Despite my many issues with the franchise, I consider myself a fan of the X-Men movies. Sure, X-Men: Apocalypse was a bit of a let down, and the two earlier Wolverine movies were a lot of a let down. And there was the original third movie of the first trilogy that most of us would rather not speak of. But, in all, the franchise has delivered some stellar entries as well.
In fact, it can be argued that if not for the X-Men series, we wouldn’t have the slate of superhero movies that we currently enjoy.
Despite this, it is Logan that feels like the definitive X-Men experience.
The strength of the best X-Men stories have always been hinged on an introspective tone of society’s view of those rendered outsiders—something lightly explored in X2 and First Class, but brought to a scalding boil in Logan.
James Mangold spends the first act of the movie placing the ex-Wolverine smack in the middle of society in a way that he has never been, highlighting exactly how much of an outsider he really is. With the care-taking of a near senile Charles Xavier in his hands, and the extinction of all other known mutants, the facade of being an island is brought to a harsh and abrupt end when Logan is faced with the truth that he is far from being one of a kind.
With its light use of cast, Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, and Stephen Merchant (as Caliban) easily carry the bleak future of mutantkind while maintaining a desert-dry level of humour that makes the movie enjoyable despite the serious tone.
It is Dafne Keen, however, as Laura Kinney/X-23, that steals the show with a raw ferocity and brutality that is… actually kinda disturbing. If anyone ever thought that Kick-Ass was pushing the envelope with Chloe Moretz’s Hit-Girl, they’re about to be given a very M18 awakening.
Special mention has to be made of Boyd Holbrook’s Donald Pierce—the only X-Men movie villain outside of Magneto to singularly pose a believable threat without resorting to the bells and whistles of Barakapool or the Silver Samutron, or by wielding the mighty ability of putting the audience to sleep a la Apocalypse.
The main takeaway from Logan, however, has to be the significant improvement in the quality of the final product when the studio basically backs down and allows the creative team to do what what they set out to do. Given that this was essentially the same group of people behind 2013’s The Wolverine, the drastic difference can only be attributed to their creative freedom.
Guess Wolverine owes Deadpool one.
And till the next one comes along, au revoir to the men we have long known as Charles Xavier and Logan.
Logan makes his way to cinemas on March 2nd.
Feel the Hurt.