Logan is the latest “superhero” movie to be released as a part of Fox’s X-Men franchise. The reason I use the word “superhero” in quotations is because Logan isn’t a superhero in this film. He is only a hero. To discuss this further though, I must warn you that this review has spoilers for the film. If you haven’t seen the film you are doing yourself a disservice, and must go as soon as possible. So… Here it goes.
Logan is an asshole. This trait, of being an asshole, is what makes this film so awesome. When he is found by a Mexican woman who pleads for his help, Logan literally tells her to “fuck off” and walks away from her as she chases him crying. The only reason Logan ends up helping her and X-23 is because she calls him anonymously to drive her to a place for some cash. Had Logan known it was her calling, he would not have gone.
Additionally X-23, who is a total badass by the way, is Logan’s daughter. Despite finding this out at the beginning of the film Logan attempts to abandon her and even leaves her in danger, at a time where she is defenceless, in favour of going after Charles who is no longer in danger (though to be fair Charles was injured). But there’s something about ignoring your daughter, who is crying and screaming for help, in favour of going to help a man who’s nearly seriously wounded that screams “asshole”.
But I like this. I like not seeing the stereotypical Hollywood action hero. Logan is a weak, flawed and dying man. When given this choice between his daughter, X-23, and Charles, Logan goes to Charles because Charles is all that remain of his old life in the X-Men, and is the only survivor from the group that was always there for him. He didn’t go after X-23, because he doesn’t yet believe in the goal he is trying to help her achieve.
This is some dark drama. Logan is a selfish dickhead, so much so that even Charles says “fuck you” to him. The tone of the film is very serious and gritty. There is blood and often brutal violence that compliments the films simplistic story. And the story is simple, by the way, which is why the dark tone works. The story goes: “Get X-23 to the Canadian border so she can cross to Eden with other kids, while avoiding the baddies chasing us.” Simplicity itself.
Now I don’t want to get into a big debate between Marvel and DC but… Why is it that this film works with a dark tone and a film like Batman Vs Superman didn’t (Given the criticism it received for the tone). I think it’s two things: What drives the story and the simplicity. As I said above, Logan has a simple story, which allows for the film to focus more on the individual characters and let them drive the story and have more compelling and complex story arcs. X-23 goes from a silent child, who would only talk through her mind to Charles, to the reluctant child of Logan, who dislikes him for not wanting to take her to Eden, and finally to his loving daughter. All that for a character who is silent for half the film. But if we compare this to Batman, one of the main characters of BvS; His entire arc goes from someone who doesn’t like Superman… To someone who does like Superman… And rather than have this transition take time and effort, it takes a matter of five seconds.
Not all superhero movies have to be dark and R rated, but those that do should follow the example set by Logan and let characters, rather than a series of plot devices and conveniences, drive the story. If you’re not sure what I mean let’s compare Logan to Captain America Civil War. In Civil War the characters Steve Rogers and Tony Stark have always had disagreements and the only reason they are pitted against each other in Civil War is because the main plot device, the Sokovia accords, pits them against each other. In Logan, however, the conflict between Charles and Logan is driven by decisions the characters make. For example, Charles doesn’t take his medication and endangers everyone, including civilians. Logan, on the other hand, is unwilling to let any of the group rest because of his paranoia over the people chasing them.
This movie is gold. If you have one of those black box things, or whatever, that allows you to watch things before DVD release I urge you not to watch Logan on that and to instead go to cinemas. This is a movie experience you have to have in a cinema. The tension is through the roof, the writing is on point, the acting is on point, the drama is amazing and action scenes are brutal, and satisfying. If you have ever watched an X-Men film and thought “if Logan doesn’t take shit then why would he do *Insert idiotic event to get a few laughs here*” and disliked it, then this is the film for you. Logan takes no shit in his (definetly) last movie. He’s all in and in a place we’ve never seen him before.