It's dark, somber, morose, and left me dead inside. And I loved it.
First off, can I just say that so far 2017 has just been producing home run after home run for great movies? I mean, It's only the beginning of March, but outside of the obvious dreck that was 50 Shades Darker, I can count way more great movies than bad movies this year.
Anyway, Logan! So can we be honest and say that there are really only two or three good X-Men movies? I mean, I know that I already have the deck stacked against me when it comes to liking a superhero movie, but no one I've met has ever said to me that they were massive fans of the X-Men franchise. In fact, X-Men has always been one of those franchises that has a great allegory at its core with a cool concept, but has been let down by just mediocre execution. The 90's cartoon? Bored me. The games? Okay at best. The films? Well you either get the fairly good X-Men: First Class, or you get the abysmal and forgettable X-Men Origins: Wolverine. But there's never been anything that sold me that the franchise and concept could be truly something special.
It was with that mindset that I sat down to watch Logan, already aware of the damned good trailers advertising this movie. Whenever you get Johnny Cash's "Hurt" for a trailer, you know that the movie is going to be an experience. And lo and behold, we have not only a great swan song for Hugh Jackman's Wolverine and Patrick Stewart's Professor X, but we have most likely one of the best movies of the year.
Now normally I would go into a plot summary about the movie, but I'm opting out of it this time because the plot really just boils down to an escort mission. Logan needs to get a girl from Mexico to North Dakota while being hunted by military goons and scientists. It's so simple that I've joked, and righteously so, that this is really just a film adaptation of The Last of Us. A cruel and unfair world where the main character needs to get a girl to a specific location while meeting some fairly hostile people and a few allies? Just give Joel some claws and you'd pretty much have The Last of Us.
I don't mean that as a bad thing though, because unlike nearly every other superhero blockbuster on the market, there's one huge factor that differs this from any other big action movie; genuine character development. A majority of the movie is spent just watching Logan, Professor X (who is suffering from Alzheimers), and a quiet girl that's actually X-23 (yes I know her name is Laura, but when the trailer goes to show off her claws and fighting abilities, I'll call her by her superhero name to spread awareness of the character, thank you very much) just drive together. We see them go to convenience stores, a casino, a lake, all of the places that you'd expect them to travel to.
Make no mistake though, this isn't a buddy-comedy, road trip kind of movie. This is a hard R rated movie for a reason. There's profuse cursing. There's incredibly gory decapitations. Hell, even though this doesn't necessarily apply to violence, there's a scene where Professor X just mentally breaks down at the fact that he can no longer truly control his powers, endangering both his friends and loved ones. This is a truly bleak movie. There's hardly any joy here, and the movie is gut wrenchingly effective at making you feel for Logan and what he's going through.
Wolverine was always a character that I think was a lot less cool than what people made him out to be. Yeah he's had some great stories, but outside of The Wolverine back in 2013, he never really had a chance to shine in the movie. He's a glorified cameo for most of the new X-Men movies, and the original trilogy had him in a featured role, but was usually just dragged out for a couple of cool action scenes. Admit it, you remember Wolverine because of his great action scenes moreso than the actual character, which is perfectly fine, but Logan gives the man both fantastic action scenes and a powerful and effective storyline.