Logan ★★★★½

“This is what life looks like.
People love each other.
A house. A safe place.
You should take a moment. Feel it.”

17 years.

17 years have led to this moment. Through a series of constantly high highs and low lows, one thing has always remained consistent. The interminable and dedicated performance by Hugh Jackman as Logan, better known as the Wolverine. There’s a reason they haven’t made a single X-Men film without at least a cameo by Jackman. He’s been the lifeblood of the series, and has carried it since its inception. However, despite a strong lead and a rich background in stories and adventures, Fox has never been able to nail a solo film, and I think there’s a clear reason for that.

Throughout the films, Wolverine has only been as good as his supporting cast. Until now, X-Men: Days of Future Past has been the shining example of the type of character Wolverine can be in an X-Men film, where he’s supported by an overwhelmingly strong cast of supporting characters. But his solo films, this really isn’t the case. X-Men Origins: Wolverine is about Logan, and purely Logan. Sure there are other characters, but the crux of the film is Wolverine. It’s true that Logan is an interesting and complex character, but the film is a complete disaster when there’s no one for his pain and suffering to lean on, not to mention the film is an utter failure in every other department. The Wolverine almost gets it, but the characters he’s teamed with either lack any interesting dilemma or are just plain underused. I wasn’t in the camp of people who completely disregarded that film, in fact the Hiroshima sequence ranks up there among the best of the series in my opinion. But for a film that strives to be so different and character driven, it truly is just dull, eventually turning into superhero schlock in the final thirty minutes.

I care about this character. I care about this franchise. Despite the impending implosion of the superhero genre, the X-Men franchise has continued to work for me, constantly exploring new territory and placing the importance of rich and dynamic characters above world building and continuity. And based on the marketing and news I heard, this looked to be the most painful X-Men film. Not just because of the subject matter, but because I went in with the knowledge that this is the final film of both Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart. These two have defined their role. They are the foundation and breeding ground of this continuing saga. I went in to Logan with zero expectations. I stayed away from trailers and TV spots, all I was left with was the hope that the care and passion shown in the performance by Jackman transferred over to the other areas of the film.

I did not expect to feel how I did walking out of Logan. Not only is it the best X-Men film, but it’s also the most emotionally satisfying and expertly made superhero films since The Dark Knight Rises. Its great care and determination is showcased in its rewarding conclusion to a character whose sole existence is deemed as a mistake, by society as well as himself. The film reveals a man wasting his years away in solitude, lost and alone while the rest of his kind is close to complete extinction. He cares for an aging and psychologically stiff Professor X, hiding him from the world in a bunker. It’s a hard-hitting story, especially for those who have been on ride since the beginning, but it’s necessary. It’s rare that Logan is ever happy. He’s dealt with loss, grief, and misery throughout his whole 200-year existence. So to see him in such a deep spin of depression is not surprising.

I don’t know how to describe the amount of emotions that I experienced during Logan’s two hour and twenty minute runtime. I felt happiness and pity. I felt sadness and relief. It’s weird to think that this was a superhero film. There’s a point in the film where everything slows down. The pure adrenaline-fueled mayhem stops and we are left to question where our heroes are. This is the point in the film where it dawned on me that I was watching an R-rated superhero film. It’s so rich in characters and sheer will power that it became more than just a comic book movie. It was a film. It stood alone. When entering Logan, I didn’t need to know anything about the characters or previous films to understand what was happening. It flowed naturally with constantly progressing motivations for characters. It’s R-rating serves a purpose, and the violence and language is there because of the characters are extremely lost in their own self-abuse. It doesn’t feel like it was there just to push the limit.

I feel like I can’t talk about this movie in depth without accidentally giving spoilers. It’s so wonderfully executed in every aspect. The performances are painfully real and true. There’s a natural flow to the filming and editing. It’s beautiful to look at. Honestly my only problems would be a few scenes of poorly delivered exposition and a couple of important sequences that could’ve been better delivered to be more powerful. But it’s a near perfect experience. Anyone who is a fan of this series needs to see it.

Throughout the film I was just waiting for the moment where I would break down, but surprisingly it didn’t come until the last shot. It’s like a punch in the gut. It means so much to where we are in the series. The implications to what it means are so moving and wonderfully executed, that I couldn’t help but feel a tear run down my cheek.

Logan ends Jackman’s near two-decade long career as the violent and animalistic Wolverine on a high note. I can perfectly understand people’s complaints with this, but to me this is everything I want from a superhero film, and represents that the genre is not impossible to master. It treats its audience like people. It’s not pandering or demeaning in its nature. It refuses to stop, showcasing true pain and brutal violence in the most visceral way. I left Logan with a tear on my face, satisfied that the end of an era has come in the most beautiful way imaginable. See it. Take it in. Remember it.

“You still have time.”

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