(The following review is written by special features contributor Brad Morris)
I have a confession to make. And it’s hard for me to bear my soul regarding this confession. You see, as a geek/nerd/dork (whatever you want to call someone that likes comics and superheroes as much as I do), it is difficult for me to ever speak bad of anything in the pop culture industry. However, I must stay true to my fandom. Growing up having to actually READ comics about superheroes on this thing called paper, I never dreamed that we’d get to the point that we’re getting a new Marvel or D.C. movie every 3-5 months versus… well… never. So here’s my confession:
Except for 2 or 3 comic book movies in the last 20 years…. I’ve hated them. Not disliked… Hated them.
My reasons for this blasphemy are simple. It has always felt to me that the true story has been put on paper in the past, some great artwork done by amazing artists, and the characters seen on the page; have never been truly and/or correctly fleshed out on the silver screen. Major movie studios are in the money making business. And while they correctly deduced that comic books were a treasure trove of wonderful characters and stories, they’ve very rarely let the new artists (actors, directors, screenwriters), tell these stories as they were meant to be seen. It’s a big risk to let someone tell a story without wanting some control over the final product. And while a dork like myself would jump every time Harrison Ford says “Trust me.”, studios haven’t had that luxury. Until now. The only 3 movies that have reached a true representation of their characters and stories for me are The Dark Knight, Deadpool, and now added to the list Logan.
First things first when it comes to Hugh Jackman’s portrayal of the Wolverine. While having no physical resemblance to the comic characters physical traits (Jackman is too tall and slender compared to his comic counterpart), the first time he donned the hair, cigar, and claws, Jackman BECAME the Wolverine. People really dug his take on the character when he first appeared in the first X-Men in 2000. There has been a problem with the past 17 years of X-Men and Wolverine movies that has always frustrated me, and that is rating, namely PG and PG-13. The Wolverine has been watered down and stuck in these ratings shackles. And thanks to Ryan Reynold’s Deadpool, studios seem to be realizing that they shouldn’t be afraid of letting characters this well known and loved to pop up in a R rated movie. Wolverine says F#*$, Wolverine cuts off limbs, Wolverine stabs people in the head with blood flying. We haven’t been shown these in theaters… until now.
I’m going to avoid spoilers as much as I can, so this will be a basic plot description. Loosely based on the Marvel comic arc Old Man Logan, we begin the movie seeing Logan working as a limousine driver in the year 2029. He’s taking care of an aging Professor Xavier, with help from the mutant Caliban, played fabulously by Stephen Merchant. Logan is approached by a woman regarding a young girl, begging him for help. A series of adventures and advisories come along, and turns into an unbelievable ride.
This is the Wolverine finally unleashed. No holds barred, no cuss word censored, gallons of blood spilled, cats and dogs living together, MASS HYSTERIA! It may have taken 17 years for Hugh Jackman to get to this type of Wolverine movie, but I believe it’s all been worth it. If you ground your characters with a great story, it doesn’t matter what kind of movie it is. Rom-com, drama, comedy, horror, etc. Story matters. Seeing Logan at his full potential is stunning. You do feel cheated that it’s taken so long to get here, especially since this is it for Jackman and his adamantium claws, but it’s a fitting finale for him.
This also is Patrick Stewart’s last turn as Professor X. Besides Jackman, Stewart has been the most consistent of the X-Men through the years. The movie is a wonderful finale for him, as well. He’s allowed to expand on Professor X’s history and really walk around in those well worn shoes.
The introduction of Dafne Keen’s character Laura/X-23 is an amazing beginning. A mostly unspoken role, Keen shows what appears to be years of experience in her subtleties of facial expressions and body movements. If at any point we see her in this role in the future, we can expect a fun ride.
And last but not least, the bad guys are BAD GUYS. I wouldn’t want to cross their paths ever. Not in a dark alley, not on a street corner at noon. There is always a danger with the various evil doers and they constitute a real threat. So kudos to the storytelling from their angle.
So how would I rate Logan? I’d give it 4.9/5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️. It is as close to a perfect movie as I’ve seen in quite some time. Everything from setting, to action, characters, to pace, this is a wild and emotional ride. I HIGHLY recommend this movie to you as a great escape into the true realm of what a comic book movie should be.
P.S. Speaking of Ryan Reynolds ☠️💩L, you’re in for a very small, but enticing treat. Just make sure you’re there on time or you might miss it.