Within a matter of seconds, Hugh Jackman drops his first F-bomb in Logan — and immediately it becomes clear that we're worlds away from our very first film glimpse of Wolverine, cage fighting back in 2000's X-Men. Hell, by the end of Logan's opening scene, you'll wonder why it took Fox so long to give Ol' Canucklehead the R rating that he's always deserved.
Just as #Wolverine has fought all these years to contain the beast that lies within, Fox, too, has struggled to truly bring to life the #Logan that fans know and love. That might sound like an absurd claim to those who have grown up with the #XMen movies. After all, I myself watched in awe as #HughJackman embodied Wolverine better than arguably any other actor in a superhero role. However, by the time that Wolverine ends his first fight in Logan, you'll understand exactly what I mean.
An X-Traordinary Spoiler-Free Logan Plot Breakdown
After that explosive first scene, Logan briefly calms down as director James Mangold takes his time introducing us to a whole new world. It's one in which no new mutants have been born for 25 years. In this near-future timeline, circa 2029, Logan has teamed up with the mutant tracker Caliban to care for an ailing Charles Xavier, whose powers are spinning dangerously out of control.
Thinking themselves safe, the trio try their best to remain hidden on the Mexican border. Soon, however, everything changes thanks to the arrival of a mysterious young girl who Professor Xavier has been in contact with, who leads an eerily familiar and evil corporation right to their door.
The Cast Of Logan X-Press Themselves Admirably
Acting quality is rarely discussed in relation to superhero movies. However, to ignore the caliber of Logan's cast is more criminal than anything villains Donald Pierce and the Reavers do in the service of the film's Big Bad, Dr. Zander Rice.
Boyd Holbrook imbues the role of Pierce with surprisingly effective levity, Stephen Merchant proves that he's wasted in comedy roles with a touching take on Caliban, and Dafne Keen turns out be even more unique and special than her genetically modified character Laura, instilling her mostly silent character with impressive spunk and drive. When a 12-year old outshines the majority of the adult cast in a film, you're witnessing something very special indeed.
However, while the promotional campaign pushed the relationship between Wolverine and X-23 to the fore, one could argue that Logan's dynamic with Patrick Stewart's Xavier is truly the heart of this picture.
Flipping the mentor/protégé relationship on its head, we see surprisingly mature themes of dealing with a sickly parent and the true concept of "home" rising to the surface in the scenes between Stewart and Jackman. In fact, the relationship they've built over the past 17 years, both on and off screen, helps elevate Logan beyond its comic book trappings. Their back-and-forth transforms what could have easily been just another slugfest into a film that works both for fans and casual cinemagoers alike.
Logan Goes X-Treme
By giving Mangold the freedom to explore Wolverine's character without adhering to ratings or merchandising ploys, Fox has helped him create a definitive version of the hero, complete with Wolverine's signature berserker rages in all their bloody glory. Themes of honor and violence that have resonated with Logan's comic book fans for decades finally hit the big screen in a way that remains faithful to the source material without retreading the same old stories.
Jackman's cinematic swan song as Wolverine may be inspired by the aesthetic and tone of "Old Man Logan," the now-iconic arc written by Mark Millar, but Logan is very much its own beast, containing enough surprises for even the most seasoned comic book reader to enjoy.
Saying that, some plot points are perhaps more choreographed than we would have liked, but this is a minor stickling point. In reality, the choreography that truly impresses throughout Logan is the stunt work involved in bringing the film's bloodiest scenes to life. Nothing's held back as claws belonging to both Wolverine and X-23 snikt their way through muscle and bone with sheer abandon, slicing through the evil forces sent to reclaim the young mutant from Logan's protection.
Logan Will Go That X-Tra Mile, Propelling The Superhero Genre Forward
Mangold could have easily exploited the R rating as a gimmick, flinging brains and gore at the audience — but the film's claws belong to Wolverine, not Freddy Krueger. Instead, the director ensures that Logan warrants a mature rating, saturating the film with bursts of violence and mournful themes that are genuinely necessary and integral to the story. Warner Bros. could learn a thing or two from Mangold's approach for the DCEU.
It's not all doom and gloom, though. While a dystopian road movie such as this should never be played as an all-out comedy, moments of humor are threaded throughout Logan and never feel out of place. This intelligent genre bending ensures Wolverine's final cinematic outing will genuinely change the landscape of comic book movies for the better.
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Speaking prior to Logan's world premiere at the #Berlinale, Jackman discussed what Wolverine's third solo venture means to him:
"This character has been within me for 17 years, but not until this film do I feel like I've really got to the core of it. ... This is the movie that defines this character."
Whether we're discussing Jackman or the character Logan, it's safe to say that he truly is the best there is at what he does, but this is the first time we've really believed it ourselves, heart and soul. We're sure you will, too, when Logan slices its way into cinemas on March 3. Just don't tell anyone what happens at the end, or you'll disappear faster than the rest of the mutants in 2029.
Which X-Men film is your favorite?
[Poll Image Credit: 20th Century Fox]