‘Logan’ shows subtlety rarely seen in superhero films

Opinion

“Logan” in some ways marks the end of an era and the beginning of others as Hugh Jackman plays the character he created: Wolverine. Like “Legion” and “Deadpool,” “Logan” is not a regular superhero movie either. There are no big world ending stakes or villains with plans of world domination; it’s just a tight story with great action and terrific portrayal of the characters on screen. “Logan” actually feels more like a western than a superhero movie, as Logan crosses deserts, forests and even roads more than focusing on big cities and complex visuals. This gives “Logan” a minimalistic approach that works with the themes and characters in the movie.

The story is fairly simple, too. This is a future where the X-Men are disbanded and there has not been a mutant born in over 20 years. Wolverine/Logan and Professor X/Charles Xavier are hiding out in Mexico with Logan working as a chauffeur to make enough money to take Charles out to sea. This plan is going great until a woman pleads to Logan to take her girl to Canada, where she will be safe from those who are hunting. Now this future may contradict the one seen in “Days of Future Past,” but when it comes to the X-Men movies, the timeline and consistency has never been right. Thankfully, we do not have to rely on references as only two or three past X-Men movies are discussed.

I must give props to this movie for the character work and the action. All four leads play their parts amazingly, with major credit going to Jackman, Patrick Stewart and Dafne Keen. Jackman plays a different Wolverine in “Logan” then he has in the past movies. This is a Wolverine that is old, dying and does not have much remorse for the outside world as his only goal in life is to get enough money to put dementia suffering Professor X on a boat away from the world around them. Stewart also plays a different Professor X this time, too, having seen his dream of homo superior die off right before his very eyes, and deteriorating mentally enough to have his mind classified as a weapon of mass destruction. If this is truly his final performance as Professor X, Stewart is ending it on the highest note possible.

However, this is not to say that these two are the only great parts about this film, as Danfe Keen’s Laura and Boyd Holbrook’s Donald Pierce also steal the show. Keen’s Laura channels the younger Wolverine we saw in the earlier X-men movies. She’s young, full of rage, and like Wolverine, turned into something that she did not want to be. Her interactions with Jackman and Stewart make for some of the heartfelt moments of the movie. Holbrook’s Donald Pierce is also good with the time he has, showing to be a real thorn in Logan and company’s side.

The action shown in this movie is visceral, too. If “Deadpool”’s violence was gory for the sake of fun, “Logan”’s violence is gory for the sake of the tone, as it fits right in with the film. The first scene gives us a glimpse as it shows Wolverine dismembering, decapitating and impaling gang bangers. Every time Wolverine and Laura’s claws are out, it is going to be a deadly good time.

“Logan” is one of those films that comes along and redefines a genre. Like “The Dark Knight” before it, “Logan” is that new film, showing that not all superhero films have to be about high octane battles for the planet, but that they could be smaller stories focused on the smaller battles and having a greater focus about the characters in them. DC Films gives us dark takes on Batman and Superman, while Marvel Studios continues to delve into the MCU with theirs. But if Fox keeps this up, they may be able to give us something different than the occasional superhero blockbuster, with the X-Men Franchise, and “Logan” is a fantastic first step in that direction.

Campus Chronicle
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