Logan came to our screens this week and completely blew our socks off, in fact. We think that Logan is one of the best comic-book movies ever conceived. However, a lot of people and critics are attributing the success of the film from FOX due to its high age rating. Here’s why we think that’s wrong, and dig deeper into the true meaning of why Logan is not only a great film because of its different approach towards a classic character that we know and love, but also a complete deconstruction of the genre, driven by character motivation and conflict rather than simply relying on a single villain that our hero inevitably kills to drive the plot forward.
This has been your spoiler warning, we’ll even pop in a little trailer below to cut off all the spoiler content.
HERE BE SPOILERS
So you’ve come out of the cinema, jaw dropped and teary-eyed at the death of one of the principal characters that brought comic-book movies to its forefront. So how did they pull it off? To start off with, Wolverine has always been the same character that we all know and love from the first X-Men film. If you think about it, not really much has changed with Logan since we last saw this version of him in X-Men 3: The Last Stand. Now aged, old and with no friends left, this film chronicles the redemption arc of Logan himself, by acknowledging his past and present.
If we flash back to X-Men 3: The Last Stand, Logan had to make the choice of killing Jean Grey, by fatally stabbing her after she unleashes the Phoenix. Where Logan picks up is after we see the downfall of the mutants, with none of their kind being born for 25 years. We pick up with Logan looking after a senile Professor Xavier, who is slowly losing control of his powers. We’re introduced to Logan’s status quo- driving a taxi cab and caring for Charles and Caliban across the US border, in Mexico.
He’s an alcoholic, using escapism to get through his days. Where Logan picks up is essentially telling the audience that years of fighting and battling against inhuman foes and high emotional turmoil wears us down. Years of fighting to no end has left Logan a battered, bruised human. The tone that the film takes is in stark contrast to many comic-book movies that we’ve seen before. Gone are the fantastical colours and powers, and in is a gritty, grounded look that is seldom seen in films with a small, angry man with claws.
The result of this is a tonality to the film that feels more intimate. There’s no ensemble cast or world destroying power, instead its all about a little girl who changes the perspective and outlook in our hero. Logan has often shirked responsibility, but with the introduction of Laura, his daughter, we see him change. There’s always a looming sense of dread in Logan, and part of that is becuase our characters are always being chased. The film moves with a steady clip, but we see glimpses of humanity shine through.
Moments like eating dinner at a table, Laura wanting to buy a hat- hell. Even Xavier’s moments when he watches a film with Laura all feel like an inside look into their lives, and never feel shoehorned in. Instead of the film being driven by action scenes, the film is driven by characters, who are forced into situations to survive. With the inclusion of X-24, a clone of Logan, we see the film using an interesting narrative technique.
X-24 represents the legacy that Logan leaves behind after the end of the film, essentially his former self. X24 fights relentlessly, without a true direction or cause, this is essentially Logan before he found a reason to live (and die) – The fight with X-24 is Logan shedding his past life away, and embracing a new cause. Logan eventually learns to live and love, opening himself up to other people again.
Logan isn’t just about Wolverine messing people up in an incredibly violent manner, its essentially a redemption arc for the character, and a rumination on his 17-year film legacy, at least, that’s what we took away from it. We’d love to see more, smarter takes on comic-book movies.