I'm not trying to be a hero! I'M FIGHTING THE DRAGON!!

Logan

(some spoilers here for a great movie that you should just go see regardless of what I say)

When the first X-MEN movie came out I thought this new “Hugh Jackman” guy looked and acted so much like Clint Eastwood that I called it “The Return of Clint.”

“I’m not sure how this was accomplished exactly,” I wrote at the time. “Maybe this is a computer generated renderation of a young Clint… Maybe it is Clint under a lot of makeup to make him look more like he did in his Thunderbolt days. Maybe it is a son of Clint’s, much like Chad McQueen but keeping more in the true spirit of his father than Chad does. Or hell, maybe it’s just some dude named Hugh Jackman who looks a lot like Clint Eastwood.”

These days I lean toward the third one, and maybe the resemblance is harder to see now that Jackman is such a star in his own right and has done plenty of roles where he’s not scowling. But man, he elevated the world of that movie by squinting at it with that Clint attitude, and he was even introduced as a bare knuckle brawler like Philo Beddoe minus the orangutan. It didn’t feel like a guy self-consciously imitating a Clint-like persona, either. It was a genuine badass presence and charisma that I still believe birthed the entire modern era of comic book movie mania, for good or bad. Because without Jackman as Wolverine I don’t think X-MEN would’ve caught on and if X-MEN didn’t catch on I don’t think the Marvel movies would’ve gotten off the ground and we’d all be going to conventions dressing up as characters from serious adult dramas. (I can’t decide if I’m going as BRIDGE OF SPIES this year or one of the ACLU lawyers from LOVING.)

So it’s fitting and poetic and beautiful that 17 damn years later (!) Jackman’s ninth and intended-as-final movie as Wolverine reminds me more of a straight up Eastwood vehicle than an X-MEN movie. Like Clint in THE GAUNTLET or PINK CADILLAC he takes a job transporting and protecting someone across the country while being chased by people trying to kill her, and he’s not nice to her at first but she eventually cuts through his grouchy exterior.

This reminds me more of BLOOD FATHER than of the other X-Men pictures, which is also true of the movie.

Like UNFORGIVEN he’s retired from the (in this case super-heroing) business, haunted by legends of his past and guilt about the violence he committed. Like IN THE LINE OF FIRE or BLOOD WORK he’s aging and washed up. His healing powers don’t always work, and in one scene he has a claw that won’t come out all the way until he pulls it out by hand. In the opening he’s drunk and gets beat up while working in a humiliating job as a limo driver. I’m sure somebody has a good story about the time Wolverine from the X-Men was their limo driver. This was a brilliant job for him to end up in because 1) it’s shocking to see Wolverine as a servant to drunk teens in prom dresses and 2) it’s an excuse to put him in a suit jacket and bloody white dress shirt for part of the movie.

As shitty as the job is, his time off is worse – he goes over the border to a tipped over silo where he and an albino mutant named Caliban (Stephen Merchant, creator of The Office) are hiding 90-something-year-old Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart, LIFEFORCE). They take turns listening to his confused blather and giving him shots to stave off seizures that could kill everybody in the area. Some kind of accident like that is what turned him into a fugitive in the first place. In all the years of exploring and deconstructing super heroes that’s a concept I’ve never thought of before: the potential dangers of people with super powers aging and losing control of their bodies.

It’s 2029, by the way. The world doesn’t look totally different, nor do cell phones, but shit is bad. Most or all of his cool friends from the other movies are dead, no mutants have been born in 25 years, and Logan doesn’t take it seriously when Charles claims to be in communication with a new one. Until around the time he sees her holding a severed head. Her name is Laura (Dafne Keen), she’s 11 years old, she doesn’t talk but she has claws and healing powers like his and is very, very good at killing people who come after her.

Comforting revelation about 2029: Somebody references Freddy Krueger. The ELM STREET films have not been forgotten.

The Mexican nurse (Elizabeth Rodriguez, FRESH, THE DROP) taking care of Laura has tracked down “The Wolverine” saying he’s the only one who can help.  She and some other young mutants have escaped from captivity and people are trying to killing them. So very reluctantly, after a few rejections, Logan gets involved in this quest to deliver the little mutant asskicker to a place called Eden in North Dakota where supposedly the other young mutants can be together and get across the border to Canada where they’ll be safe.

See, Laura and her friends are the new type of mutants, made in a lab in Mexico by the same dicks that wiped out the old type. Like him in his Weapon X days, these kids are created to be weapons, not people. They’re made from the DNA of natural born mutants, and it doesn’t take long for Logan to figure out where Laura came from.

The bad guys are a sort of corporate militarized police force, macho SWAT type guys covered in their layers of armor and guns and scarves and shit, looking way more real-life-mercenary than sci-fi, except for the occasional robot hand. They’re led by cocky Pierce (Boyd Holbrook, A WALK AMONG THE TOMBSTONES), who reminds me of a villain who would be on Justified. He shows up in Logan’s limo to threaten him in a quasi-friendly talk, then says “Big fan, by the way.” So this is the guy that’s gonna be chasing Logan with a caravan of SUVs, a squad of drones, and a secret weapon somewhat reminiscent of the works of John Hyams. (Also I guess Daniel Bernhardt from the BLOODSPORT sequels is on the team, but I didn’t notice.)

