The comic book movie has seen a number of milestones throughout the past 17 years. In the year 2000 X-Men was released and stunned audiences with creating well-rounded, dynamic characters. It showed that a comic book movie could be more than just campy. 2004’s Spider-Man 2 took that even further by creating what I still say is in the top 10 comic book movies ever. It delved deep into the character of Peter Parker/Spider-Man and it served as a great character movie. The Dark Knight elevated the comic book movie to an entirely new level that may never be surpassed. It took the camp and silliness that usually fills those movies and instead told a serious and gritty crime movie. It essentially was a crime drama that so happened to have Batman. Logan has once again elevated the comic book movie and is another incredible milestone.
It’s the year 2029 and nearly all mutants have disappeared. A mutant has not been born in 25 years. Wolverine is older now, he’s been beaten, he’s a bit rougher. He lives in hiding with an even older Charles Xavier who is suffering from seizures, and whose powers are dangerous now that he doesn’t have as much control over them anymore. One day they come across a mysterious young girl that needs help. Together they must take her across the country to help her.
This is the third movie of a somewhat underwhelming Wolverine trilogy. It’s rare after two underwhelming movies a good movie yet alone great movie comes along, but Logan is that rarity. It not only exceeds expectations and is the best of this trilogy, it is the best X-Men movie in the entire franchise.
The X-Men movies have always relied heavily on the characters. Part of what separates the X-Men movies from other comic book movies is the incredible characters the franchise contains. The good ones, and they’re almost all good, have well rounded, great characters. We already have 9 movies with the character Logan/Wolverine, but Logan develops the character even more. It’s evident that he’s seen a lot of terrible things in his life. He’s at the end. Enter Lauren and things start to change for him. This is the best character piece for any comic book character.
The performances are all around great. This is the best Hugh Jackman has ever been. He’s really giving it his all. You see it in his face and in his body language. This is a character he loves and he wants to do it right one last time. Patrick Stewart gives, what I think, is a nomination worthy performance. I know it’s early, but I hope his name is getting thrown around come Oscar season. He is that good. The movie requires a lot from him and he gives it all. Dafne Keen who plays the little girl is also very good in the movie. She has to perform between two giant screen presences in Jackman and Stewart and she still manages to nearly match their screen presence. The movie requires a lot from her both emotionally and physically. She might be my favourite part of the movie. She is so good and so convincing in the movie. It’s not a cringy child performance. You believe every second of her performance. She even steals a few scenes from Hugh Jackman, and that’s saying something. The performances are all top notch.
There is a very good pace to the movie. It never drags and it always seems to be progressing to something. Each scene builds to the emotional and incredible finale. The last 20 minutes of this movie are absolutely thrilling. There is one incredible long take of Wolverine tearing through the forrest on the attack. It’s amazing.
What elevates this movie though is the choices it makes throughout. There are a lot of bold choices the movie makes that 5 years ago would have probably not worked. I don’t think audiences were ready at the time. Now that we are well into the slew of the comic book movie genre, I think audiences are ready for some of the choices it makes. Other comic book movies lately have attempted at doing some of these choices, but have used under developed, poor characters, or have back tracked right at the end almost as if to say, “just kidding!” Here they make great decisions that I think will push the genre to a whole new level that will cause people to say, “hey they did it in Logan, why not in this movie now?” To me, that shows an evolution.
Just like The Dark Knight was a gritty crime thriller that happened to also be a Batman movie, Logan is a character drama that happens to be a X-Men/Wolverine movie. This is, in my opinion, the best comic book movie since The Dark Knight. It’s emotional, thrilling, contains great acting, and it makes very bold decisions. It’s one of the best movies of the year. Do yourself a favour and watch this movie.
Just remember, it is very brutal.