As I’m writing this, I have not seen the movie yet but I wanted to sort of provide this “before and after” approach. Just as a heads-up, this is and will be a bit of a nerd post. If you’re not familiar or care about the Marvel Comics character, Wolverine aka Logan, then I understand if you sort of gloss over it. But, if you have time and want to just get my take on something relevant and entertainment related, keep reading! Maybe I’ll peak your interest enough in the character that you’ll go see the movie.Some history first.
I’ve been a fan of the X-Men franchise/world ever since I can remember. I grew up watching the early 90s cartoon that was on Fox. This led to an interest in comics, video games and even collecting trading cards if I could find them. Wolverine was always one of my favorites. When you’re a kid, as I was, he’s a favorite because he’s cool. Plain and simple. He’s a brash brute with claws that pop out from between his knuckles and has a super healing power that means he can take a punch, kick, shot, stab, flying truck (whatever the bad guys want to try). How can you not like that?!
It’s not until I got older that I understand the complexity of the character. Without going into a long otherwise highlight reel of his history in the comics (I’ll point you to Wikipedia’s page for the long read https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wolverine_(character) ), I’ll simply say he’s a tragic character who is a lone, tortured soul amidst the din of a chaotic world. He’s faced hardship after hardship and continually battled his inner demons. Never wanting to be the hero but led by a code that drove him to battle injustice.
Now, I’ve followed the films since 2000’s “X-Men” directed by Bryan Singer. Back then, it was amazing to see this character in real life, portrayed by Hugh Jackman who I had never heard of but embodied the character of Logan perfectly (it never bothered me that we didn’t get to see him in his iconic yellow and blue costume). Think about this. He started in 2000 and we’re into 2017 now and Jackman has played the character in nine films (some only as a cameo). That’s crazy to think about!
“Logan” is supposed to be Jackman’s last go of the character (that could always change so we’ll have to wait and see) and is supposed to be loosely based on the “Old Man Logan” graphic novel, which is not for kids (be advised). There will be deep deviations from the graphic novel for various reasons but the film based on the trailers will be self-contained and a tribute to the character in all his glory. Speaking of trailers, whether you’ve seen the film or not yet. I admit, there was some man tears produced at the visuals accompanied by Johnny Cash’s cover of “Hurt” originally by Nine Inch Nails in the first trailer. Haunting yet enrapturing.
This is the end of my pre-viewing of the film. The following paragraphs are my initial thoughts:
They went full berserker! Saw the movie yesterday and let it process overnight before I wrote up my thoughts. I’ll preface this by saying this is more a reaction than review. Reviews tend to be stuffy and sometimes technical whereas I want to give my impressions on the characters, themes, etc.
There will be no spoilers!
“Logan” was by far the most human X-Men/Wolverine movie yet and I hope it’s an upward trend. For the first time, this felt like a real world where mutants actually lived in. The past films have had this sort of “comic” motif (duh… but you know what I mean). End of the world/big baddie bent on destruction sort of thing.
This film aimed for the heart and person of an aging, wounded Logan who was still led by his code, though he’s constantly fought it from film to film. The relationships here are the prize.
It reminded me a great deal of the relationship explored in the Playstation 3 game, “The Last of Us,” where an older man is tasked to escort a young girl to a safe haven in a post-apocalyptic world ravaged by a virus that turns the infected into zombie-like creatures. She’s immune and while he struggles to believe something greater could come of the journey, he eventually finds her to be hope for the future and a reason worth living.
We kind of get the same thing in “Logan” but like I said, this is about exploring relationships. From Logan to Professor X to Logan and the young girl, Laura, we see the importance of family.
Now, this film is not for the squeamish. It’s very violent unlike other X-Men/Wolverine films, which have more of the “comic” action. I would not say that I am desensitized to violence, blood and gore. I grew up during the days of violent video games being the trend (Mortal Kombat!!!!) and have seen my fair share of the ridiculous in films. Still, there are some things I don’t particularly care to see when it comes to violence.
Logan’s healing ability makes him a prime candidate to have crazy violence committed against him to show the audience he can withstand whatever weapon may come against him. I say all this because the violence in the film was crazy brutal but it felt warranted and necessary. Throw the eleven-year old, Laura, into the whirlwind and you just feel your adrenaline rising. Both my wife and I had to take a relaxing break afterwards because the intensity just rose and rose to the nth degree until the very end.
My overall impression and reaction to “Logan” was a metaphorical hard clap (never clap in the theater after a movie…seriously, we’re better than that). X-Men: Days of Future Past has been my leading favorite X-Men movie but “Logan” jumps to number one. This was everything I’ve wanted in a superhero movie. Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight” showed what a realistic, human superhero can be and few have tried to follow that model. It took a few years but “Logan” did it, staying true to the character of Wolverine. Highly recommended even if you’re not familiar or fan of the character.
Call to Action: See the movie and share your thoughts in a comment. The whole X-Men timeline confusion might leave you asking some questions but that is minimal at most. This was a fantastic film and I truly hope we see more in the near future of this caliber.