These are the Deportation Force. Er, I mean the Reavers I guess they’re called. I remember talking about the Patriot Act in my review of X2, and all these years later here’s a movie making me think of Trump’s inhumane attacks on Muslims, Mexicans, immigrants and refugees. Mistreated Mexican immigrants in trouble at the border, later becoming refugees fleeing for safety in Canada, mutants officially unwelcome on American soil, depending on the kindness or looking-the-other-way of sympathetic citizens. Pierce is a piece of shit but probly believes he’s just doing his job. He’s not being ironic when he calls his side “the good guys,” deriding Caliban for switching sides – i.e. finding a conscience – after helping track down his fellow mutants during the big purge. Not that he’d necessarily care, but I doubt he thinks of himself as somebody participating in a genocide. He’s just looking for a win. And who knows, maybe he’d have a nicer job if there were more available. Like if the delivery trucks weren’t automated.

Along the way there’s a ton of good action. In case somebody is still bothered that Wolverine never got to stab motherfuckers very graphically before, he makes up for all nine PG-13 movies and some change. There are heads and arms chopped off, claws going all the way through a head and into a wall, etc. There’s a great getaway scene that to me seemed stylistically influenced by FURY ROAD, and it has some cool shit in it. I can’t think of another movie where they try the traditional bust-through-the-chain-link-fence maneuver and they get stuck and have to back up and try something else. While dragging a barb-wire-covered section of fence.

And there’s a big scene unlike any other I can think of, where Xavier is surrounded by gunmen and has a psychic seizure that puts everyone for blocks into a sort of vibrating, ear-ringing paralysis. It’s like everybody is standing still underwater during an earthquake. Logan, with his Wolverine strength, struggles against this force like a man trying to walk through a tornado, fighting his way through a casino and into the motel room to kill the attackers before they can manage to pull their triggers. It’s gotta be the most unusual concept for an action scene since INCEPTION.

There’s this thing I’ve written about before, I still haven’t figured out a name for it, but it’s one of the rarest and most desirable types of moments to have in an action film: when an action climax and an emotional climax happen at the same time. I think the first time I noticed it was in MY FATHER IS A HERO, and there’s a very similar one here. When (SPOILER) jacked-up-on-drugs Wolverine hauls ass through the forest and catches up to the assholes attacking the kids it’s the beginning of the type of big, brutal fight the X-MEN films were always hinting at, but also you see on Laura’s face the realization that Logan does care about her after all. So it’s simultaneous action adrenaline and heart-string pull. The ultimate action movie high.

Because truly, sincerely, this is a character drama. In part it’s about Logan’s relationship with Xavier, who annoys him but also gives him advice. At one point he pretends Charles is his dad, “Chuck,” and it’s not a total lie. He gets mad at him and they butt heads over their differing attitudes, but also Logan is still learning from the Professor and loves him like a father.

And more than that, of course, it’s about what Logan learns from this girl, who as a clone is his daughter, but also is his younger self, a do-over. Xavier says she could potentially be “better” than him, whatever that means. She’s got his animalistic side – doesn’t talk, doesn’t know not to steal or fight, can and often does brutally stab dudes to death, and I mean probly upwards of two dozen stabs on some of them. But also she has an optimism that Logan rarely had in his centuries of living. She insists on traveling to this Eden that he doesn’t believe in, she needs her friends, and she (like Xavier) has a belief in helping people that he gave up a long time ago.

(By the way there’s one major thing I think I was misreading, but it was cool while it lasted. I really thought they were implying that Laura had some Jean Grey DNA in her too. When Xavier asks “Does she remind you of anybody?” of course he means Wolverine because of her claws, but as soon as he said it I thought “Holy shit, she really does look like Jean Grey.” That would explain why she was the only one who could communicate with Xavier while he was in the silo. And later Xavier says something about her being made from Logan’s DNA and I thought Logan said something about not being the only one which I took to mean that he suspected she had inherited things from other mutants too. And if that were the case it would be so bittersweet because he never got to have the relationship he wanted with Jean and now he would sort of have a child with her long after the fact. But when he sees Laura’s file it reveals no such thing, and there’s no telepathic pay off either, so I’ll chalk those things up to coincidences and misunderstandings on my part. THIS IS NOT A FAN THEORY.)

In the great modern action tradition it’s in the great western tradition, right down to the imagery: trails of dust clouds from dirt roads, camping out on cliffs, scanning the landscape with a telescope looking for trackers, a train, even horses. Logan is the wanderer who tries to help people in need, but death follows him wherever he goes. The nod to the genre becomes explicit in a great scene where Xavier watches SHANE with Laura in the motel and is excited to share it with her, telling her what an important movie it is, when he first saw it and in what theater. He would be so happy to know that she memorizes a speech from it and recites it later!

Actually, I think this a better western than director James Mangold’s own 3:10 TO YUMA. He did a fine job with Logan’s 2013 adventure in Japan, THE WOLVERINE, but this is an even stronger, more thoughtful, and much more emotional story. I also think it’s cool that Mangold directed WALK THE LINE and then used great Rick Rubin-era Johnny Cash songs for the trailer and end credits of this one.

The script is by Mangold & Scott Frank (OUT OF SIGHT, THE LOOKOUT) along with Michael Green (who wrote GREEN LANTERN, but hopefully this is more representative of his work since they got him writing both ALIEN: COVENANT and BLADE RUNNER 2049). It’s really smart, full of implication and ambiguity, never over-explanatory, never too obvious, smoothly establishing details that will be important shortly thereafter (that there’s a train nearby, that Wolverine can withstand Xavier’s seizures better than others).

