First things first! There are major SPOILERS in this article regarding Logan, including one plot twist which isn't featured in the trailers (it's not a character death). Only read on if you don't mind or you've already seen the movie.
There's a fundamental problem with superhero movies. The studios behind them want kids all over the world to swipe a few bucks from their parents and invest it in the Bank of Disney, or DC, so the end product has to be a shiny, semi-wholesome PG-13 affair which lends itself to plastic figurines and branded lunchboxes, and leaves any real violence or explicit language at the door — but in the comics, so many of these characters are violent by their very nature.
#Logan is different. Logan does not give a fuck about young kids and their pocket money. This is a superhero movie for adults and those who appreciate smart, visceral cinema, and with that and its much-discussed R-rating comes the freedom to create something which is more Kill Bill than Captain America in the violence stakes. And damn, does it deliver.
It's not an exaggeration to state that Logan features not one, but two of the most violent fight sequences of any superhero movie — perhaps the most violent ever, bar none. That the violence actually works with the story rather than being added purely for badass factor (make no mistake though, it is badass) is simply the cherry on top of a very brutal cake.
The first of the two scenes arrives about halfway through the movie. Logan, the young mutant Laura (X-23) and Charles Xavier are spending the evening under the roof of a local farmer and his family. They've enjoyed a lovely dinner. Charles describes it as the best day he can recall in a long time. So naturally, it all goes horribly wrong when a clawed mutant who looks shockingly like Wolverine appears from nowhere and engages the real Wolverine in a vicious fight in the back yard of the farm — after murdering the family who'd been so hospitable to Logan.
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The mutant's name is X-24, and he's the mirror image of Logan, only younger and less world-weary. Seeing Wolverine effectively do battle with himself — only a version of himself with more energy and more bloodthirst, a machine in the true sense of the word — is shocking, and the two men literally tear each other to shreds. The fight goes on for what feels like forever (in the best sense), ending only with some quick thinking from Caliban which briefly disables X-24 and allows Logan to escape.
The second fight scene comes at the denouement of the movie, when Donald Pierce (Boyd Holbrook) and Dr. Zander Rice (Richard E. Grant) have rounded up X-23 and several of her young mutant friends in order to coax Logan out of hiding. And he obliges — but only after taking a super-serum which enhances his abilities to the absolute max, turning him into a feral killing machine who literally slashes through the brains of the Reavers with his Adamantium claws like a knife through cake. There are guts and brain matter everywhere. It's sick, and a brilliant (but also sad) reminder that Weapon X created an animal who's spent a whole lifetime running from what he is.
Hopefully a clip from at least one of those two scenes will land on the internet soon, but needless to say, both make the airport scene from Civil War or the big clash of egos in Batman v Superman look like child's play. With its deployment of violence, Logan has advanced the superhero genre — here's hoping there's more palate-cleansing, R-rated nutrition to come from the X-Men.
Check out our Movie Pilot exclusive video for a comprehensive look at all the best X-Men easter eggs and comic book references in Logan — did you catch 'em all?
Does Logan's ample violence make it the best comic book movie in years?