It’s nice to see that Twentieth Century Fox has the balls and creative integrity to do what Disney’s Marvel isn’t capable of doing – taking risks. And hot shit are those risks paying off! This is not only the Wolverine film that all of us have been hoping for since the very beginning of seeing this character, but also the superhero film that so many of us have been waiting for. And as I said, it was Twentieth Century Fox who brought it to us. The studio didn’t seem to believe this film nor the one whose sequel was teased in the beginning would even find a fanbase, but find it they did. Perhaps the fat cat suits in Hollywood can actually realize that making a superhero film that isn’t for kids can be profitable. Perhaps we can get to see some of our favorite dark superheroes brought to light. Netflix is doing a pretty good job working with this. Their Punisher is pretty badass. This is a fantastic movie. Let’s talk about it.
Anyone in my audience who actually wants to see this film already has. I realize that since my reviews are always late, I am going to start trying to find an angle to talk about which everyone else hasn’t. So no plot recap. It’s an adaptation of the Old Man Logan storyline, where we get to meet an equally-badass character – X-23. A tragic tale of the death of two of the greatest mutants to ever live, along with the introduction that hopefully isn’t wasted.
The glue that holds this movie together is the performances. Hugh Jackman definitely steals the show as an aging Logan. His powers are starting to fail him, and his age has finally caught up with him. A lost soldier, he’s not looking for a spot to live. He’s looking for a place to die. But over the course of the film he comes to realize that he has one last chance to truly feel what it’s like to be alive. A lot of comparisons have been made between this film and the incredible game The Last of Us, and I can kind of see that. Jackman makes a pretty good Joel of the film, equally as gruff and equally tired of being alive. And just like Joel, he meets a companion who makes him want to live again. Only difference is how it all ends, and the level of dark implications for both characters. Logan gets his redemption in the end. Joel does not, but that is part of why the narrative works.
Next up with have Patrick Stewart. Part of me likes the dark implications with this character. There is some backstory to what happened to him that you never fully understand. He’s done something horrible, and just like Logan, his powers are failing him. Two of the last mutants on Earth, both of them are equally lost. As his mind is slowly faltering, he goes from a mutant who doesn’t care about anything, to getting to enjoy one last adventure with the only friend he has left. Stewart plays the old man with nowhere left to go very well. You believe the chemistry between him and Logan. He simultaneously hates and depends on his angry companion, and the juxtaposition does not escape his notice.
Of course, the character everyone is talking about is X-23. This girl brought the character to life incredibly well. This could so easily have been botched, as so many child actors just suck, but this girl brought her a-game to the table and it shows. Just like Joel and Ellie in the game that everyone says this story is ripping off, the bond that grows between these two is believable. They do take moments to address the reality that both of them are becoming killers and there is no going back.
Something else I want to talk about is the language in this movie. As I said, I am loving the fact that we have comic movies with the balls to go this far, but part of me can’t help but early on was just so forced. Some of the times that they would be laying down the word fuck liberally just felt so middle school. I like hearing Professor X swear, but don’t make me think that it was put in there just because. Fuck is a great word, but use it when you mean it.
Another thing is the carnage. Everyone who reviewed this movie said that it was grotesque and violent, hard-R, I was told. It’s violent, but don’t be fooled. This isn’t Robocop levels of grotesque. It has blood and gore, but still plays it safe. That being said, while they may not always embrace how vicious it can be, the kills still felt visceral. When you have Logan tearing people apart, you actually feel like that would hurt. This film knew that it could take risks but only to a point. I mean, if it really stuck to how disgusting Logan’s murder sprees would be, people would call it gore porn. The creators of the film wisely chose to make emphasis on the killing to make it feel personal. And when you watch X-23 on top of a gut tearing him open, you can tell that that would be scary as fuck to witness.
All things considered, this was a ballsy, very intense superhero film. The most I have seen since The Dark Knight. It took risks that no film of its genre would dare doing, and I am so desperately hoping it won’t be the last. Disney’s Marvel will never have the guts. Not unless they pawn it off on some lesser Disney studio so if it sucks they can give the blame there. That’s what they did with Princess Mononoke. See, Disney owned the rights to Studio Ghibli films, but Miyazaki outright refused to make any cuts to the violence in his magnum opus. The film was a huge hit in Japan and Disney wanted a piece of that pie. So rather than fight with Miyazaki when he sent a katana to the head of Disney at the time with a note attached saying “no cuts,” they pawned it off to a studio that they owned but was far away enough from Disney to be able to distribute it without them looking bad. A clever tactic. And it worked. I am hoping that some film creators come to them after Infinity War, when the MCU will be toning down and sputtering away, and wants to look at some of the more violent superheros in the library and give them a fair shake. Take a note form how big a success this movie and Deadpool have been, Disney. You can do this. The reward will come in ten-fold. Not to mention, both of the movies that have taken this approach have made the most of having a smaller budget. The limited resources not only meant that they had to be more clever in making them, but also that they could much more easily recoup their budget. Deadpool and Logan have been massive financial successes. Hint-hint!
This was a phenomenal movie. It’s sad to see Logan go, but the X-Men brand has gotten kind of stale anyway. But please, for the love of Groj, do NOT let the next film with X-23 be some watered-down version of this character! She’s a violent killing machine. Respect that.
9 out of 10