I love most of the X-MEN movies, and over the years I’ve enjoyed the way they set things up for future installments, leave you wondering about things and have cliffhangers during the credits and stuff, techniques they developed before the separate Marvel Cinematic Universe existed. I remember the excited chatter in the theater after the Dark-Phoenix-hinting X2 ending, and my relief that the end of X3 implied that Magneto and maybe my favorite character Mystique might be able to get their powers back. Also I remember trying to explain to people that if they’d stayed until after the credits they’d know that Xavier was still alive but transferred his consciousness into somebody else’s body, or something. It was fun.

But in the current landscape where that type of serial storytelling is common, it’s a thrill to see this last and best chapter of Wolverine’s story confidently striding in with a sense of finality. Yes, it points backwards a little bit (a great reference to part 1’s Statue of Liberty finale, a samurai sword from THE WOLVERINE hanging on the wall, a wistful look as he sees his old friend Rogue on the cover of a comic book), but it’s not leaving anybody hanging from cliffs. It gives a perfect and definitive ending to the story.

(It’s funny though, a big portion of the crowd stayed through the credits and expressed surprise when there wasn’t a tag of any kind. I don’t think you guys understand…)

This is not just a good one, this is something special. For me I’m pretty sure it’s in the top five super hero movies with DARK KNIGHT and BLADE. Honestly it’s kinda like they made it just for my tastes. But everybody else seems to love it too, so you’re welcome. I’m happy to share it with you.

It’s a great and pure badass movie with elements of comic book movie. It has grit and muscle and the strongest muscle is the heart. When I keep thinking back to what I loved in LOGAN it’s not all the “cool” stuff that comes to mind first. It’s the made-me-tear-up-beautiful final shot. And then it’s a scene where Logan finally, briefly opens up to Laura, confesses something that was obvious to us but that he’d probly never said out loud before, and she immediately shows that she gets it, that she’s been there, that he really isn’t alone anymore. God damn, this is what I go to movies for, this potent blend of the awesome and the human. Come for the SNIKT!, stay for the awwwwww.

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, March 7th, 2017 at 12:20 pm and is filed under Action, Comic strips/Super heroes, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

40 Responses to “Logan”

  1. I made the mistake of watching this and Manchester by the Sea within days of each other and I was emotionally drained as a result. It took a viewing of Freebie and the Bean to snap me out of my funk.

  2. I liked this one a lot, but can’t help but think it’s yet another Marvel movie which really suffers from a lack of good villains. Richard Grant is a tired-looking nonentity, and Pierce is a enjoyably hateable asshole, but not really much of a real threat. SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS in fact, despite looking badass I can’t help but notice how fucking terrible these “Reavers” are at doing their jobs. So their plan to catch a bunch of superpowered kids specifically bred and trained to be brutal killers is… to run up and grab them? Seems like the kids would probably have been fine on their own even if James Howlett had never shown up. I guess even a movie as R-rated at this one gets queasy about putting little kids in danger, but it would be nice if the situation felt a little more desperate. They need their own Wolverine to provide any real real competition at all. But while that works nicely thematically, Wolvie #2 is a pretty dull character narratively.

    That having been said, it’s really more of a drama than an action movie, so having weak villains doesn’t really hurt it too much. Jackman and Stewart are really wonderful, together and separately, and the script seems a little more simple and elegant than these things usually are (despite some odd hiccups like having Laura suddenly start talking out of the blue). I don’t know that I’m quite convinced it’s the masterpiece some people seem to be calling it, but it’s damn good. Definitely one of the best comic book movies, although that’s somewhat of a backhanded compliment.

    Also: I find myself amused to no end that one of the most interesting characters in this is introduced in one of the dumbest superhero movies (that being Caliban in X-MEN: APOCALYPSE, of course). It’s like ROGUE ONE trotting out Jimmy Smits as a fuck-you to the peeps who would like to ignore the disreputable past. Sorry X-MEN fans, APOCALYPSE is cannon, and you can’t have LOGAN without it (although it does offer an out, since we know that in-movie the X-Men comics are merely exaggerated versions of real events; perhaps Logan has seen X-MEN 3: THE LAST STAND and all that. But if so, he’s gotta be impressed at what a good likeness they found for him).

  3. My initial impression was that the villains were weak too but after I slept on it I realized that the true villain is time. Time robbed him of the people he loved. Time turned the Professor into shell of his former self. Time made him weaker. Time lessened his healing factor. Time took his eyesight. Without time this would just be another X-Men spin-off.

    The other villain (Spoiler) is himself. Literally and figuratively. At first I thought it was cheesy but the idea of a younger, faster and stronger Wolverine was an ideal villain. Not only is he a badass, he’s a reminder to Logan of who he was, which again feeds into time being the villain.

  4. (Forgive me if any of you already read this on the AV Club, but I’ll be damned if I’m typing all this shit out again. There are SPOILERS in here so beware.)

    It takes a good half-hour to get the “We can say fuck now!”s out of its system, and it has a truly epic part-where-it-drags-in-the-middle (you could make an entire other movie out of it), but it does nail both the big dramatic moments and the extra-strength carnage. I’m not sure it needed to be this bleak, though. I’m also not sure the ending, probably considered bold and brave by people conditioned to believe that anything but total despair is Hollywood bullshit, is correct for this particular story. It feels like it goes out of its way to validate Logan’s manly, masochistic self-absorption by giving him exactly what he dreamed about when he sat around feeling sorry for himself. It comes off as a combination of self-impressed edgelord miserablism and actorly indulgence instead of a logical summation of the themes of the narrative, particularly as presented by Charles. It’s still a very good and even moving film but I don’t think they stuck the landing.

