Directed by James Mangold
Never before has Marvel anchored itself in the real world, the world we recognize as our own, more than it does with “Logan,” the Wolverine movie every other Wolverine movie wished it had been. Set in 2029, the world is devoid of almost any mutants. Logan (Hugh Jackman) remains, with Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) and Caliban (Stephen Merchant) hidden away south of the border for their protection—and the protection of everyone else. But when a special young girl (Dafne Keen) comes along looking for safe passage to a supposed mutant hideout, Logan has no choice but to do what he can to save her from the dangerous men (like Pierce, played by Boyd Holbrook) who are searching for her.
“Logan” is unlike anything Marvel has produced before. More grounded, more sentimental, more powerful—Wolverine is known for his ability to heal his body, but it’s his emotional scars that have always haunted him. In “Logan,” we delve into the mutant’s soul to see what he lives for now that almost everyone he loves is gone—some because of his actions. It allows us to take an emotional journey that, frankly, the Avengers would never be able to lead. It has the brooding drama of “The Dark Knight” without the occasional camp. As Xavier says: “This is what life looks like.”
It starts with a Hugh Jackman who hasn’t been this good since his Oscar-nominated starring turn in “Les Misérables.” With the wrinkles, scars, and graying hair to match, Jackman shows us a Logan who has seen better days. Probably all his days have been better, truthfully. He’s a survivor, but he’s weathered and beaten and tired of fighting. Jackman captures the desperation. Newcomer Dafne Keen quickly makes Lauren one of the most energetic and feisty mutants in the X-Men universe. Always ready to fight. It leads to some awesome action. But Keen also gives “Logan” some of its best lighthearted moments, which you’ll need after all the emotional workouts “Logan” puts you through. If the year ended tomorrow, I think Patrick Stewart would be able to count on some supporting actor nominations. Now in his 90s, Professor X is more a burden than an asset. 77-year-old Patrick Stewart takes the juicy role, rife with wisdom, and makes it transcend the superhero movie level of quality.
That’s a trend. “Logan” doesn’t settle for “superhero good.” Two-time Oscar nominated cinematographer John Mathieson (“Gladiator,” “The Phantom of the Opera”) frames “Logan” in ways that will make you forget you’re watching a fictional story about a mutant who can grow claws. That sets the scene for some of the most intense superhero fight scenes you’ve seen on screen, but also some artful moments you won’t see in any movie with Deadpool or Superman. “Logan” will go down as one of the great superhero movies of all time. It makes an embarrassment of movies like “Suicide Squad.” But don’t take it from me. You gotta see this one for yourself.