I suppose it’s true what they say. All good things must come to an end. For nearly 20 years Hugh Jackman and Sir Patrick Stewart have been portraying Logan (aka Wolverine) and Charles Xavier (aka Professor X) respectively. This is supposedly the final time we see these two actors in these roles.
It would appear that on the surface, Logan is a superhero movie. However, the film is a bit more than that. It is not the usual fanfare spectacle commonly seen Marvel superhero flicks (although this isn’t a full Marvel film since Fox still owns the rights to these characters). Logan is about mortality. We all grow old. This question is posed in Logan. What happens to superheroes when they get old?
Scott Frank and Michael Green co-wrote the script with James Mangold, who also directed. They have adapted this character, adding depth, heart, and a little humor. They have also added some profanity to these characters, which adds to the humor, and brings them down to a more human level, and it also justifies the ‘R’ rating the film received. And it was a little surprising, yet somewhat satisfying, to hear the profanity coming from the Professor’s mouth. It was still surprising with Logan, but a little more believable.
They have set the film in the not too distant future where all mutants have been eliminated and an aging Professor X, in his nineties, is afflicted with some habilitating brain disease, which has significantly reduced his powers, and causes violent psychic seizures. Additionally, Logan’s strength is deteriorating and his healing powers are slowing. He is shown with graying hair and a hard, grizzled, scarred body.
In his twilight, Logan has taken to care for the ailing Professor and drives a limo for cash. They share an abandoned factory with Caliban (Stephen Merchant), a mutant tracker. Their lives are simple. Survive. That is their life until a young girl, Laura (Dafne Keen), enters the picture. Her backstory is explained later, but they (and the audience) soon discover the girl has Logan’s powers – right down to the metal claws. I won’t give away too much more here as the rest pretty much follows most action films. Bad guys come. They fight. They chase. They fight. They chase. New bad guys are introduced. They fight, etc., etc. Richard E. Grant and Boyd Holbrook play the antagonists as the “mad-scientist” and evil henchman. But the true villain in the story is mortality (or time) itself. That’s what our heroes seem to be battling throughout the film. That “invisible killer” that no one can escape as it steals our strength and human capacity.
Jackman has given a performance here that was fun and exciting to watch. He played it fervor and a veracity that showed layers to the character not necessarily seen in his other portrayals of the character. Stewart displays the same level of humanity and layered character as Jackman did to his Logan. With time and age diminishing Charles’ power, Stewart does remarkably well to bring that struggle to the screen. Keen displays the power and energy Jackman brought to the character seventeen years ago. There was truth and honesty in her performance that could possibly develop into a spin-off series with the character if that is a direction worth pursuing by the filmmakers.
As mentioned, Logan is unlike your typical fanfare blockbuster superhero movie. It has some heart and adds some humanity to it. For these elements to truly work, the film is set in a darker tone than the other X-Men films (or Marvel films for that matter). This is something that DC, and Zack Snyder, has truly grasped in their recent film escapades. And that’s not entirely good.