means we’ve never seen Wolverine at all.

* Spoilers for Logan and ‘Old Man Logan’ comics follow*

Sure, we’ve seen Hugh Jackman run and rage around screen for 5 X-Men movies, 2 solo Wolverine adventures, and a scene-stealing cameo, but the opening of Logan almost instantly unleashes the visceral berseker fury in a new blood-soaked light. Limbs fly around, blood stains the camera, and an old, limping, weary Logan takes an absolute beating from five car thieves.

From there the stage is set beautifully, as the most down-trodden and depressed Wolverine we’ve seen grapples with mortality, lost hope, and his perpetual struggle between man and monster.

Logan Movie Review

Just as there was with Deadpool, much has been made of Logan’s ‘R-rating’ as a jumping on point for more ‘R-rated’ fare across the superhero movie genre. In the case of Logan, the conversation overlooks that Wolverine is a character steeped in violence. It isn’t just that Wolverine can fit in the context of brutality, it’s that his every waking moment is a fight to calm murderous impulses.

Additionally, attributing the success of Logan to pure violence and foul language would be a tremendous disservice to director James Mangold and the creative forces behind Logan. As a movie, Logan is a masterclass in pacing and world-building, crafting an all-too-real dystopian future of fear and hate wiping out mutantkind by 2029.

In perhaps Mangold’s most brilliant move, Logan never overshares. Although it’s clearly based on Mark Millar and Steve McNiven’s “Old Man Logan” storyline, in many ways Logan is more comparable to X-Men cinema’s Dark Knight Returns. This is meant to be a conclusion all the way through, and unlike Days of Future Past, this timeline is very much the unavoidable end. Although there are just enough minor hints spread throughout to provide enticing mystery, Logan isn’t about how the world of mutants went to hell. It’s about how the Wolverine responds with the flames up to his neck and the devil on his tail.

The tone of Logan never steps too far out of the dark, but takes care to offer brief moments of light (though almost never from Wolverine himself). Whether it’s Patrick Stewart’s Professor X exhibiting just enough control to calm wild horses, or a group of children playing pranks with Wolverine’s playoff beard, Mangold and company know how to find small moments of humor in a sea of despair.

Make no mistake, though, Logan will break your heart. The most devastating blow comes from Professor X, riddled with Alzheimer’s and unable to control the immense power of his telepathy. Stewart somehow walks the line between dimensia and distinguished pride, and shoulders the burden of Old Man Logan’s twist ending with horrified grace. Creatively, aligning the blame of the Old Man Logan comics on the Professor is so much more devastating than the Mysterio-induced haze put upon Logan. Again, Wolverine is a creature of violence, but Stewart’s Charles Xavier has always been a man of learning and generosity. The implications are beyond tragic.

X-23 in Logan movie

Likewise, the introduction of X-23, aka Laura Kinney, played with omega-level charisma by Dafne Keen, highlights just how far gone Jackman’s Wolverine has let himself go. I had a certain expectation that Logan would adopt a reluctant father figure role for his cloned daughter fairly quickly, yet there he is speeding away from mercenaries in a limo with the Professor, leaving behind a little girl with nothing but a bowl of cereal.

Any time there’s a comic book movie that adapts clear comic book storylines, it’s a challenge not to nitpick what it got wrong, or what you resent the movie leaving out. Batman v Superman is a clear example, with Dark Knight Returns and Death of Superman adapted quite directly in many scenes, yet never forming a cohesive whole. Logan, on the other hand, adapts Old Man Logan and X-23: Innocence Lost so smoothly, and so successfully, that it’s hard to think of a single change. Sure, there are Marvel Universe tie-ins throughout Millar and McNiven’s version that give the comic a certain hyperbolic thrill (there’s a cover with the Red Skull wearing Captain America’s torn uniform, for one), but those tricks were never an option in the Fox X-Men movie verse.

The only trick Logan really had its in bag was 17 years of legacy and character building from Jackman and Stewart. The call for more “mature” superhero films is one I endorse, but don’t overlook the fact that there are zero franchises that have the time and familiarity of Wolverine and Professor X. No matter the form or the critical acclaim, the characters have been with superhero movie audiences for the entirety of the 2000’s! This gives incredible weight to Logan, and allows it to function in the vein of the first overwhelmingly successful cinematic “ending” to a superhero franchise.

At the end of the day, Logan lives up to the hype, and is without question the best Wolverine movie of all time. As for where it stands in my X-Men movie universe rankings:

X-Men Movie Universe Power Rankings

  1. X2: X-Men United
  2. Logan
  3. Deadpool
  4. X-Men: Days of Future Past
  5. X-Men: First Class
  6. X-Men (1)
  7. X-Men: Apocalypse
  8. The Wolverine (Wolverine 2)
  9. A blank screen
  10. The sound of screeching tires and innocent screams
  11. X3: The Last Stand
  12. That feeling when you’ve lost something important
  13. Wolverine: Origins

Related Comic Book Suggestions

Wolverine

X-23 (Laura Kinney)

X-Men

What did you think of the movie? Do what feels right to you in the comments below.

6 Replies to “Logan Movie Review!”

  1. Only two issues with this movie.

    How is x-23 created as a child. Won’t her body continue to grow and how would the adamantium adjust into adulthood?

    Second, x-23 is raised in Mexico, but the character was cast with a Spaniard girl, so basically we have a “Mexican” raised child speaking with a Spanish (from Spain) accent.

    1. I’m willing to chalk growing adamantium on a small girl to comic book science, but that’s an interesting question. I’m not sure that’s been addressed in X-23 comics.

      As for the accent, that seems like Hollywood just assuming no one would notice. You could Marvel no-prize it by saying her language instructor at the clone factory was of Spanish descent 🙂

    2. Brian – Laura only as single pieces of Adamantium in her body (2 in each wrist and 1 in her foot). Not like Logan with the Adamantium fused to his skeleton. See X-Force (2009) #20 when she loses an arm and removes the blades from it so she can put them back into the arm she regrows.

      Dave where does Apocalypse rank? I see you may have missed it haha although it was miss-able.

      1. Haha good catch. It’s dead center for me, now added. I had a Apocalypse a bit higher when I first saw last summer, but it’s dropped below First Class and the first X-Men for me on repeat viewing.

  2. Awesome review–this movie ripped my heart out and I said ‘Thank you’ the whole time.

    There’s also the ‘meta-sadness’ of knowing that, while we’re almost certainly going to get more X-Men movies, Jackman won’t be brandishing the claws.

    So the question is, will they recast or stop using Wolverine–the single most famous/profitable X-Men movie-verse member? I haven’t heard one way or another.

  3. I agree with just about everything you said. But on the list I would probably move “the wolverine” to the bottom. I just think it’s more polished than origins, but not any better. Even tho I don’t care for origins, I feel the story is better and not as boring. Also, I don’t really hate x3 like everyone else seems to. X2 is probably the best comic book movie made. The entire magneto/plastic prison/iron blood thing was awesome. Why aren’t there more things like that in any of these new movies?

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