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Review: Logan

Having watched the trailers for Logan, I knew that this was going to be a very different superhero film. I dislike the fact that “superhero” is becoming its own film genre, as that shows just how stale their tones are at the moment. Like Deadpool last year, Logan has managed not to disappoint. I wish to structure this review differently, so that those looking for a star rating can quickly dash off:

★★★★★

There you go. Watch Logan, there has not been a better superhero film than this in at least four years. I want to explore what makes Logan so good, and what it does in contrast with most superhero films.

It is a film, not a product

This can instantly be seen from the 15 age rating. Wolverine as a character is an animal, reflected by the brutality of the action and his visceral dialogue (he uses the f-word almost as often as punctuation). I cannot imagine this story having half the effect that it did without that rating. After the plot is established, with both a Professor affected by dementia and an alcoholic Wolverine, the tension is almost non-stop.

James Mangold stated in interviews that Logan is set in a different dimension than the other X-Men films, which allows him to ignore the complex timeline created by the previous entries and thus lets him make what he wants. While he also directed the fairly average The Wolverine, his passion for the character shines through in his direction and his writing, staying completely loyal to the character. This benefits an argument I have made for a while now: leave cinematic universes to TV, allow directors with a vision to make what they wish. This has been seen to work not just for Logan, but The Dark Knight and Deadpool.

Bristol boy Stephen Merchant as Caliban — yes, he still uses his accent in some lines

It is unpredictable and shows us characters we know in a different light

While it may seem that there are only so many ways a film involving a massive cross-country chase can go, the film constantly throws us curveballs. The goal being headed for is consistently doubted and the sacrifices made along the way make us constantly question if what is going on is right.

The characters that we have seen throughout most of the X-Men films are changed in such a way that gives them new interest. When we first see Logan in this film he is in a very low state of mind and aged. He is set on escaping the country and resides in secret in a warehouse while trying to care for Charles Xavier. Both Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart give their best ever performances of these characters, as the writing allows them to do so much more and be so different with them.

The tone is immensely different to any other superhero film

Where are the constant quips? Oh, that’s right: Logan welcomes us to the real world. The focus on these characters makes the film feel more human and relatable. The themes of children and nurture are far easier to relate to than the usual superhero struggles, allowing us to sympathise with the characters even more. The fact that we are witnessing a poisoned Logan who has lost most of his healing powers also causes tension in action and sympathy is slower moments, as a previously invincible character is stripped of his powers.

The themes are also that of right and wrong, and religion and myth. All are explored to a good depth, and allow us to contemplate morality through the veil of Wolverine stabbing people occasionally.

Conclusion

Logan will be one of the few superhero films of our generation that will actually be remembered in future. If you are old enough to see it, go, and if you are not old enough beg your parents to take you. Logan is one of few superhero films that transcends the genre, and is not only a great superhero film, but also a great film.

Patrick Stewart and Hugh Jackman, saving the best until last with their portrayals of the characters