I can start this review only one way and that is addressing the elephant in the room. Is this the best superhero movie ever?
Now, I understand this argument. I have it with friends and family and fandom in general works a lot by pitting two favorites against each other. Is it fair or even? Hell no. Is it fun? Hell yes.
So we all know the dark knight is the competitor here. So which one is better? Well, we'd be comparing Apples to Oranges. But you know what Fuck it, let's get it over with.
The apple is Logan, The orange is Dark Knight
The apple is crunchy, sweet, it takes a bite to truly dig into one
The orange is tangy, soft, and you have to peel it, removing the layers.
The dark knight is a layered crime drama. The reason it is so renowned is because it let go of conventions and became a film. A film about people, choices and consequence.
Logan, well, I got a whole review dissecting this thing below. And oh yeah, I prefer Apple's.
So, Yes Logan is in my eyes the best superhero film I have ever seen. Let the arguments begin.
"I hurt people" - Logan
Claws stab into a man's skull. Through the drywall that his head rested on. His mouth was open, the claws shooting through the bottom of his jaw are visible in the back of his throat. His eyes roll back his life leaving him. Never mind the blood that spurted with the initial stab or the blood oozing from the three blades. The claws retract. The camera pans from the dry wall onto a man's face. The man is older and grey, weary, but in his eyes you see rage. His entire face twists into of one of pure, unhinged, malice. For in the next minute he will do every thing he can to rip, stab, cut, and shred you in the most painful piece's he can.
This is the Logan I've been waiting to see my entire life. This isn't a superhero film, this is a western, about a man, finishing his consequences.
The R rating in this film does more than show the macabre, it is a finalizing element. Where in all the previous X-Men films the wolverine was tampered off, this one goes claws out. And this character never worked before this film because of the lack of finality. When the characters use to say "I hurt people". I didn't believe it because I didn't see it, hear it, and most of all feel it when he killed people. It was like it didn't happen. But in this film when the character says "I hurt people". I feel it, I remember that skull snapping in half. I remember the man screaming to death as he clawed through his chest in blind rage. I remember that guy falling limbless to the ground. Not once do you see Logan kill in joy or glee, or even from his own intent. He kills when someone he cares for is hurt, taken, murdered, threatened, abused. This is a man who believes he has no other option than to defend and attack. His rage works because his character is in a perpetual state of loss, and hurt. I believe it when he screams. I believe the anger when his claws are out. I believe the exhaustion when he looks back at the pile of corpse he lays waste to.
"Everyone I care for gets hurt" - Logan
This film is lead by three characters Logan Charles and Lauren. Each one a piece of a family. And they are family, some of the best character work in a comic based film, period. They capture the annoyance of family, bickering and fighting. The love of family, the caring and providing. Plus the biggest element that so many filmmakers get wrong. The silence of family, when your there at home or in a car. With your family thinking, knowing, not knowing, lost, confused, sad, that silence builds,. Because relationships build inside not out. And this film captured that well, the family is believable and honest.
A western, directed by James Mangold
This film is a western as much as the dark knight is a crime drama. Marvel studios hasn't touched this level in cinema yet. I'd bet money that DC wont in the foreseeable future. Where most of marvel films are superhero films wrapped in a genre wrapping. The Dark Knight and Logan are a genre wrapped with a thin, transparent superhero film as a wrapping.
Mangold delivers on his promise here. The fact that he pulled it off is incredible where Nolan had a full studio backing him with an insane budget. Mangold had thin wafers to partake. Well, 97 million, which is the the third cheapest budget for the series right after Deadpool and X-men 1. Add in a studio so fucking idiotic they could sit on a almost billion dollar film for 6 year's. So Fuck Fox but thank Jackman and Mangold for pushing for this as hard as they did, and keeping that Holy R rating.
Mangolds direction is great here. He films it slim and personal, No big extravagant bullshit CGI action sequences here. No flashy slow motion cheese, no glory shots. Okay there is a few corpse exploding and some boobies that didn't serve a purpose. But There is some nice compositions here. Charles throughout the film suffers from seizures. One scene in particular captures the gnawing, uncontrollable spasms, and paralysis very well. It even made me uncomfortable seeing it as I have seen many victims of seizures and it is a very scary scene to watch. It's also done with people actually standing in scene trembling in pain, frozen. Definitely one of the most unique shots of the X-men franchise. Sitting right up there with the Nightcrawler white house sequence in X-men 2. The action scenes are shot well. They dig home the violence that this one man can do. The western vibes extend into the very fabric of this film, even at times showing in the film itself. We all know mangold has a soft spot for westerns look at 3:10 for Yuma. There is some horses briefly, but not in the way of a western. The sense of heroism, revenge, and addiction all play beat to beat for a modern western though.
The Sounds of Rage
The score in this film was actually noticeable. Not since Nolan bat-films have I heard a soundtrack actually add something to the table for the film. When chaos was running rampant the music swelled with a nice peak with sounds that added tension. Now nothing stood out as great pieces. But the fact that I noticed them stands for a lot as I cannot for the life of me feel a damn thing for any of the marvel scores. No guardians doesn't count when its all licensed.
The Wolverine & Friends
Hugh Jackmans final portrayal of wolverine. A character he's played over 6 times over a generation is impressive. He nails the anger, He nails the family moments, and he nails the emotional beats. Its great seeing him actually dig into his performance. Patrick Stewart does a great job being a old man suffering from dementia. He has a potty mouth and brings a good bit of humor from his role, also drawing some much needed depth to his character.
The surprise star of this film is without a doubt Lauren. Boy does she nail her stoic performance. She outdoes Jackman when it comes to complete massacre mode. and her arc throughout the film is impressive, her character develops quite the range.
So what's bad about the film?
The main villain played by Boyd Holbrook only existed to move plot points around. The two other villains of the film were also thrown in the mix as plot and backstory, forgettable. One I didn't mind as much as some other. I wish they could've found a villain worth the film as there are plenty to draw from in wolverines lore.
Also the length, it's hardly a negative as I don't mind the extended length. The film feels like a directors cut though. It is so chock full of events and threads it somehow manages to fit without ripping at the seams. Do I think a leaner version of this film could of been possible? Absolutely, 10-15 minutes, shorter at least.
My favorite part of seeing this film was the ending. So rare is it to find a film with balls to kill off characters and this films kills them off. As soon as the film ended I could feel a vacuum of loss taking the audience back. Nobody left the auditorium immediately they sat there staring at the screen. It was an ending, a true ending. I can't gratify that enough in a time of fake ends and never ending series. I won't lie I choked up. For everything that was, could've been and accomplished from this character. He had a proper ending.
So.. in ending.
9/10 - Amazing
This isn't a superhero film it's a western directed by James Mangold. It's about a man dealing with consequences. A bitter, stabbing, aching, send out for a character that until now has gotten the film he has always deserved. Jackman nails his final outing tugging at heart strings that no superhero film has been able to do. People die, brutally and savagely, but more than that you can see a family live, hope, and struggle to survive. The film delivers on the promise of an ending. An ending that holds the audience in a vacuum of loss. Yes, the film has flaws, pointless villains and shitty side story threads. But the core of this film is so good, I can almost forgive it's mistakes.