If there’s a movie that encapsulates the idea of a fitting end, this is it.
What a film. What a finale. What a farewell.
Damn it, the tears are coming again.
The X-Men universe has always been about characters struggling within themselves and against the world, fighting for their right to survive and thrive. It’s always been about the characters and not the plot. So Logan didn’t bother with extensive exposition or convoluted plots. Just a simple, linear story to follow, and a bunch of world-weary characters for us to feel sorry for.
Hugh Jackman delivered what is the most nuanced Wolverine performance he’s ever done, showing us every bit of how exhausted Logan is. Grim and nihilistic, he became the Logan I really hoped he would be in this final flick.
At the beginning, you can almost taste his anger and frustration as he grapples with trying to keep Charles from hurting people, to keep trudging through life, and to keep himself from just ending it all. When Laura arrives, you can really feel the emotional turmoil he’s in. The innate goodness in Logan is still there, but buried so deep by the cruelties of the broken world that it only surfaces briefly now and then. And at the end, when he makes the decision to sacrifice himself and protect the kids, it brought the story of one of the greatest antiheroes in comic book history to a close.
Sir Patrick Stewart was similarly wonderful as a dementia-addled Professor X, struggling with his disease yet still retaining all the optimism he held as the leader of the X-Men. Dafne Keen, the girl who plays X-23/Laura in the film, turns in a great performance as well, destroying any notion that she’s just a plot device.
The villains are just typical villains that give chase and force our heroes on their road trip, but I have no doubt that no one will care one jolt about their depth as characters. Logan is about Logan, about Laura, and about Charles. It’s about the people, their stories and their struggles to live. And while it paints the grimmest picture of all the X-Men films (and indeed, all Marvel-affiliated films), the ending is strangely uplifting. It brought Wolverine to a close in what is probably the most fitting way for him to go.
I’ve grown up with Hugh Jackman as my only Wolverine, and it feels a little sad to see him retire from the role. But if he didn’t choose to make Logan his last film, we wouldn’t have Logan. We wouldn’t have an R-rated superhero film that dared to kill its protagonists. Superhero movies almost always have to keep its heroes alive for future installments, but Logan had no such restrictions. And that made all the difference.
So kudos to Fox for green-lighting this, despite all the reported reluctance. Thanks, whoever leaked that Deadpool footage and made R-rated superhero movies possible. I’ll be more than happy for Fox to push into different territories, and let Marvel Studios do the cookie cutter big budget summer blockbusters. Just don’t try and do R-rated versions for all your superhero properties.
Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight still stands as probably the greatest superhero film of all time. But Logan comes close for me.