Logan: Full Review and Comic Book Guide
One Last Time
"What have I become. My sweetest friend?
Everyone I know. Goes away in the end."
Logan is a 2017 neo-western superhero film based off the Marvel Comics book character, Wolverine.The screenplay was co-written between Scott Frank, James Mangold, and Michael Green. And directed by James Mangold. This film supposedly marks the last time Hugh Jackman—who's played the role of Wolverine for almost 17 years—will make an appearance. The film is also based off the comic book Old Man Logan by Steve McNiven and Mark Millar. The films stars Hugh Jackman (Logan), Patrick Stewart (Professor X), and Dafne Keen (Laura Kinney/X-23). The plot follows a sick and decrepit Wolverine who travels across a desolated, dystopian future wasteland where mutants no longer exist. The film was released by 20th Century Fox on March 3rd, 2017.
Before the film starts, Deadpool makes an appearance. Deadpool is walking down the street listening to music. In what is a spoof of the Superman transformation, he runs to a telephone booth when he hears the cry of an old man. Hilariously, he takes way too long and the man is killed. The short is a trailer for Deadpool 2.
The film takes place in a world without mutants. The mutants have all been eradicated by a virus called Transigen Project. Logan, who's own adamantium body as begun to poison him—causes him to age significantly over the years. Charles Xavier, old and disorientated—falls into seizure-induced psychic attacks from time to time. This is the reason there are no X-Men to speak of in the film.
The Transigen Project company is responsible for the film's new mutant presence. Thanks to Transigen—and Logan's DNA—11-year old Laura (X-23) makes her debut. Other mutants in the film as a result of the experiments have several DNA of famous mutants who once lived. One boy, has the magnetic powers of Magneto. Another, has the lightning powers of Storm—and so on.
Logan and company (throughout the film) are also hunted down by the Reavers (cyborg soldiers for hire) and the Terminator-eque, X-24. X-24 is a result of the success of the Transigen Project conducted all those years ago. And The Reavers are augmented soldiers tasked with the mission to hunt down X-23. The film is a race against time in an attempt to save the children and deliver them to the Eden—where they are safe.
The film's dystopian-western setting comes from the film's overlying tone of lawlessness. If the parallel wasn't drawn already—there is a nicely crafted scene where Laura and Xavier watch a western in a hotel room. The film's western influence is really strong. The law does not exist which is apparent from the film's very first scene. Logan is sleeping in the back of his vehicle. He then wakes up to a group of thugs who try to rip off his tires.The situation quickly escalates and all hell is let loose—blood is spilt—and heads roll! Cops or other law officials are no where to be found. Mercenaries and powerful companies rule the areas. The film truly embodies the Wild West.
The themes of the film are mortality and family. Logan's sick and brittleness marks the end of an era. Logan is no longer the supped up, killing machine he once was. Wolverine—especially in the original trilogywas hailed as unstoppable. However, in Logan is the exact opposite. Logan can actually be hurt or killed. This adds a sense of suspense never before associated with the character. The film brings to question all of Logan's past actions or mistakes. Logan is haunted by them. Time has been merciless to him. In the film, we see him crumble both physically and mentally. This is the most vulnerable we've ever seen him—and it's great.
The movie depicts many moments where family is important: Logan runs into a farmer willing to do anything to protect his family, Logan's own makeshift family with Xavier and Caliban, and the road trip moments between Logan and his genetic daughter—Laura. before the events of the film. Even during, Logan finds family moments with Charles and Laura. Logan is reminded several times by Charles that Laura is his daughter. And several times over, Logan brushes off this fact. It takes him some time but eventually he does come around and accept the responsibility. It is amazing to see because when he opens up—so does Laura.
The action sequences are flashy, astonishing, and bloody! The fights are well choreographed and stunt performed. Laura is fast, agile, and animalistic when she fights. She bounces from wall to wall—uses the claws on her feet to disembody enemies—all while she flips over enemies and grapples them into submission. Logan's fight scenes are full on combative and frantic. He stabs his enemies quickly with strength and power—the same as Laura—but with more dominance and force! The movie utilizes its "R" rating to its fullest. Blood spurts when claws slash their destination. Body parts fly across the screen when they are severed. It is also important to note the spontaneous change in fighting choreography when Logan is inebriated. His combat is sloppy and wild! The film is gory in combat and all the more satisfying.