    I’m specifically talking about the (SERIOUSLY, SPOILERS) death scene. The themes of the story up until that point had not been about finding a glorious cause to die for. It was about finding a laborious, non-glamorous cause to live for. So many details–from Charles helping Laura when everyone else is just waiting for him to die, to him telling Logan that he still has time to make a difference, to the farmer refusing to cut and run even though his land will almost certainly be taken from him in the long run–make a case that the heroic thing to do, the lesson that Logan needs to learn, is that you have to play out your string, however short it is. You don’t take the adamantium bullet when things get tough. You suck up the pain and illness and weakness and do whatever you can with whatever time you have left. I just don’t think him getting impaled on a log after a generic stabfight really got that across.

    To me, the more moving ending and the one that would better explicate these themes, would be Logan leading these kids across the border and Professor Xing them for as long as he could. He knows his days are numbered (as we all do, but it’s new for him) but he keeps fighting. Not with his muscles, which will fail him, but with his mind, his character, his experience. He’s more than just a pair of claws, a blunt instrument, an animal. He always has been, though he’s always denied it, and finally he acknowledges it. The film ends with him slowly wasting away, becoming more frail, losing his trademark hair, until he’s in a wheelchair, surrounded by his charges, his own X-Men, who now have a chance in this world thanks to him. For Wolverine, who’s been looking for his blaze of glory for centuries, dying a normal, banal death would be the bravest act he could commit.

    They can keep that part with the cross though cuz that shit was adorbs.

  5. Sorry in advance. This movie is not half as good as it is being reported as being. I felt all the cussing and violence and one boob flash felt extremely forced and made the movie seem like most modern comics in that it feels like a 12-15 year old trying REALLY hard to impress us with how ‘mature’ they are. The novelty of seeing a PG-rated children’s character cuss and brutally murder people ran out fast for me. To cause even more controversy: I’m not entirely sure why BATMAN V SUPERMAN is held up as everything wrong with the modern superhero movie while this one is now being held up as the greatest one ever (for this week). I mean yeah LOGAN is much better movie than BVS alternatively speaking but both are mean-spirited and nihilistic for the sake of nihilism (a problem just about every single ‘mature-minded’ superhero story has).

    Agree with Mr. S, the villains suck in this one. Would have been nice if ‘ol Wolvie got to up against a worthy adversary on his last ride. Though still liked when (SPOILER) the real villain is explaining things the audience may want to know but Logan don’t give a fuck and plugs him almost immediately (END SPOILER).

    All that said, I’m still positive on the movie and in the future this may be one of many where I pull the stick out of ass on but at the moment: I feel it gets the job done but seriously guys lets pull back on the hyperbole. Glad you all loved it though, I think the early reviews hyped me up too much for this one though (which is my fault!). There is lots to like: the acting is pretty great and much, much better than what we normally get in blockbuster-fare, the action (while a bit repetitive) is pretty good, it’s real nice to have his story come to a definite end and on top of that we get a great final shot. Too bad I fear that what Hollywood will take away from this one isn’t that audiences want smaller-scale personal drama (that rings REAL) to go with their spectacle but that audiences want children’s cartoon characters cussing and violently murdering people instead.

  6. I guess I saw it differently from you guys. It didn’t occur to me that this could be considered a movie with a weak villain, because it’s not at all a “wolverine vs. bad guy Y” type of movie. The Reavers are not Magneto, they are the hellhounds on his tail as he deals with his emotional crises that the movie is primarily about. In fact, I thought it was universally agreed to be the flaw of THE WOLVERINE that it’s a story all about this great character but then at the end it turns into Wolverine fights robot guy. This never did that or felt like that and that’s why it’s so much more successful as a story.

    (As for their alleged weakness, they did SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER manage to wipe out the entire generation of original mutants.)

    Majestyk, I like what you say about what would’ve happened if he survived to help the kids, but to me his death was not so much about sacrificing for a worthy cause as about that moment he had of remembering what it was like to have family and care about other people. That was the last thing he talked about, and it made him smile.

    Geoffreyjar, I had the opposite feeling. I previously thought it was silly that people wanted the X-movies to be more hardcore, but this (especially with its old-school-action-movie-for-adults look and feel and mood and subject matter) just felt completely natural. Of course a movie like this gets violent, and would feel phony and lesser if it pulled its punches. It shows great restraint in so many other areas it feels get to unleash during explosions of conflict.

  7. I had mixed feelings coming out of this one. Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart had some pretty awesome performances but overall I just couldn’t get into it. Like others have mentioned, the weak and unmemorable villains didn’t leave any kind of a mark on the movie and I felt Xavier’s death was underserved because of the surprise reveal of mirror match Logan. Not sure if it bothered any else but being a tv production person, it bugged me to no end that X-23’s nurse/caretaker had a perfectly edited plot explanation video with b-roll. I couldn’t shake the question of how she is collecting all of this footage with no one noticing despite it clearly being cellphone footage. Also didn’t care for the Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome turn near the end. Easily the best of the Wolverine films but the bar was set pretty low with the first two entries.

  8. Just to be clear, I liked the movie a lot, and agree that a lack of real threat from the villain is a pretty minor point in light of it mostly being a drama anyway (at least until the very end). And I didn’t find the profanity or violence forced at all; in fact, it seems much more natural than having to cut around the essence of his powers in other movies. I’m with Vern, it would feel pretty ridiculous for a washed-up ex-killer like Logan to watch his language or be polite about killing off baddies.

