Logan is shaping up to be one of the best superhero films to date and that’s largely because it laughs in the face of the superhero flick ‘norms’ and seeks to be a dramatic and heartfelt film in its own right. As things go, the X-Men movies have never been too bad although they have definitely adhered more to comic books stereotypes than the typically darker Marvel Cinematic Universe installments have done. The MCU television shows have opened the door to more humanistic, darker, realistic superhero tales and I feel like the standalone Wolverine movies have begun to slowly realize the same thing- ultimately culminating with the Old Man Logan storyline coming to the silver screen.
X-Men Origins was far from well thought out. It had interesting moments and some interesting characters, and yet for the duration of it many people couldn’t help but point out what a theatrical mess it was. The Wolverine remedied a lot of these problems but still wasn’t as superb as it could’ve been, despite an intriguing story and some excellent acting. Thankfully, lighting can strike thrice and the third time may just be the charm if the reviews are as spot on as I think they are. Logan is one of only a few Marvel-based movies to receive a R-rating right now and I think that’s probably the best thing for it, especially in terms of creative direction and freedom (see: Deadpool).
While the mainstream first X-Men trilogy and the subsequent three films in the ‘First Class’ universe were okay in their own right, they never managed to focus on the human aspect or the down to earth moments as much- ironic considering the mutant element. The Wolverine titles have changed that in many ways, even if it’s largely due to the fact they encapsulate the titular character and manage to focus on one or two other side stories as well within the bounds of their plots. With Logan however, one of my favorite comic book plotlines looks like it’s coming to life and I absolutely love it- even if it probably means we’re to see the end of Wolverine as we know him and Professor Charles Xavier (again).
The X-23 story arc alone is pretty dark and gritty, which really tells you something if you know anything about Wolverine and his tragic past, present, and probable future. Reading the critic reviews and responses has really got me gungho for the movie, and considering I don’t typically pander much to critic reviews when it comes to television or films, I find it curious that a superhero film finally seems to have cracked the code and hit on themes that even hipster-esque critics can enjoy. We’ve had plenty of good superhero films in the past decade and yet many did not receive as much critical acclaim as they should’ve due to the fact that they largely ran the gauntlet from cliche to senseless action and adventure. When you bring things down to earth and run them at a smaller level (like Deadpool, in many ways) they seem to resonate better amongst us mere mortals.
If you’ve been living under a rock or trying to avoid any spoilers whatsoever, Logan is essentially a Wolverine western of sorts and definitely the grittiest take we’ve seen of the character. He lives in a world where the bad guys essentially realized they could do more harm if they banded together, and so they largely eradicated mutants both good and evil. Wolverine is of course largely indestructible and has somehow survived alongside his longtime friend and mentor Charles Xavier, whom he now protects and looks after. It seems as if Professor X’s mind is decaying exponentially due to years of stress and crazy powerful mutant telepathic abilities. Enter Weapon X-23 into the picture. Now Logan will have to do his best to protect both his friend and this little girl (who, fair enough, can also defend herself). As you can imagine, the plot is sure to go boundless places from there but this is just the basic gist of it.
The trailers alone have been impressive and I don’t think we’ve even seen the best moments of the film yet, despite there being some heavy feels and tense action in them. I really want to see the bond between Weapons X and X-23 (aka Logan and Laura) deepen as the film progresses, and I think we’re going to get that a la Joel and Ellie from The Last of Us. These two characters are bound to have their own flaws, and yet it should be heartening to see them find solace in each other considering their similarities and surely their differences as well. I expect we will see Sir Patrick Stewart and Hugh Jackman riff off of each other as their respective characters and bring further dimension to their bond, and yet I’m most interested to see Dafne Keen as Laura as well.
I expect we could see any number of rewritten scenarios for the Old Man Logan storyline, and I’m truly excited to see how they play up some of the most tragic and memorable moments as well as adding their own additional angle to things. I suspect that the story itself is no less comic booky or semi-cliche than the others in the majority of the MCU and X-Men films have been, and yet I feel it is the bonds that will be established and severed in this movie that will prove most stimulating and entertaining and tragic to watch. Imagine for instance if Logan himself is forced to put Professor X down because there’s simply no way to get him to safety and protect Laura at the same time. Logan will undoubtedly be dark and multi-dimensional and therefore such tragic things are not far from the realm of possibility at all.
Guardians of the Galaxy was in many ways as close to a superhero western as we were ever going to get up until Logan was announced, yet I’m fully intrigued by the desolate setting- both in terms of mankind’s evolution or devolution, and in terms of the forced character growth it can bring. What I’ve seen so far assures me that Logan is going to be dark and fulfilling as well as beautiful and memorable- from the cinematography to the characters themselves and the revelations in between the lines. Not only am I happy to see the Wolverine movie that we’ve been patiently waiting for all this time fully realized, but I’m also thrilled to see several world-class actors doing their best to do their characters the justice they deserve and deliver some of their most moving performances to date.