Even though it’ll cost me what little reputation I have, I’ll be honest with you: I think this is a masterpiece. Well, a genre masterpiece at least. Before you respond with ridicule, bear in mind that I rarely manage to go to the cinema these days, so having a great night out with my wife in an excellent cinema might have clouded my judgement. Also, I’m quite fond of the X-Men movie franchise, so you need to factor in that bias as well. But I do have good reasons for my opinion on ‘Logan’:
I think that superhero fiction is suitable for telling sophisticated stories. It’s a perfectly valid point of view to disagree and find superhero fiction inherently silly and only good for providing escapist entertainment. If that’s your general opinion, ‘Logan’ isn’t for you. If you have a general interest in the genre and have become tired of origin stories, ever-expanding cinematic universes or superhero smack-downs, you should really enjoy ‘Logan’, though. Well, “enjoy” may be the wrong word for it, because this is a very grim and bleak film, arguably even more so than Christopher Nolan’s “Dark Knight” trilogy. As Peng has mentioned in his review, ‘Logan’ is about scarred characters, who haven’t aged gracefully and are filled with regrets. It shows superheroes with waning powers, who have lost their big battle and their sense of purpose.
The set-up of the movie is that Logan/The Wolverine lives south of the U.S.-Mexican border and commutes daily to the U.S. to work as a chauffeur. His regenerative abilities have weakened and he is in constant pain, which he dulls by hard drinking. He needs the money to buy illegal drugs, which are needed to sedate Professor X, who by now is a cantakereous ninety year-old suffering from dementia and seizures, which cause telepathic “earthquakes”. Apart from Caliban, who assists Logan, there are no other mutants left and the heroics of the erstwhile X-Men are the subject of comic books.
I liked that the movie is very vague about the disappearance of mutants and how Logan and Charles Xavier got were they are. There are some hints, which allow you to draw your won conclusions, but ‘Logan’ is quite short on exposition. I liked that it is somewhat realistic about its future setting: There are self-driving trucks, prosthetic robot arms and authorities being in cahoots with large corporations (some would say they are already), but there is no spectacular sci-.fi invention. I liked how unglamorous this movie is. It’s a road movie about characters on the margins of society and it takes place on the shabbier outskirts of towns. I liked the unshowy direction which manages to convey a lot of information visually and I admired the magnificent performances by Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart. I even liked the R-rated swearing and violence. It’s absolutely correct that Charles Xavier uses the F-word a lot, even though it doesn’t fit the very controlled and polite persona of the earlier movies. That’s exactly the point: Professor X is a doddering old man and can’t control himself. And the brutal violence is truly gut-wrenching, as it should be.
This may not be the ‘Citizen Kane’ of superhero cinema. It’s more like the ‘Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia’ of superhero cinema. And what a film that was. 9/10