Back in February, Twentieth Century Fox Film chairperson Stacey Snider spoke at a conference and admitted that the movie studio was initially nervous when it heard about the tonal shift in James Mangold's final Wolverine film (and last starring Hugh Jackman). To them, it sounded too intense, heavy and grim. "Isn't that freakin' boring?" she recalled them wondering.
But that's exactly what makes Logan the best film in the franchise.
A nuanced meditation on life and death, Logan first finds the clawed Canadian working as a limo driver, using his money to procure pills for an ailing Professor X (Patrick Stewart, also taking his character for one last spin) living with Caliban (Stephen Merchant) in a dilapidated industrial building near the Mexican border.
Set in the not-so distant future, mutants have been wiped out; the X-Men are no more. Only corporations have the ability to alter genetic material.
When Laura (Daphne Keen, in her first feature film), a 12-year-old girl with hidden powers, ends up with Logan after her caregiver is killed, all of their lives are thrown into danger. Soon, Logan discovers Laura isn't the only one of her kind, and an evil organization wants to keep that a secret — no matter the cost.
Sometimes subtle, often ultra-violent and with tons more cursing, Logan's greatest strength actually has to do with the titular character's greatest weakness: old age. With most of the movie's characters operating past their prime, their powers aren't quite what they used to be, but because of that, the action seems a lot more authentic: Wolverine's claws no longer appear in a uniform way, and it takes longer for him to heal; Professor X can't read minds like he used to; and Caliban can't seem to do much of anything right, giving the consistently heavy movie a much-needed comedic foil. That means there's a lot less flying around and special effects, a welcome change in a world where most people believe that the recent Avengers movie was a work of art.
So, while it's sad to see Wolverine go, Logan both offers hope for the future of the X-Men cinematic universe and, like Deadpool did last year with wry, self-aware humour, proves that it's okay for a comic book movie to be quiet and contemplative at times. (Fox)