Hugh Jackman graces the big screen for one last time as the Wolverine. Overall, Logan possesses a dark tone but is filled with a great deal of action. Director James Mangold appears to have structured the plot in light of a cross-country road trip with western undertones. This film is starkly different from other superhero films. Ironically, the unique qualities of Logan are not exclusively centered on its 'R' rating, but align more with how the characters are portrayed. Many modern portrayals of superheroes focus on heroes during their youth, when they are invincible. On the other hand, this film portrays Logan in his later years. He is no longer invincible, but is now worn down. All the years he spent fighting have finally taken a toll on his mind and body. Not only have the years worn down Logan, but they have also reduced Professor X to less of who he once was. This film really digs deep into the idea that the superheroes we have all come to know and love are far from immortal. Despite any mutations, superheroes are still human. They can feel pain and even face the possibility of death. The exploration of this idea makes Logan feel incredibly realistic, more than any other superhero flick to date.
Of course, Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart effectively portrayed their characters with the brilliant flair that only they can have. But their characters were written in such a way that both of their acting abilities truly did shine. Not only were the veteran actors superb, but newcomer Dafne Keen also gave a spectacular performance. Keen serves as the first live-action portrayal of X-23. Personally, this was very exciting for me and I was really looking forward to finally seeing this character in action on the big screen. Naturally, I was a little skeptical about the young actresses' portrayal. It was difficult to know what to expect of someone so young portraying a character that was so disturbed. Regardless, Keen managed to pull through and gave a truly captivating performance. The combination of these three performances greatly contributed to the overall feel and pace of the film. Their on-screen chemistry fostered a compelling story for all audiences.
Other than the characters, another aspect of Logan that is noteworthy is the fighting sequences. Naturally, being a superhero film, each fighting sequence is going to be well choreographed. Logan was especially well done. This film did not have to adhere to a PG-13 rating and, therefore, was able to be more flexible in it's fighting sequences. Keeping this in mind, any scene consisting of hand-to-hand combat was much more realistic in quality and did not shy away from violence. Typically, a superhero or popcorn action film is restrained from displaying a realistic combat situation. Films of this nature clearly hold back from their potential in reference to action sequences. This is mainly done so the film can be viewed by a wider audience, thus guaranteeing substantial revenue. In 2016, Deadpool broke this mold and became the first rated R superhero film to be widely received by various audiences. As a result, this paved the way for increased confidence in doing the same for Logan. In retrospect, this was very fortunate, because it allowed for a more realistic portrayal of Logan himself. Almost every scene was garnished in nail-biting action and realism. Audience members can literally feel just about punch that is landed. Despite the well-choreographed action sequences, this aspect of the film consistently takes a back seat to the incredibly realistic characters. This is extremely important because many films of this nature focus too heavily on action. Consequently, although a great deal of action can create an entertaining experience, it can bring down the overall story. Logan does not make this mistake and finds a clear balance between action and believable characters.
As previously mentioned, Logan and Professor X are in the later years of their lives. This aspect is further reflected in the world seen playing out across the big screen. The overall environment in this film feels dirty and worn down. Despite the fact this world is in the future of the X-Men universe, it is far from the polished, perfect worlds that are constantly seen in superhero films. This decrepit and worn down backdrop provides a perfect western feeling to this film. Most of the setting is surrounded by desert, much like many classic western movies. Although this seems peculiar, it creates a subliminal connection to Logan's final stand. The western tone, in reference to Logan, reminds viewers of the old final showdowns between cowboys and robbers. Logan, in this movie, is the old, worn down bounty hunter that just desires a resolution to his life. Surprisingly, this interesting way of telling his story, provides a stupendous crescendo to the final moments of this film. It leaves a loyal audience falling to their knees, appalled at what they just witnessed.
Many have walked away from this movie disappointed in the fact that it was not really a superhero film. Furthermore, people have criticized it for not really having a strong villain. Naturally, there are characters who serve as antagonists in this film, but they do not maintain a significant presence.The fact of the matter is, the real villain in this film is life itself. Logan is in constant internal conflict throughout the movie. In other words, the villain in this movie is not a horrific, genetically modified beast. I found this to be very creative on the director's part. Not every superhero film needs to be about saving the world. Everyone struggles, even the ones who set out to save people from super villains.
Overall, Logan calls upon a unique way of portraying a hero. Its focus is on mortality which can resonate with many audiences. This film is not about saving the world, or stopping some impending doom. It's about living, it's about regret, and it's about the inner struggle we all face. This struggle is within ourselves, and whether or not we can overcome the challenges we face in our lives. Logan emphasizes that regardless of power or strength, we all face struggles. The realism in this movie is overwhelming and is certain to reach out to any individual who is willing to receive its message.