Looking Back at 2010s Films: Logan (2017)

5 Oct

logan-review-759

By Tanner Smith

Continuing my series of Looking Back at 2010s Films, I still have not seen 2013’s “The Wolverine.” But maybe I don’t have to, seeing as director James Mangold made another Wolverine film and it was pretty great!

I’m of course talking about “Logan.”

I give up trying to fit this movie into the X-Men chronology…actually, I didn’t even try. I just enjoy the film on its own.

What does it mean to be an aging comic book hero whose glory days are far behind them? We all know how awesome Logan/Wolverine (played memorably by Hugh Jackman) was from the previous “X-Men” movies. To see him in decline is bittersweet; to see him still able to take action is still pretty cool.

“Logan” isn’t so much a “superhero movie” as it is a sci-fi Western. There’s good guys who are the outlaws and a bunch of ruthless and greedy baddies who will stop at nothing to take them down. (There are even many references to “Shane,” the classic Western.)

Oh, and it’s R-rated. Very, VERY R-rated. All the gruesome kills Wolverine is able to perform with his vicious metallic claws–hell yeah you see some graphic gore this time around! With all the slicing and dicing in this one, you know Logan isn’t messing around this time.

But that’s only for those foolish enough to try to jack his car in an opening scene. Soon after, we see that Logan is making a living as an Uber driver long after Professor Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters has shut down for good. In fact, Logan even cares for Professor X (Patrick Stewart), whose mind is fading day by day.

So here we are…the final chapter in the X-Men story. We know this can only end in tears. And once we accept that, we can only hope for something inspiring to come from this.

Anyway, Logan is roped into taking care of Laura (Dafne Keen), a young mutant who is hunted by government agents who bred her as a secret medical experiment that would result in a super-mutant army. When it becomes clear she shares Wolverine’s DNA, it also becomes clear that this little girl doesn’t mess around either. Logan doesn’t want to get involved, but he has no choice, and he has to protect her against the villains and bring her to a place where she’ll be safe.

What happens to superheroes when they get old? Not many movies want to play with that idea, but Logan does unbelievably well. And it introduces us to a villain that is even more relatable than any of the antagonists Logan and X have to face: mortality.

But the film isn’t too grim that one can’t get any enjoyment out of it. There is some pretty intense action, including one of the best car chases I’ve seen in any action flick, and when Laura gets where she needs to be, it is nice to see that there will be a spirit to carry on the legend that will inevitably be left behind. But overall, “Logan” gives its audience answers to questions comic book fans never wanted to ask, and it gives them what they didn’t know they needed.

When it comes to dark, compelling, what-is-life superhero movies, I say DC has “The Dark Knight” and Marvel has “Logan.” (And Marvel also has the excellent Netflix series “Daredevil,” for that matter.) That’s how good I think this film is! And it only gets better the more times I watch it.

And I gotta be honest…it almost made the list of my picks for the best of the decade.

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