    SPOILERS

    That having been said, something about the ending does feel like kinda a letdown. Maybe it’s because it finally has to get around to dealing with its villains, who are the least interesting thing in it. And because they don’t seem that threatening, it seems unnecessary for Logan to die facing them. Hell, I feel like he could have just stood back and let the kids kill his younger doppleganger and they’d have done just fine. Especially since they end up killing him anyway, except after he’s already beat our Logan. What exactly did he accomplish here? It makes his death feel a bit forced, at least narratively speaking. Of course a “one last ride” movie like this would have to end that way, and Mangold is too in love with genre staples to resist it,* but I don’t know that they thought of a good enough reason for it in this case. I much prefer Mr. M’s alternate ending. I have to admit though, the “X” on the grave did get to me pretty hard. If they flubbed the execution ever so slightly, their heart was in the right place and it definitely comes through.

    *So in love, in fact, that he needs to take the speech from SHANE as the final emotional note — but it’s weird, I’m not sure he necessarily understands what that speech means, because it seems like it’s actually undermining the point the movie seems to be making, and suggesting in a rather fatalistic way that Logan was right, all he was good for was fighting and dying.

  9. I was totally mixed on this one. I agree with all the good things Vern and others have said, but I also agree with geoffreyjar and Majestyk about it being a slog with the nihilism. For a few moments there, I really thought it was going to end like you discussed, Majestyk and I was so happy they weren’t going with the expected death.

    SimonPhoenix, I thought the same thing about the cell phone video. Really? She had the time to edit it all together like that with a voice over and everything? Come on.

  10. Vern, I think you and I are both parking our cars in the same garage. I think that if you’re walking into this with the framework of a “superhero” movie, then yeah, you might be disappointed that there isn’t a great or memorable villain, and that a bunch of shit didn’t blow up at the end, and that Wolverine and Xavier don’t save the world, and that there wasn’t a super cool after-credits scene with Rom The SpaceKnight or Fing Fang Foom or Iron Man getting a taco at a drive-thru with Black Panther or some such fuckery.

    If THAT is what you’re looking for, then guess what, I got great news for you: there’s going to be a bunch of those movies coming out for you later this year, and next year, and the year after that and every goddam year until the heat death of the sun. Enjoy!

    But this? This is something different.

    It’s a violent tone poem with some damn excellent performances, a great and timely script, and fabulous cinematography and directing.

    It knows enough to take a breath every once in a while.

    It knows how it feels to care for an aging parent or relative who’s falling apart before your eyes, while you are barely able to hold yourself together.

    It knows that even when the world is fucking beating you down and plotting the best way to keep you there, the only way to save your soul is to help somebody else, even if that paints a huge damn target on your back.

    It knows that sometimes your worst enemy is LITERALLY yourself.

    And it knows that a little girl can win your heart the moment she tosses the head of an enemy across the goddamn yard.

    It may not be perfect, but it’s a real, honest to god FILM with a brain and a heart, and I’m glad we have it.

  11. I loved this movie so much, it made me wish I had my own blog. Was dying for this review to come out, Vern.

    One obvious flaw of the film is the lack of a big time villain, but after thinking about it, I didn’t mind it so much. Every time Logan wasn’t on screen, I got fidgety. Big chunks of time spent offscreen, giving us backstory for some moustache twirling villain would have been wasted time. And honestly, a lot of these Marvel films have really weak bad guys. I’m pointing at you Iron Man.

    It was almost better that the hordes of nameless, faceless chum that Logan sliced his way through we’re just that. I didn’t need a big show down with the Big Bad.

    SPOILER

    I did get a kick out of cloned, young Wolverine. I guess we are going to get CGI younger actors in every other movie and HBO series now, so we might as well get used to it. Young Hugh Jackman looked the best, and they clearly didn’t go too crazy on the effects younging him up. And they had him fight in the dark a bunch. I loved that the kids got to polish off the other baddy, using all their powers on him at once. It was creepy as well as satisfying.

    This movie is so great, I cannot wait to see it again.

  12. Yeah there’s a bit of lag (the movie could lose at least 15 minutes) and I don’t agree with the “Oscar contender that transcends the genre” pre-release review buzz, but I do think LOGAN is the best Wolverine movie by far, the best X-Universe movie, and one of the best comic book movies.

    I really appreciated how incredibly grumpy and stubborn Wolverine was in this movie. He just wants to find a quiet, peaceful place to die with CHUCK and has no problem trying to ditch a child in need at least 4 times. Hugh also steps up his RARRRRRGHHHHHH game in this one. I loved the roided-out howling at the end. Patrick Stewart finally gets to play something more than an exposition machine in a wheelchair and the results are very endearing. The little girl who played X-23 has a lot of potential and nails most of her silent moments and dialogue (“Such a nice man.”). No one in Hollywood can eat cereal like this kid.

    The sheer amount of cursing was kind of strange at first, but it made sense to me pretty quickly. Logan is old and dying and at the end of his rope, Charles is old and has dementia. There’s no reason these two SHOULDN’T be cursing up a storm.

    The action was very satisfying for the most part. Mangold delivered with all the R-Rated Wolverine slashing, head stabbing, and berserker freakouts. If I have one complaint with the action, it’s that Mangold didn’t take full advantage of X-23’s foot claw gimmick. I HOPE they’re saving all the good foot claw action bits for the solo X-23 movie that they should OBVIOUSLY make after this. I mean… they have to. If they don’t make a solo movie with Laura as the star, I’ll be really disappointed.

