By Matt Reinstein
Rating: 3/4 stars
Logan, the newest edition to the 20th Century Fox series X-Men, hit theaters last weekend and has gained an enormous amount of acclaim due to its gritty, yet heartfelt farewell to Hugh Jackman as Wolverine. I will say that prior to watching Logan, I had only watched one “X-Men” movie, which seems insane to me, due to the fact that there are 10 of them. Despite my lack of insight and perspective towards many of the previous films, albeit the amount of recognition and love they have gained towards fans of the comics, I walked into Logan and found myself eager to watch the final portrayal of Wolverine by Hugh Jackman.
My knowledge of the character, while limited, was accurate, I think, because of my interest in comic books and having watched one of movies. Fun, yet stern, rebellious and very fierce, The Wolverine spoke to many readers and audiences. However, this time Wolverine isn’t young, kind, or any fun to be around, but rather is a grumpy, old, grizzled, booze-drinking veteran of many mutant battles. The year is 2029, and many of the mutants that we have grown to love have passed away and are no longer onscreen with us. Mutants are rapidly becoming extinct because many are dying and few are being born anymore.
Accepting the fact that mutants will soon become a thing of the past, Logan loses hope and his willingness to cooperate, becoming belligerent and, in simpler words, “a downer.” In the peak of his despair, he is told about a criminal organization which has a scary connection to the disappearance of mutants. Skeptical at first, Logan doesn’t want to get involved in any of the drama that will ensue, but due to the intrigue of the film, he inevitably gives in, giving us a near-unprecedented amount of carnage, and ultimately, a good movie experience.
The film’s first scene gives audiences exactly what they were anticipating and payed $14 to see. Drunk, Logan wakes up to see his car being stolen by a gang of young, burly, men who seem to be an unfair match against an old, drowsy, drunk who just rolled out of bed. “You don’t wanna do this,” Logan says as we all squeal in delight, knowing from the R-rating that things are about to get very, very real. And let me tell you, as messed up as it sounds, when Logan cuts one of guy’s arm off, it’s very satisfying.
The film just gets more bloody from there, and much more satisfying to watch. Throughout all of the stand-alone movies Wolverine has been showcased in, it’s all been leading up to this movie, which probably wouldn’t have been made without the success of the raunchy, and hard-R Deadpool, so kudos to Deadpool. But the film’s Mortal Kombat-like violence has been a finish-line that fans have wanted to get to for quite some time, so catharsis is achieved whenever we see a head cut off and blood spilling out of a man’s eye socket.
As you may have seen from the trailers, the story revolves around an aged Logan, Professor X (Sir Patrick Stewart) ironically diagnosed with dementia, and one of the most badass children (Dafne Keen) in cinematic history– and I don’t think that’s too bold of a statement because this little girl kills around 45 people in one minute. No joke. These three are searching for a place where mutants are protected from all danger, but for some absurd reason, they run into as much danger imaginable on the way to the safe haven, but we overlook that because guts flying everywhere!
This is one of the problems I have with superhero movies in general, and I expected it to be present in this movie as well. Producers, writers and directors who are given this huge role in the production of a superhero movie are too focused on giving fans what they want, rather than giving audiences what they want. Of course an X-Men junkie, such as the one portrayed in Weird Al’s “White and Nerdy” is going to love this movie, but what about the film junkie, who’s never heard of an “X-Man” or even know what a “The Wolverine” is?
Other than the intense amount of gore and a guy getting slashed up into a million pieces (YEAH!), the movie is just made for X-Men fans and fellow geeks and nerds out there who cherish every single thing Marvel produces. I had hoped it would be more similar to the Dark Knight saga, which was made not only for fans of the source material, but also of good drama, action, and chemistry. With Logan, fans of the comics will be overwhelmed by all of the awesome punching and uppercuts, but it’s hard not see how prototypically Marvel this film actually is.
For example, the villain, Pierce (Narcos’ Boyd Holbrook), does his job and nothing more. While some may argue that that is beneficial to the film because all they want to see is Wolverine kick butt, what about that family he meets on the side of the road, whom the producers spend a solid 35 minutes trying to develop character and chemistry? Hell, they try even more with them than they do with the villain! It’s thoroughly disappointing and frustrating.
But in the end, although I always look for a film to be good, Logan is a bit in its own realm. This movie doesn’t need to be good, it just needs to be fun, and that’s what it is. It provides fans a great time and audiences a mindless, western-like, action flick, which isn’t bad, because it’s a superhero movie. Definitely check this one out in theaters, as I don’t think it’d be the same without the loud effects, popcorn, candy, and fans applauding to drone you out of the Marvel tropes, leaving you with the fierce, gritty, finale everyone’s been waiting for.