Thanks to the wonders of repertory cinemas, I had a chance to see Logan last week. It seems this was good karma for helping a friend in need, and it was more than an adequate reward.
I’ve been a Wolverine fan for quite some time. It’s likely because he was the first mainstream Canadian superhero teenage me found, but there were also some very significant Wolverine stories back in the day, and the Wolverine mini-series written by Chris Claremont and illustrated by Frank Miller cemented Logan as my favourite super. When James Mangold seemed to be bringing aspects of that mini-series to the screen in The Wolverine, I was cautiously excited – cautious because of X3 and X-Men Origins: Wolverine.
The Wolverine was certainly better than XMOW, but it didn’t do the mini-series justice. Still, it seemed like it would be the best we would get. Then along comes Logan and its obvious borrowings from Old Man Logan.
Let’s be clear: Old Man Logan worked very well as a deconstruction of many comic characters and tropes, but much of what the work referenced would be lost on movie audiences. Many of the story points would be likewise pretty extreme (like the Hulk clan’s origins). However, I thought an older, bitter Logan would be a great character and with the rumours that this would be Hugh Jackman’s last hurrah as Wolverine, a story taking aspects from Old Man Logan sounded perfect.
Logan is not perfect, but I think it’s as close to that as we can expect. There were parts of the film that dragged for me, but I recognize their purpose. Jackman and Patrick Stewart deliver, and Dafne Keen as X-23 was also quite good. Sometimes Boyd Holbrook as Donald Pierce or Richard E. Grant as Zander Rice chew some scenery, but it is relatively restrained for what it is and likely an attempt to make the villains more entertaining, given that they are evil guys doing evil things with flimsy justifications – they are 2D villains pretty much.
The weakness of the villains, though, didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the movie, and enjoy it I did. While there were few surprises – as much as I hoped there’d be a curveball somewhere along the way – it was a fantastic ride. This is the Wolverine movie all others should aspire to be. And I believe there should be other Wolverine movies with a new Logan now that Hugh Jackman has departed. Like Sean Connery’s Bond, whomever follows Jackman is going to have a hard time of it, but I wish them well.
Along with the pathos, there is lots of action, and it is good without being great. There were no action scenes that left me stunned, nothing here that I had not seen before elsewhere, but that’s okay. Again, given this intellectual property’s track record, good translates to great when you are in the theatre watching the movie.
So I’m going to give Logan 4.5 unmentioned spoiler special villains out of 5. Although there were no surprises, the action was good and the acting from the leads was great. The movie could have been improved by taking some chances with the plot or making the villains more believable, but this was a