By Langdon Kessner ‘17
Arts & Life Editor
Logan (2017) represents a refreshing change of pace in superhero movies. Rather than the formulaic, bloodless, PG-13 type of sorts, Logan (2017) is an R-rated, violent, bold portrayal of a comic book character since last year’s Deadpool (2016). It is a very fitting and emotional send-off for the character of Wolverine, whom Hugh Jackman has played for 17 years.
The film begins in the near future where Logan (Hugh Jackman) and Professor X (Patrick Stewart) live in a remote area on the Mexican border. Their plans to escape are halted when a mysterious young mutant (Dafne Keen) is thrust into Logan’s care. He must now care for her and battle the enemies that are coming to kidnap her.
If the premise sounds a lackluster at first, it is really only the blueprint for what is a deep character study. There are no end-of-the-world stakes or a blue light beaming up into the sky. The focus is placed solely on Logan and how he must deal with his new circumstances. He is getting older, his healing effects are losing their power, and has become reliant on alcohol and painkillers. It is a balanced mix of self-doubt and regret, which is a type of Logan that was never shown in the other X-Men movies. The effort and commitment Jackman dedicates to the character is evident on screen.
Equally great are the supporting cast members, most notably Patrick Stewart and Dafne Keen. Stewart’s Professor X is more unstable and his psychic abilities have far more violent consequences, both seen and implied. His performance is powerful and, in one particular scene, heartbreaking. Keen is quite remarkable as Laura, who Logan must take care of after series of unfortunate events. Her lack of dialogue is compensated through her passion and energy, mainly during the action sequences. Her relationship with Logan is the key to the film and is what elevates it beyond a standard superhero movie.
Speaking of the action scenes, they are suitably bloody and violent. Logan has claws and he stabs people. There is no way to show that full effect with a PG-13 rating and credit to director James Mangold for not holding back during the action. They are graphic, yes, but it fits with the character. In addition to the action, audience members are put in awe as Jackman, at age 48, is still able to perform just as well as he did 17 years ago in the first X-Men. And Keen, who is more than half of Jackman’s age, is able to hold her own as well.
Although the tone of Logan (2017) is very dark, there are moments of levity throughout that keep it from being a downer. While many other comic book movies try to go for a darker tone, they focus so much on the aesthetic and lose sight on the emotion. Logan (2017) provides a great balance between the two and represents one of the best films of this genre since The Dark Knight (2008).