Before I get started, let’s get the requisite warning out-of-the-way. THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS! If you don’t want to read them, then skip this article until you see the movie. To be honest, I’m probably not a good writer of reviews, so feel free to skip it even after you’ve seen it.
I’m actually not sure how to feel about the movie. At best, it’s a mixed bag. As superhero flicks go, I’m pretty easy to please. I look forward to getting lost in the world of heroes and villains. Even in some of the worst of the genre, I can usually find a scene or two to geek out on. With Logan, I (kind of) looked forward to finally seeing a Wolverine unimpeded by the PG-13 marking most in the genre get. But I was disappointed.
Perhaps my tastes have changed. I don’t know. There was something about the comics that I remember that were able to show his ferocity and rage without the gratuitous dismemberment and gore that were pictured in the movie. There was a way to show his rebellion and hardness of heart without a “F-word” regularly interspersed within the dialogue. Frankly, it felt like pandering in the movie. It was as if the only way the director could distinguish between this version of Logan and previous movie versions, was to make his language and actions as brutal as possible. Apparently brutal includes lots of heads skewered by claws.
I’ve got to say, the ferocity and wanton bloodshed poured out by X-23, in “berserker mode”, made me uncomfortable. That was probably the point, but it didn’t make it any easier to see this young child, who wouldn’t be old enough to see this movie, tearing flesh and limbs apart. It truly was hard to watch, and even if that was the point, I hope no one watched those scenes disassociated from that concern.
On top of all that, throughout all these movies, Wolverine never seemed to be the “best at what he does”. It always seemed as if someone was a more skilled fighter than him, or if there was a similar character, a better “wolverine” than him. Mystique, Sabertooth, Lady Deathstrike, and now X-23. (and of course, his clone)
But beyond the action, the story for me lacked substance. At least in the previous Wolverine movie, you were given some back story to some of the relationships. For example, you could grasp how torn he was over the death of Jean Grey. There was more emotional struggle within Silver Samurai’s family then I saw in this whole movie. Maybe if the director had revisited Logan’s past regarding his experimentations, it might have made for a more poignant connection between him and his “daughter” X-23. I just didn’t sense anything deeper then two people on a cross-country trip.
The cantankerous relationship between Xavier and Logan, seemed forced to me. Thanks to the wonders of age and the “R” rating, we get a foul-mouth professor well past his best years, who cares enough to want to help this young stranger, but has no regard, and certainly no need for his telepathic ability, to know that this family that opened up their home to them, is now in severe danger because of their connection. But hey, it’s worth a good meal and a real bed for a night, right? We don’t even find out what happened to the professor. There seems to be this mysterious event that wiped out his mutant brethren and put them on this road to go into hiding, which is somehow his fault? Instead he dies and we are left wondering about all these things, and his selfish actions drag this innocent family to death with him. This is uncharacteristic for Xavier. It just doesn’t make a bit of sense. Personally, I think it would have made for a better scene that this family would have been spared slaughter by Logan’s actions, almost as a penance to all the death and destruction that he has left in his wake in the past.
By the time we get to the final showdown, Logan takes a drug that lets us get a glimpse of him as his former self at full strength. Though bloody, I found these to be some of the best action sequences. For the most part they were not all as intensely bloody as some of the other scenes, and we finally saw a Logan who we wished we’d seen in so many movies. It’s too bad the serum wore off so quickly. I’m not actually sure why it wore off though.
Then he died. I say this as simply and straightforwardly as possible, because it held no more emotional depth for me in this scene as when William Shatner killed off Kirk. I was sad to see the character pass on, but felt his death carried no weight. It seemed it’s only purposes were to let this particular version of this character finally be put to rest, and show us that X-23 actually had some feelings for him.
You’ve probably noticed that I mentioned none of the villains in this movie. Well, that’s because they were completely forgettable. Nothing about them was interesting, and frankly it was a waste of talent for some of the actors.
Over the years, Hugh Jackman grew on me as Wolverine. I was happy to see him in the role. I think he suffered from bad scripts and poor direction. The hope is that Fox will now follow Sony and make any future x-movies a joint venture. Restart the franchise and let Marvel come in and write a comic book movie, and not a movie based on a comic book. Let them create an arc worthy of these merry band of mutants. The Captain America trilogy are some of the best examples of this, despite some of their own flaws. Guardians of the Galaxy is a movie that makes me think they can do a true “Phoenix saga.” If Marvel can make an Ant-Man movie, they can do justice to the original core of X-Men and maybe let Logan rest peacefully for a bit.
I know I’m alone on the island here, but there are simply my thoughts as I reflect back on this film.