Another great mention is the film's special effects. Due to Logan's limited healing, his skin no longer produces soft skin. This allows for him body to be covered in scars and lacerations. The injuries from past fights linger on the body of the actors. And when claws pierced the skull of henchman—you can see it vividly cut all the way through. Although the action is heavily computer generated, it never looks awkward.
Hugh Jackman (Logan) & Dafne Keen (X-23)
Hugh Jackman's performance as Wolverine is emotional and compelling. He portrays the old man role with confidence and ease. This is shown through the slowness of his walk, the terrible shaking of his hands, and the heaviness of his breath. Jackman has portrayed the role for so long now that it feels natural. Logan is the same Wolverine we've always known but he has matured in his own way. And it is reflected through Jackman's performance.
On the other hand, Dafne Keen's performance is the spotlight of the film. Even though she's small, she exuberates strength and fearlessness. When she prepares to fight —her shoulders are high and her chest out. Her decision to not speak does nothing but adds to her mystique. Her bloodcurdling screams when she fights—strikes fear in her enemies and enhances the mood of terror.
Patrick Stewart (Professor X)
Patrick Stewart's performance as an older, unstable Professor X was extremely noteworthy. It was certainly enjoyable to see Professor X weaker than normal. His role in this film is important to the development of Logan's character as well. Logan takes care of Charles. But, he also serves as a father figure. Therefore, Charles is less serious and more loving. More importantly, his condition gives meaning to Patrick's every more. The subtitely that his time is almost up, adds a constant pang of nostalgia to his performance.
Logan is a film that celebrates Hugh Jackman's time as Wolverine. The decision to go with the Old Man Logan graphic novel complimented the growth of Wolverine. The film is perfect at conveying raw emotion in its setting, action, characters, and performances. The cinematography, sound, and special effects are top notch. The film also has a surprise found-footage sequence which adds a much welcomed horror aspect to the franchise. Furthermore, the introduction of a brand new set of mutants (especially X-23) will certainly keep the series alive and fresh. This film is the perfect passing of the torch for Logan—and the X-Men film series.
Logan is rated R and currently in theaters.
COMIC BOOK GUIDE
Below I will explain some of the film's comic book influences.
Old Man Logan
Logan is loosely based off the Old Man Logan comic book with just a skeleton of the narrative being preent. The major differences include Hawkeye as Logan's traveling companion instead of Professor Xavier and Caliban. Instead of the Reavers, the villains are the Hulk Gang. Due to the death of the X-Men and the world's heroes—America is still a lawless country. Additionally, instead of Wolverine bein responsible for the death of the X-Men, it is actually Xavier who does the unfortunate deed. As a result of studio differences (and creative liberties), it is no wonder why many of the Marvel elements of the comic books were scrapped.
Laura's origins in the comics are quite different than the film. She was originally created for the X-Men Evolution television series. She makes her comic book debut in the NYX comic book which features the story of her and other homeless teenage mutants. She gains the spotlight when she receives her own limited comic book series X-23. Her origin (genetic clone of Wolverine) and her aggression, skill, and abilities—remain untouched.
Caliban—in the film—is a fearful, albino mutant who is deadly afraid of the sunlight. His abilities although are important to the Reavers. He can sense and track mutant locations within a 25 mile radius. In the comics, he has various powers that can cause him to be a major threat. One of which include increasing his strength to superhuman levels by absorbing fear from other terrified individuals.
The Reavers & Donald Pierce
Reavers have been hunting down mutants ever since the Uncanny X-Men. Even though the film uses them as mercenaries-for-hire, they don't answer to anyone in the comics. They are their own faction with their own leaders. Speaking of leaders—Bonebreaker, Skulbuster, and Pretty Boy are not in the film. However, shades of Bonebreaker can be near the end. When a Reaver stands up—emerging from his tank—it is reminiscent of the Bonebreaker character from the comics.
In the comics, the Reavers are a anti-mutant movement hell bent on destroying mutantkind. Similarities between the comics and the film continue with the use of mutant prisoners to help capture other mutants.
The New Mutants
The film teases the appearance of a new band of mutants near its third act. The kids that were let loose from the Transigen Project before their death sentences exhibited extreme prowess in their training and powers. Some of the kids names were: Rictor, Bobby, Jamaica, Rebecca, and Delilah. In name alone, Rictor (in the comics) is a member of the X-Force and X-Factor. At the end, they all set out for their adventure together—to Eden. Who knows, maybe the New Mutants movie will pick up sometime after this one!
While there are more comic book references to be found through a second viewing, the best part about Logan are the multiple source materials it draws from.