The best X-Men movie ever

Review: Logan

(MA15+) Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Dafne Keen

With the danger of causing Ryan Reynolds’ pride to grow even more, Deadpool has to be given some credit for Logan being the Wolverine film that should have been made years ago.

Reynolds’ smart-mouthed superhero in the red leather suit paved the way for superheroes to have a more realistic representation of violence. Unfortunately, this makes them less accessible to the primary audience that continues to read comic books (Oops, sorry… graphic novels), but the production team of Deadpool did open the door to a new wave of superhero films. Regrettably, a higher violence level is usually partnered with excessive language and unnecessary nudity but, for anyone who has not frequented a comic-book shop lately, Logan is mild (compared with what you might find for sale on the shelves).

For fans of the X-men franchise, it is not a surprise that there are a bevy of different timelines to consider for Wolverine. Logan occurs in the not-too-distant future, a time when mutants have been hunted and virtually eradicated from the earth. Logan/Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) has been hiding out in Mexico with Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) and the clairvoyant albino Caliban (Stephen Merchant)Professor X is suffering from dementia and has become a potential threat to all of mankind. Logan is striving to keep him out of the hands of the legal authorities. While he and Caliban try to keep their patient healthy and medicated, Logan is struggling with his own health issues and must come to grips with his own mortality. Amid all of their aging and health strife, they are introduced to a young mutant who has similar abilities to Logan. Even though she is strong and capable, Laura (Dafne Keen) needs help getting to North Dakota before she is captured by the authorities. As they travel cross country, the grizzled hero begins to realise there are more connections between him and this miniature mutant.

Even though the X-men franchise has garnered billions of dollars worldwide and the Wolverine brand has helped make Hugh Jackman a mega-star, the bladed warrior up on the big screen has always seemed to fall short of his full potential. Due to the fact that Wolverine is a vicious character with exceptionally violent tendencies, he was always destined for a more mature storyline – something that he is finally given in Logan. Director James Mangold (The Wolverine) seems to relish in the freedoms given to him in developing the role of the clawed and flawed crusader. Not that all superhero films should go down this dark and violent path, but if any character was made for this mature treatment, it is Wolverine.

Jackman acts like a weight has been lifted off his alter ego and he is finally being allowed to portray the role as it should always have been played. This grisly and raw depiction of the X-men world is a refreshing and welcomed answer to the debacle of last year’s X-Men: Apocalypse.

The moral implications abound within this dystopian narrative, but the most disturbing is the use of children as weapons. The violence pushes all barriers of excess, especially since much of it involves children instigating and incurring much of the destructiveness. While this makes sense within the storyline, it can be difficult to stomach after multiple fight scenes.

What is important to understand is that more brutality and foul language do not make for a richer story; they merely complement and enhance a film’s tone. But there is depth to Logan’s storyline, as it goes beyond action and mutant antics. It takes into consideration family, life and even, God. The writing team provide the necessary layers to Logan’s personality that show the impact of years of a vicious existence, which manifests itself physically on his body and in his abrasive manner. These layers are compounded by the supporting cast, the back story of Laura’s existence and Professor X’s mental deterioration which are brilliantly interwoven into the script. Patrick Stewart proves to be masterful as the ailing genius and he even adds some of the most humorous moments. The superb writing and perfectly cast performances are complemented by well-crafted action and cinematography which have potentially brought about the best film in the X-men and Wolverine franchises. 

What are some of the bigger questions to consider from this film?

And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” – Revelation 21:5

Logan claims that his mutant abilities are a mistake of God. Even though his abilities are fictitious, he does ignite a discussion that has plagued mankind through the ages: Are the imperfections of the world a mistake of God, or is there something else to consider?

In studying the Bible, it can be understood that the God of the universe does not make mistakes. The issues of this fallen world can be linked back to sinful choices of mankind. Human disease and disabilities are part of this fallen world and God is not to blame, but he can provide the answers. The future that he offers in Revelation 21:5, removes the curse of sin and he will make all things new.

Russell Matthews works for City Bible Forum Sydney and is a film blogger




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