    I also liked how the presence of the X-Men comic books could potentially lead to Laura wearing Wolverine’s comic book costume at some point. Singer and co. have been hung up on “b-but… it doesn’t MAKE SENSE…” for years, but now you can point to those comic books and say “THAT’S why someone is wearing a weird pointy mask”.

  13. How canon is this movie? I ask because knowing the mutants do end up being wiped out, doesn’t it make any X Men movie after this completely pointless?

  14. When I saw the first screenshots for this, I thought it was for THE LAST UF US-the movie. The similarities between Joel and Logan are pretty remarkable. Seeing him with a lttle girl almost convinced me of that.

  15. I love this one. It was beautiful. I almost cried 3 times. Jackman deserves some kind of award. Stewart, also.

    I loved the quiet moments even more than the superhero-y action bits and I can’t really think of another “superhero movie” I can say that about.

    Seriously, I’d have been happy watching 2 hours of Logan, Prof X, (with special guest star Caliban) sitting around moaning and sniping at each other.

    It was almost Pinter-esque.

    SPOILER I was asked if this one had a post-credits scene. The answer is, thankfully, no. I mean, what are they gonna show? The rocks on Logan’s grave starting to move? SPOILER

    Also, I’m pretty sure I was the only cat at my screening who liked this. The general consensus was this one was “boring”. I despair sometimes.

    PS to Sternshein – I think the film is non-canon – something to do with differing timelines after DOFP?

  16. The movie got a positive reaction from the crowd I saw it with.

    And I thought the pacing of Logan was absolutely BREEZY compared to ‘The Wolverine’.

  17. I loved it. There was no padding, basically every setpiece was there for a thematic or emotional reason – my favorite being this little western story at the horse ranch, nicely explaining why nice flyover country folks might be xenophobic / cool with killing mutants (the answer being because angry Hugh Jackman killed their family).

    Maybe because of the smaller scope and series-finale feel, it felt like it had real stakes, unlike ALL of Marvel’s fare.

    Other than that, a LOT of cool ideas (fencing, drone trucks, corn goliaths, super-powered dementia etc.), appropriate jokes (no overdone “everyone’s a wisecracker”, Xavier has some genuine bitter old guy humor) and cool setting.

    Like, post-apocalyptic future is basically a wish-fulfillment fantasy – fun, easy and untrue. What was done here was much more bleaker, realistic (just imagine 20 more years of Trumps), and because of that, scarier. Todd Vanderwerff called it pre-apocalyptic, seems about right (rant over).

    Anyways, it wasn’t without flaws, but I don’t care. This is mostly a genuine movie, no corporate focus group target audience bullshit.

  18. I too thought this was a great film, but, man, is it fucking bleak. I haven’t quite been able to get the movie out of my head since I saw it on Saturday, and part of it is how damn near nihilistic it is at times. (I would have also preferred Majestyk’s ending, but then we would have been denied that wonderful final shot).

    Part of what makes this film so damn depressing is that it doesn’t take place in some sort of extreme dystopia. The world of Logan looks much like ours, but just a good bit worse. It’s the world on its way to dying out with a whimper.

    The film obliquely references inequality and the gradually takeover of the public and private spheres by corporations. When we meet Logan, he’s like a struggling Uber driver, ferrying around overprivileged assholes. The villains are part of a large corporation who see Laura and others as intellectual property. Even that nice farm family is being harassed by a large factory farm. We see the fabric of society slowly whither away, and it’s the kind of villain that superheroes can’t do shit about.

    Also, about that farm family. They open their doors to Logan and everyone, and they’re rewarded for their kindness by being unceremoniously killed off. For me, I suppose the point is for Logan to question whether everything wrong he’s committed has outweighed the good. Without meaning to, he got a family killed.

    Prof. X’s death was a bit hard to take, and the moment when Logan just repeats “It’s near the water…” over and over again nearly broke me in the theaters.

    Normally, in films like this, characters look for redemption, but they’re never truly bad or the world isn’t truly lost, but here it felt like maybe the X-Men’s attempts at making the world a better place were in vain. It was almost too bleak for me, but in ways I didn’t expect.

  19. RBatty — agree 100%, the movie really spoke to my five-month stretch of sustained depression spiked with a few useless symbolic gestures towards trying to make things better. I appreciate it takes place in a world which seems to just be gradually getting worse, without any specific tipping point to mark its definitive passing. Like the mutants, hope died out so gradually no one quite realized what was happening.

  20. I haven’t read the review. Just came to say that the release, which was scheduled for March 3 here in Venezuela just like in the US, was suddenly pulled indefinitely with no reason given whatsoever.

    : (

  21. Rbatty, I’m in the same boat. The same, depressing boat. I saw this on Saturday and just today coming in to work all I could think about was how the movie left me with a feeling of total futility. So, you can have money, power, respect, drive, purpose and true and deep connections with loved ones, but it’s all for nothing? You still end up in the Mexican desert in a tipped over silo living in conditions worse than a state run nursing home as a burden to your loved ones. And this the best case scenario because your failing body and mind could kill a bunch of innocent people, which you’ve already done. Maybe even your own loved ones, because, evidently, they’re all dead. They’re all dead and the mission you worked your entire adult life for failed. Then in a last hurrah, before you die a pitiable death, you lead your enemies to a kind and innocent family who gets slaughtered. Jesus Christ. As if the world isn’t shitty enough right now without this message floating around in my head all weekend.

