March 6, 2017
We have another historical benchmark on our hands: “Logan” is the best comic book film ever made.
Not since “The Dark Knight” (still one of my all-time favorites) has there been such an extraordinary comic film that manages to transcend the genre that has been dominated by men in tights.
“Logan” takes place in the near future, where a weary Logan (aka Wolverine), played for the tenth and final time by Hugh Jackman, struggles to take care of an ailing Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart). Their secluded life is upended when a mysterious young girl named Laura arrives, with dark forces following her.
This film is not for the faint of heart; not only is the violence cranked up to eleven, but thematically it’s extraordinarily grim. Both Logan and Charles have lost every person closest to them, not to mention they are physically, emotionally and mentally exhausted. Logan is losing his ability to heal and Charles is slowly losing control of his mind as a degenerative brain disease continues lingers on him.
The performances from Jackman and Stewart are phenomenal. They have never been better in the roles they have made famous over the course of two decades. Jackman portrays the tortured Logan as a broken down old man with no will to live; the only thing keeping him going is the responsibility he took on taking care of Xavier. It’s incredibly nuanced, and even the faintest forlorn body language speaks volumes
Stewart plays Xavier like we’ve never seen him before. As his mind is slowly crumbling, he’s losing his grip on reality. He gives a heartbreaking, almost Shakespearean performance.
Now let’s talk about Laura, the newest addition to the “X-Men” franchise. Played by Dafnee Keen, Laura is a mostly-mute child with some mutant powers of her own. Rarely can a child actor do for films what Keen does for “Logan,” as her performance is beyond words great. She gives a primarily physical performance as she fights alongside the distraught Logan and also shows a extraordinary amount of emotional range. I’m very excited to see where her career goes.
To the credit of director James Mangold, he managed to break the mold of common superhero films. Even though the film has brutal, breathtaking action, this is first and foremost a drama and a character study. The compelling script brings so much depth and complexity to these characters we’ve grown up loving. It’s extremely melancholy knowing how I admired Wolverine as a small child, only to grow up to seem him beaten down to the point of desperation.
“Logan” is a film that both Hugh Jackman and longtime “X-Men” fans deserved. After starring in a whopping ten films as the titular character, Jackman is finally ready to put away the claws for good. “Logan” is the perfect ending to the perfect character. Thank you, Mr. Jackman.