17 years ago, Hugh Jackman brought Wolverine to life and to the big screen in 2000’s X-Men. This weekend, Jackman says goodbye to the character with the release of Logan in one of the most breathtaking well-developed stories, performances, and films in the history of the comic book genre.
Logan begins its story in 2029 where it has been twenty-five years since the last natural-born mutant came into the world and the X-Men are no more. The film’s opening signals not only the direction and somber tone of the film but shows its lead character’s drastic health and stamina decline since we last saw him on-screen. Instead of Logan’s usual threat of “Guys, you don’t want to do this.” to his foes, this time around it doesn’t lead to instant death to his opponents. Logan no longer takes down everyone as easily as he used to years earlier. He gets beaten down and suffers from wounds that don’t instantly close up any longer and remain glaringly open. Director James Mangold’s choice to open up the film exposing Logan’s weakness was not just poignant but let the audience know that this isn’t your kick-ass Logan anymore.
Logan’s day is as formulaic as it gets for someone with little to no motivation left. And then, Laura arrives. A little girl who is just a tad bit like him as Charles Xavier explains to Logan. She’s not just a mutant, but a mutant that shares Logan’s adamantium claws. Resistant at first, Logan, along with Charles, eventually decides to take Laura to a safe haven for other children like her.
The relationship between Logan and Laura is a joy to watch and is made the central focus of the film. Similar to the relationship between Joel and Ellie in 2013’s PlayStation game The Last Of Us, their relationship organically builds and grows throughout the film. From Logan’s feeling of Laura being nothing more than just baggage to a genuine love between the two characters built by the film’s end, Logan and Laura’s relationship is one of the high points of the film.
If not Logan and Laura’s relationship, then what is the highpoint of the film? Hugh Jackman and Dafne Keen’s performances as said characters take it. Last year, Leonardo DiCaprio won an Academy Award for a performance that was 90 percent mute and primarily based on his mannerisms and facial expressions. Fast forward to 2017, and Keen does not need any words in her performance, as her facial expressions throughout shows the change from weary of Logan to caring for him. Keen knocks it out of the park in her debut performance.
While the Academy Awards are one year away and while they rarely award comic book films, let alone its actors, Hugh Jackman should be highly considered for a nomination for his final portrayal as Logan. The best performance by an actor in a comic book film since Heath Ledger’s award-winning performance as The Joker in 2008’s The Dark Knight. Jackman delivers a career performance as Logan. Jackman is able to show Logan’s despair, anger, and eventual love that brings his character full circle after his first portrayal in 2000. Take note Academy and reward this man!
In 2017, the over saturation of superhero films is quite evident and some hope it will soon go the way of western movies and disappear. The hate for the genre is clear but Logan is such a breath of fresh air to the comic book genre, and what can be done with a film given the freedom to truly tell its story. Logan has spent years easily reviving himself and he may have just revived this film genre that I love so very much. Do yourself a service and watch Logan. It’s not one to be missed.
Reel Talk gives Logan 4 Reels