  22. To me it’s in the series top 5. Maybe top 3 but I’ll habe to see it again. The influences from SHANE and UNFORGIVEN & LONE WOLF AND CUB really mafe my day. Specifically reminded me of Dark Horse’s last LONE WOLF mini which is set in a dystopian future.

    This joint might be overrated by now but my god it was refreshing to see one of these superhero joints with actual stakes on the line and consequences all around. Like *gasps* a real movie and not a novelty commercial for a shared universe.

    If Fox keeps this up they’ll be unanimouslyrunning circles around the wack ass MCU in no time. They’ve already been running laps around the DCEU l with DoFP, DEADPOOL & this (yes I purposely left out APOCALYPSE cause it was as mediocre as MOS & SUICIDE SQUAD).

  23. I thought he was Huge Ackman.

  24. I’m right there with you, Maggie. On the one hand, I can appreciate that the film is well-crafted, and it’s not every film that can absolutely bum you out like Logan can. On the other hand, I’m probably not going to a second viewing in the theaters.

  25. I might be way too ‘half glass full’ when it comes to this movie, but I wasn’t crushed at the end of it. In fact, I kind of felt happy for Wolverine! Between THE WOLVERINE and LOGAN, Mangold really wanted us to know that Wolverine is a man who’s in extreme pain and wouldn’t mind dying. His pain is over now and he got to die fairly heroically.

    Also, the kids survived and they have files and cell phone footage, so maybe they’ll be able to expose Transigen in future movies. Again, I think a solo X-23 movie is a MUST.

  26. wadew – “I think a solo X-23 movie is a MUST.”

    So does Fox I’m sure.

  27. Broddie – I thought that this little scene about preserving Caliban’s DNA was setting up a Future Canadian X-Babies movie, but I might be wrong.

  28. kevin_swords – That might be the route they take with NEW MUTANTS now.

  29. Wadew,

    Im glad you said that. I actually thought the ending was a happy one. Logan got the kids to safety and was finally put out of his misery. It was such torture watching him for two hours, in pain, burdened (maybe that isn’t the right term) with caring for an aging, ticking time bomb, that it almost seemed like a relief when he died. There were quite a few moments that choked me up watching that flick, but the ending wasn’t one of them.

  30. This film sounds very THE ROAD, which is a compliment. It does sound pretty bleak, but then there is hope and inspiration in watching a hero’s decision to live and die with honor regardless of the circumstances around him (or her). The struggle and the fragility can be horrific, but this is also part of what makes it so precious and beautiful. The victory doesn’t come from having a celebrated legacy or from retiring to a life of golf and Carnival Cruises. It’s living your life like a badass for as long as you got. As a rule, I have zero interest in the X-Men, but this sounds pretty terrific.

  31. It’s interesting seeing the varied reactions here. I was surprised when I first saw someone saying it was nihilistic. When I think about it, yes, there are very dark aspects to it, including the deaths of beloved characters and completely innocent people, but to me the ending was very hopeful about the future and about the redemption of individuals and that was the overall feeling I took out of the movie.

  32. Having seen the film, and read a lot of your reviews, I couldn’t imagine you not liking it!

    There are so many elements in Logan we’ve seen in the other X-Men movies, but it felt like this one fully developed them in some surprising ways – harking back to Logan’s relationship with Rogue in the first film, mutant experimentation, battling what someone tried to make him, Xavier being a father figure, finding family… And many beautifully written and acted scenes that I wouldn’t have expected a film of this type to bother with.

    To be honest, I was choking up watching the first scene between Logan and Xavier in the water tower. Knowing what they had been years before, and seeing them in this situation, was heartbreaking.

    Pleased to see that I wasn’t the only one who saw similarities between Logan and Little Miss Sunshine, of all things!

  33. I really liked this one! Had some huge problems with the script in the third act (in that last scene, despite having some great bits, everybody acts like an idiot- both the kids and the bad guys); If it wasn’t for that, though, I would honestly call it a great movie. As it is, it falls a bit short.
    I got the feeling that the movie was building up to him leading the kids through a bad-guy gauntlet to cross the border, which sure, would have been trite, but also fit a bit better with what came before. And maybe it would have spared us the sight of all those tiny deadly mutants just running around like headless chickens waiting to be tackled by hapless goons.

    “It’s gotta be the most unusual concept for an action scene since INCEPTION.” – or, you know, every other action scene in Dr Strange! Seriously, though, that bit alone would make me defend this movie forever.

  34. Vern and Master Shemp have shown that they can elucidate better than I so I will just throw this out there; Wolvie’s hair in this one is just…normal. So all of those times that his hair was twin-peaking he was styling and hair spraying it that way? I mean, call me crazy but I assumed that his bestial nature was what made his hair cowlick like that naturally. As a matter of fact, I remember reading in a Handbook to the Marvel Universe back in the day that the cowlick theory is actually the case. My only other gripe is the fact that Laura, logically speaking, is stuck at the size she is right now. Like, she is going to be the Latina, female Gary Coleman (albeit more murdery) because her small, 11 year old bones are covered in unbreakable, unstretchable adamantium. I’m sure they will conveniently ignore this and have her be a sexy teenage Wolverette, though. Considering those are my only two real gripes about the movie, it’s safe to say that I enjoyed it.

    Hey, just as I was about to click ‘submit’ I theorized to myself that his pointy hair is not happening for the same reason his healing factor is getting spotty. Ok, forget that gripe. I stand by the adamantium bones thing, though.

