Seventeen years later, and Hugh Jackman has finally decided to retract the claws and finish his run as The Wolverine, aka James Howlett, aka Logan... but he truly does go out with a bang. There are so many reasons why Logan is the greatest superhero movie of this century, but some could even argue that it's not even a superhero movie. Whatever you'd like to call it, it's a great film, and the one Wolverine has always deserved. Here are the reasons Logan is the best superhero movie of the new millennium. (I'll do everything I can to avoid spoilers. Also, note* from here, there will be some explicit language so you have been warned.)
1. It's perfect, and necessary, use of an R-Rating.
Wolverine is a gritty, brutal creature. With every familiar *snikt* of his claws, you know somebody is about to get messed up. In this story, Logan is an older, weakened man. He's basically the definition of "too old for this shit" and it shows through in this film. Logan and the other characters do not shy away from dropping the F-bomb regularly, along with other swear words, but it all feels natural to the characters and the dialogue. Even the ailing Charles Xavier cusses and it seemed right. These known characters are in very different states then we've seen before, but this is what really feels right. Thanks to Deadpool, one of the other great new superhero films, for really opening the door on this R-rated front.
The violence is also vicious. In every other movie with Logan, there would be some amount of shielding or downplay on his claws ripping people apart. In this movie, Logan will stab someone through the back of their head and the tips of his claws will exit through their face. Limbs are torn off, blood is very present, and the hits that everyone takes, especially Logan, are solid. But once again, this all feels like it's simply the way it should be in a movie about The Wolverine. It is not overzealous with gore, but it is realistic. Jackman shared a page of the script before the film's release, giving audience members a tease at how the action would play out.
2. It's genre-defying story and feels.
While I am asserting that this is the greatest superhero movie in a long time (or really ever for me, just because Wolverine is my favorite), some are claiming that this is much more than a mere superhero movie, and I would agree. Logan is a superhero action flick mashed up with a western on the surface. It is a story of redemption for a man who has had a dark and painful life on the fringe of the fringe of society. Logan has been, for the most part, a loner, but is far from selfish - even though he may disagree. This film has shown him to be extremely selfless until the end credits roll. It doesn't bear the typical tropes of superhero movies, especially Marvel films. This movie is different in that it is not about the hero and his powers giving him the chance to save the day on a major scale; instead, this movie is about a hero dealing with his own self-doubts and self-hatred as a result of his powers, and finding the strength to save a life, rather than going quietly into the night. It isn't flashy or ridiculous. As the page from the script (shown above) says, people, get hurt. There is a reason to worry about Logan. He's not on top in every fight as were used to seeing. It's not just the same old pattern of superhero exists, learns to use powers, fights with the main antagonist, saves the day, happily ever after.
3. Top-notch performances.
Hugh Jackman delivers perhaps his greatest, grittiest outing as the Wolverine. With an incredible ability to portray the pain and sorrow Logan is in constantly, this was not an easy version of our familiar hero to play. Daphne Keen, the 12-year-old child actress who plays X-23, the mutant Logan is transporting, does a very well-done performance of the ferocious young one. Magically matching Jackman in tenacity, it is hoped that she will be the star of a future spin-off. And of course, Sir Patrick Stewart returns as a much older, much sicker Professor X. This was a new side of the character, and Stewart did a great job adapting to this. The rest of the cast was good as well, and I give major props to the stuntmen of this film.
4. Bonus: It felt a hell of a lot like The Last of Us!!!
I absolutely adore the PlayStation game The Last of Us and since they announced the plans for a movie adaptation, I've dreamed of seeing Hugh Jackman take on the role of the main protagonist Joel. The plot and feel of Logan gave me strong reminders of The Last of Us, a story about a middle-aged man who must transport a young girl across a desolate landscape while evading dark forces. There is also that similar father-daughter relationship that develops, and it was all just.... wow.
Overall, this movie was just incredible. Brutal. Heart-wrenching. A long, long time coming, but we finally got the Wolverine movie we have always wanted and needed. Don't take the kids (or do, but just be prepared). Logan is in theaters now.
My rating: 9.5/10