Logan ★★★★★

The Statue of Liberty was a long time ago...

Hugh Jackman has portrayed Wolverine for seventeen years. That actor/character duo has become iconic, almost seminal in his influence and development parallel to the burgeoning comic book genre. He's a character that is hopelessly isolationist and broken; a rare example of a hero who cannot overcome their especially crude origins. Logan finds it's titular character an inch from an ultimate defeat; succumbing to the only threat he faces; himself. He's lived long enough to find his own demons manifested in tall tales, a proudly Western thru-line that ends up defining Mangold's refreshing take on this worn character. He's confronted with his own legend, forced to stare down his murderous past just when he's riddled with crippling regret and exhaustion. The film constantly threatens to dive just a little too deep into it's own borderline nihilist sensibilities, but Logan's storied relationship with a broken Professor X and the intrusion of a mysterious little girl into his life keep the film honest. The action is brutal, and character arcs even more so, rendering Logan one of the boldest in it's genre; if not the most.

But the brilliant, most vital piece of Logan that shines the brightest is how well it understands the character. The Wolverine is a proud, tormented warrior who, beneath his bloodied claws is eerily recognizable. In his shortcomings as a hero, film and literature has occasionally found a fundamentally flawed humanity in this character instead, a representation of the cost of heroism, the difficulty of selflessness. But it's key that Mangold allows the core principles of the X-Men to shine through Logan's darkness. Hope. Acceptance. Community. Inclusion. The enduring sentiment that passing a torch bearing these qualities to a younger generation is perhaps the most valuable act of all.

Logan is a great film. Not just for it's seamless blend of brutal, visceral violence and emotional poignancy but also as a reminder of what comic book films can be. There's a neat little scene mid-way through the film in which Logan mocks the fictitious, juvenile nature of a hope the little girl holds because she read it in a comic book; asserting it's of little importance because it isn't real. Professor X responds simply that it's important to her, that it's value cannot be measured at face value because it's true worth dwells somewhere deeper. It feels like an affirmation of what I've always argued as an ardent lover of superhero cinema. These characters are important to me, their stories resonate far deeper because of their (often maligned) serialized existence and unique ability to grow, develop and mature alongside me. Logan feels like a great payout to a seventeen year investment, and it elevates Jackman's work with the character to new heights. It's simply a great film. The final shot will forever be one of my favorites. A great birthday present!

2017 Ranked
X-Men Films Ranked

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