  35. THE WOLVERINE showed that Wolverine’s hair style is naturally weird. A nuke blows his hair off and it immediately grows back all pointy. Maybe old age dulled out the points? **

    ** I’m pretty sure the real answer is Mangold just didn’t want him to have goofy hair in this one.

    As for X-23 not being able to grow, she has a normal skeleton in the comics. Only her claws were coated with adamantium.

  36. wadew…cool, thanks. I did not know that.

  37. SPOILERS BOILERS MIDNIGHT TOILERS

    Walking out of the theater I’d have given this 4 out of 5 stars. After sleeping on it I lean closer to 3 out of 5, though that feels a little harsh considering how much I enjoyed it. My main gripe is with the ending, which – as Majestyk pointed out – fails to wrap up the thematic message of the story.

    Tonally it was consistent, it was wonderfully (but not, I think, gratuitously) violent, and the performances were very good – particularly Jackman’s. Stewart was terrific, but I was a little disappointed that the only “heroic” thing he did with his powers was to calm down a bunch of horses. That scene where Logan stabs his way into Xavier’s room is legitimately great, however, and I can live with how they “sent the Professor off”, so to speak. The manner in which Xavier dies is genuinely nightmarish, too, and I’m thankful that the clone was hidden in all the marketing and trailers. He was the best villain in the movie.

    As for the ending – just to officially put it out there and Thank You all for indulging me – I was secretly hoping that another famous mutant would show up to save the day. And by “another famous mutant” I of course mean Ian Mckellan. I mean, let’s think about this; the relationship between Charles and Eric has always been one of the most important if not THE most important relationships in the X-MEN universe. I mean, how does he feel about Charles dying? I’m not saying let’s have a big ten minute scene devoted to how he feels, but at least to have him show up in the story. And HAD Mckellan shown up, I think the audience would have gone bananas (I would have, anyway). ALSO, dunno if any of you dorks know this, but in the comics, Magneto once used his powers to pull all the metal out of Logan’s body! As soon as the movie established that the adamantium was poison I thought for sure they would do this IF THEY WANTED THE ENDING TO BE AWESOME.

    Either way: Logan should’ve lived. Had the last shot been of him and Laura together – possibly holding hands – or even of him lighting a cigar and leading the kids through the forest into Canada then SMASH CUT to “LOGAN, THE END”, I may have teared up. Like Vern said, Jackman’s take on Wolverine helped usher in this modern super hero era, and even though some of the Wolverine movies have sucked, we still somehow love him as this character. So make us cheer as we say goodbye. Allow our good guy to win. Let him have a family. It would’ve been much more satisfying than a cleverly lopsided burial cross.

  38. Look, I was ready to call you guys a bunch of wieners for thinking this movie is a nihilistic bummer, but now that I’ve finally seen it I kind of see where you are coming from. Not so much because of Wolverine’s death, which I thought was the kind of redeeming act of heroic self-sacrifice that we’re all about here at outlawvern.com, but the whole first act started me out in a pit of despair that the movie never quite dug it’s way out of. Professor X’s dream, along with every character we’ve loved from the comics/movies, is dead. Charles himself is dying, having psychic seizures and dropping F-bombs. Then throughout the movie almost everyone with a sliver of decency in them is brutally murdered. It’s just a hell of a downbeat premise and a quote from SHANE and kids walking off into the sunset wasn’t quite enough to do it for me. It just felt a little lopsided, and I’m a guy who thought THE ROAD was one of the most uplifting things I’d seen in ages.

    On the positive side (and there are a LOT of positives), this is one of the most convincing dystopias I’ve seen since CHILDREN OF MEN. It’s smart enough to know that a light touch with futuristic technology goes a long way. The self-driving trucks, the drones, the giant automated farm equipment. And I know everyone has been tripping over their own dicks trying to contextualise this film in terms of “Trump’s America”, but it really was hard to ignore that shadow over the film. Especially when you see the big-business assholes messing with the farmers by shutting off their water in exactly the same way as in the doco YOU’VE BEEN TRUMPED.

    I don’t get the complaints about a weak villain, as this isn’t the typical comic-book plot where that would be a problem. It’s about the ol’ Canucklehead outrunning his past as literalised by the evil Wolverine clone. It’s a really, really on-the-nose metaphor, but I liked that. It’s the shitty, violent, personality-free version of Wolverine that “big fans” (like Pierce) think they want, the one that had a cameo in X-MEN: APOCALYPSE.

    Anyway, I thought this was a really good one-off What If/Elsewords type story that I hope no other comic book movies try to build upon/emulate.

  39. I loved this film. Easily the best Marvel movie to date (if you want to lump it in with the MCU and all that). It had a depth sorely lacking from these kind of movies. I especially liked the fact that Logan spends much of the movie rejecting hero status. I also found it interesting that the ultimate killing machine, a younger, animal version of himself (effectively the Terminator), is contrasted by his “daughter”. They both represent emotional paths the character himself has taken before, and struggled to come to terms with.

    Patrick Stewart was exceptional, and the sequences with him and Logan were fantastic. It was odd hearing Captain Picard telling Hugh Jackman to go “fuck himself”, but you have to forgive him. For me, the burial scene (not at the end) was the emotional high.

    I didn’t see it as nihilistic. The setting, perhaps, is nihilistic, but the film is all about redemption, one last ride, and ultimately liberation for a tormented and sad character.

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