By now you've probably read the reviews: Logan is a smash hit both critically and commercially. Critics applauded it while fans gushed over it. It's easy to pin this on the sentimental feelings movie watchers had with it being Hugh Jackman's last rodeo as Wolverine but it's so much better than that.
Logan serves as a new standard - a new bar - for future comic book superhero films. And the R-rating is as much a big part as the heartfelt acting, absorbing script, and ultra-violent action that bleeds authentically Wolverine.
Just when it felt comic book movies were hitting a wall, in came Deadpool (thank you, Mr. Pool), which opened the floodgates for R-rated comic book superhero films. Now more stories can be told without worry of them being "too adult".
While Deadpool was unique, groundbreaking, and buckets of fun, it doesn't have the thematic resonance and depth Logan possesses. Watching Deadpool a second time, the magic dissipated. Once the novelty factor wore off, it didn't feel as mind-blowing as the first time. Seeing Logan a second time, it still carried the same weight and was just as convincing.
Logan takes place in a distant dystopian future, one where almost all mutants have been wiped out including all the X-Men. Wolverine lives with a senile Professor X, played by Patrick Stewart who is also retiring from the role, and Caliban (Stephen Merchant), an albino mutant with the gift of sensing and tracking others.
Keeping his bad boy lone wolf persona in tact, Logan is aging with his healing powers depleting. He's seemingly nomadic and with no purpose in life. Until a mysterious girl, X-23 (Dafne Keen) shows up with Donald Pierce (Boyd Holbrook) and his cyborg henchmen running after them. The plot unfolds tying together Wolverine and the X-Men's former storylines regarding the science of mutation and clandestine human agencies trying to weaponize it.
Logan minimized on the cheesy humour, gratuitous computer-generated special effects, and feel-good story replacing them with a more down-to-earth narrative and western-inspired theme of redemption. In short, it cut out the fat and gave us more substance. More story, less pizzazz. More hero. Less super.
It reminded everyone, especially comic book movie fans, that there is still a lot of stories to be told regarding our favourite misunderstood mutants. The Wolverine, the 2013 prequel to this was a good example of a comic book movie that focused on character development through a simple yet intriguing plot and Logan does it in spades while adding more grit and sympathy.
It felt like a long time coming with the R-rating but the Wolverine-style berserker fury was in full glorious effect despite the fact he was way past his prime. The supporting cast had their own shining moments. X-23 stole the show with her savagery both with her tongue and claws proving to be a formidable daughter-like successor to Wolverine; Patrick Stewart gives a harrowing performance as the sympathetic Professor X and and Boyd Holbrook plays Pierce with equal parts charm and cold-bloodedness.
If you haven't seen Logan yet, go see it. Even if you're not a comic book superhero fan it's an enjoyable movie that may leave a tear or two in your eye. As for comic book fans everywhere, rejoice. Logan has set the new standard with a mature story, fleshed out characters, and sympathetically human themes that leave you with the poignant memories the best special effects and trendy superhero team-ups can't replicate. ★★★★☆