Logan, written and directed by James Mangold, is the third solo Wolverine film in the X-Men franchise as well as the final outing for Hugh Jackman in the role that he originated all the way back in the year 2000. This film follows an aged Logan, aka Wolverine, who has lost much of his healing factor and even his ability to fully use his claws. Much is the same for his companion Caliban and Professor X, who has become senile. Logan is living a very much meaningless existence until a child, very much like himself, is thrust into his care.
I just have to start out by saying that I have been pumped for this film for a long time. It checks all of the boxes that can potentially make a great film. Does it have a good director? Check. James Mangold made a solid Wolverine film in 2013’s The Wolverine, but the writing fell flat in the end, but he has also made a modern western classic in the 2007 remake of the film 3:10 to Yuma, so he is a talented director. Does it have a good cast? Check. It’s Hugh Jackman, that’s all you need. Does it stay true to the source material? Double check. We were promised a hard R- rated film, much like Wolverine is in the comics. With all of these ingredients, it seemed like a recipe for success, and indeed it was. Logan is a masterpiece.
I want to praise Mangold for the way that he took the film. He crafted the story and script to fit a certain tone that hasn’t been created for a character that sorely needs a bit of darker tone than what he has been given, so far, and that shows in this film. Mangold made this film unapologetically dark, unapologetically brutal, and unapologetically intense, all for the sake of creating a tone that fit the story that he was trying to tell about a character that shouldn’t be lighthearted. Since Mangold was willing to take these risks, the film was made all the better for it.
The performances were outstanding as well. Hugh Jackman is obviously great as Wolverine, but this is probably his best performance out of the nine times that he has now donned the muttonchops. He plays Wolverine as even more calloused and tortured than ever before and there are several scenes where he breaks your heart. Daphne Keen, who plays the young Laura, was also fantastic as well. She didn’t have much to say, but she honestly didn’t need to because she had a great presence to her, but when she did have lines, they were delivered very well, especially for a kid. Boyd Holbrook was also great as the villain, even if he didn’t have as much to do as he probably could’ve had.
This film is also able to deftly handle so many different genres being crammed into one film and, in my opinion, it makes the film that much more interesting with these myriad of genres. It’s an action film, a road-trip film, a father-daughter film, a sci-fi film, a drama, and, probably the most important genre for this film, it’s a western. Logan in this film is very much like every western hero before him with his hero’s journey. There are even hints of samurai character traits, especially those of a Ronin, influencing the character of Logan in this film, which makes sense because Wolverine used to be a samurai for a time in the character’s history.
As for issues with the film, they are few and far between. There are some points in the second act where the pace really slows down and nearly grinds to a halt for a couple of minutes, but it picks right back up and you never even remember that it slowed down. And, like I said above, I wish Boyd Holbrook had a little bit more to work with. Other than these slight little nitpicks, I really had no problem with the film at all.
Overall, Logan is a beautiful, brutal, heart-wrenching film that transcends the comic book genre and is just a masterpiece film in its own right.