The first trailer for Logan hinted at the way it was going to take its franchise in a new direction. It featured long glances at sunsets, a little girl holding the grizzled titular character’s hand, and Johnny Cash music; basically everything needed to make grown men cry, and get me excited for a movie.
After 17 years, the X-Men franchise was coming to close. Its swan song, Logan, had a lot to live up to.
The experience was inevitably going to be bittersweet for me; I was three years old when I watched X-Men the first time. I was six for X2, nine for X3: The Last Stand. The next five movies were all in-theatre experiences, and despite having to concede that several were less than spectacular, I am a confessed X-Men apologist.
The scrappy band of outcasts and losers pulled themselves together as a family to save the world and themselves; it was certainly a romantic enough narrative for me to fall in love with growing up, laser blasts, gunfire and all.
Despite his gruff, the most loved character was Wolverine, portrayed dutifully by Hugh Jackman throughout each movie.
Scruffy, sarcastic, and too damaged not to sympathize with, Wolverine, or Logan to many fans, has always been the shining star of the X-Men franchise. Throughout those 17 years and nine movies, Jackman captured the essence of the character perfectly in every situation. Logan is a dazzling, heart-wrenching way to say goodbye.
Logan’s vision is blurring, his superpowers have slowed, and almost all of his friends are dead. The word melancholy cannot accurately sum up the atmosphere surrounding him as the film begins, sleeping in the back of the limousine he has taken to driving, and Jackman embodies the character through every ensuing moment of grief, rage, and grumpiness with ease.
Patrick Stewart, the other franchise veteran, again portrays a 90-year-old Professor Charles Xavier, the only friend that Logan has left. They meet the eleven-year-old Laura (Dafne Keen), whose own set of mutant abilities imply a relation to Logan that is impossible for the two to ignore. Keen’s acting surpasses all expectations, a performance that left me speechless.
The new generation of X-Men includes many children of colour and is led by the most bad-ass little girl you can imagine. Laura is the female superhero everyone can look up to: she’s fierce, independent, and fully-clothed.
This is the first R-rated X-Men film (not including 2016’s Deadpool, a pseudo-spinoff). It takes advantage of this fact immediately, and doesn’t forget its new liberties for an instant. All of the dismemberment and swearing the character is known for in the source material is replicated on screen.
Logan delivers as both an action movie, and a painful, gripping drama. If you are able to stomach the not-at-all-occasional decapitation of nameless mercenaries, and are unafraid of weeping alongside comic nerds galore, you owe it to yourself to see Logan.
Jackman and Stewart leave on a high note that is stirring, powerful, and magnificently violent.