By JENSEN LIM LEONG
Logan, rated R, is the final film in the Wolverine trilogy and Hugh Jackman’s swansong to the role of 17 years. It is, supposedly, the final time Patrick Stewart will portray Professor X, as reported by Entertainment Weekly. James Mangold, who directed the second Wolverine movie The Wolverine, returns to direct the final film in the trilogy. Mangold follows his previous film with a very similar character-based plot.
The story takes place in 2029 where all the X-Men have died with a few exceptions; the remaining mutants have gone into hiding after The Manchester Event, the first time Professor X lost control of his powers. Logan is slowly being poisoned by his adamantium skeleton, and Charles Xavier has mental seizures that cause everyone in the area to become paralyzed. After a child, Laura, with powers similar to Logan appears, both Professor X and Logan are forced to come out of hiding to save the child from an agency who experiments on creating mutants.
Most of Logan’s plot takes the backstage to the great character moments and acting, and because of that the plot is by far the weakest part. Logan is needlessly slow paced; a good part of the film is devoted to driving which results in the most boring scenes in the whole film. In the second act of the film, Logan and the group visit a family and the whole act feels like a filler. While I understand that the family was used for character development of Logan and Professor X, it could have been handled a bit better. Instead of characters that they meet by some accident on the road by accident, there should be a little bit more logical progression. The film also decides to have two main villains, Pierce and Dr. Rice, when there only needed to be one, but this is probably done on purpose so that there is more of a focus on Logan and Charles. The movie has no problem acknowledging that its villains are more like obstacles than actual antagonists.
Dr. Rice and Pierce do feel like an actual treat for the audience compared to the main heroes, and they do bring some of the best choreographed fights in the series. To be fair, a lot of the action is helped by the R rating that the film waves in the face of the viewer. There is a lot of blood and detached limbs that would make anyone disturbed. The movie does dip into becoming needlessly “R” at some points but not to the point where it is distracting.
Both main characters get great moments that are highlighted very well by Jackman and Stewart’s performance. Even though 17 years of experience has made it so both could play the roles in their sleep, they both act better here than in any past X-Men film. Stewart and Jackman also have a natural chemistry that is just a blast to watch during both funny and serious scenes. Hearing Patrick Stewart cuss is a treat, and while it may sound weird coming out of his mouth, it is well-deserved because of all his character has been through. Although Logan has always experienced pain, the character of Charles Xavier has always been hopeful and seeing him deal with the loss of all control and almost all hope is new and fresh. However, that is not to say Jackman’s performance is not anything short of great. Logan is more vulnerable here than ever before, and that may be a problem for some. One of my friends who is a long-time Wolverine fan really wished there was one scene where he goes on a full rampage without any consequences; but, if you asked me, that’s Wolverine’s biggest problem. When characters are too strong, there is a lack of narrative stakes. It is the same reason many people used to find Superman a boring character- if there’s no risk then there is no reason to worry. It is his best performance of the character to date with two very touching, melancholy scenes which are hard to watch.
Logan is by far the best film of the Wolverine trilogy and the best acted out of any of Fox’s superhero movies. But, I do not think the film is even a superhero film. The color gradient, tone, cinematography and lack of CGI make it feel like a movie set in reality. It is not the first superhero movie to do this and odds are it will not be the last, but it is the first one to feel realistic since The Dark Knight. I think that is why it has received such praise compared to the two previous films in the trilogy. It is nowhere near perfect, but it is a film that much more people can enjoy.