Britton Dowers’s review published on Letterboxd:
Takeaway the claws replace and give Logan guns and this becomes a Western.
Logan, starring Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Dafne Keen, Brody Holbrook, and directed by James Mangold. Logan is Hugh Jackman’s supposed last turn as the iconic Wolverine. The movie takes place in a near future in which most mutants have died and no more have been born. Logan is caring for an aging Professor Xavier when a young girl enters their life and forces them onto the run. The trailers for Logan have given this much story, and if you haven’t seen the film yet experience it before knowing more than this. Logan’s marketing team gave the right amount of tone and story to get people excited for the film without giving anything away for this amazing movie.
There isn’t much wrong with Logan. The story goes places not many comic book films have gone before, and uses every bit of its R rating to good effect. The film is an emotional roller coaster and it plays on the fact many have been fans of Hugh’s performances for the past seventeen years. He doesn’t disappoint in what might be his last appearance as the character. Logan finally delivers a solo film worthy for Wolverine. It has everything we have come to expect from the character. Logan is the reluctant hero who is troubled by all he has seen and done. He’s afraid to get close or help in fear of losing something again. He still feels a deep connection to Professor X and their relationship is a key component to the entire narrative. It is also Professor X who pushes Logan to look after Laura when she shows up. Xavier knows Logan needs the connection to help him continue to want to live in a world which consistently beats him down.
The story does draw Logan out of his shell to where he does want to engage with Laura and protect her. Dafne Keen is stunning as the young mutant X-23. She nearly steals the entire film with her performance, in which she doesn’t talk for most of it. She is able to convey her emotions through action and her eyes and they speak loudly. Dafne’s performance next to Hugh’s is my favorite part of Logan. Her raw emotion during certain scenes was truly remarkable. I don’t know how much she was actually used for her action sequences, but those were stunning as well. Jackman of course delivers in his action scenes, and it was interesting to see an older slower Logan in this film. For most of the movie he struggles to come to grips with this fact. The only throw away character in the film is the villain played by Brody Holbrook. He’s fine and serviceable, but he doesn’t add too much to the movie. The character doesn’t need to add much for the story which is told. He’s there to drive the plot forward, and does a good job in this function. The villains are the weakest element in the story, but their part doesn’t need to be strong for the story to be effective.
There are a few small nitpicks with Logan, but not much to complain about. The pacing of the story does slow down at one point towards the finale. A few scenes in this sequence where both cute and touching, but didn’t add much to the film overall. One or two could have been cut out to pick up the pace and get to the final fight. There is also a minor plot hole towards the last part of the film as well. No spoilers, but it has to do with how the bad guys approach the final fight. They should approach it one way, because of things said in the film, but approach it in another. In the end it is a very minor nitpick for a film and story executed nearly to perfection. Logan is also extremely violent, and because other X-Men films haven’t been this brutal it may be a slight shock to some just how far Mangold takes the violence. It wasn’t something which bothered me, but I could see if you were used to a standard X-Men film how it might have been a shock to the system. It also might be a slightly disturbing to see a young girl perform such brutal acts, but her violence and actions serve an importance to the story. Logan couldn’t save her without Laura helping to save herself.
Needless to say Logan is well worth seeing if you are any kind of comic book fan or have been a fan of Hugh Jackman as Wolverine. It is worth seeing if you are a fan of old school Western films in general. It very much pays homage to some of those stories. I’ll be seeing Logan again in theaters to take in the story. It is well deserving of a second viewing.