I walked out of Logan, after wiping away a few tears, feeling refreshed that what I just saw refused to be another generic superhero action movie. Isn’t it great that we can have a superhero movie that doesn’t fall into the Marvel treatment, or other studio’s desire to emulate it? (DC doesn’t even deserve a hyperlink). James Mangold has no-questions-asked directed a modern genre classic that deserves all the praise it’s receiving. With that said, here are five spoilerific reasons Logan is better than any of superhero movie made in the last six years.
If you didn’t get the message…SPOILERS FOR LOGAN AHEAD
5. Its ability to make you say, “Fuck, right in the feels man”
Logan: So… This is what it feels like…
Logan’s death scene hit me so damn hard. This is a character I grew up loving — Hugh Jackman’s been getting ripped for this role for 17 years! — so seeing him die sucked majorly. Logan went into the film’s final fight knowing he was going to lose, he knew it was over for him… but he also knew it wasn’t over for his clone/daughter. Laura’s desperate cries to hang on to her father emotionally crippled me as I sat in the theatre. I haven’t felt like this since Andy found Woody in the bottom of Bonnie’s toy box.
4. Are we in the Batcave? ‘Cause I hear echoes of The Dark Knight
While this comparison is becoming tired, there is some merit to it. The Dark Knight set the bar pretty damn high but Logan gets close. There is the same amount of care and passion for the character present and the director in both focused on making a movie rather than a universe. I think the comparison is being made because superhero movies have dipped so far in quality and fell into a generic mould, so when one comes along that isn’t bad or in that marvel mould the closest comparison we have is Nolan’s The Dark Knight.
3. Oh holy shit, it actually tells a simple story
Logan has a beginning, middle and end. There’s no universe building. No bogus YouTube promos of future franchises. There isn’t that scene that doesn’t make sense in the context of the film, but will make sense three sequels later. Logan is a rarity because of it’s simple desire to a single, contained story without building into some kind of extended cinematic universe (the X-Men is franchise that’s notoriously BAD for this, which makes Logan all more astounding for doing the opposite). This movie tells the story of Logan and that’s it. In fact, it even goes so far as to purposefully not tell you things for the sake of being straight-forward (…what happened in Westchester stays in Westchester). The movie ends with a sense of finality that’s missing from comic book movies today. Well, I say this but I’m fairly certain you can hear a single heartbeat when the camera zooms in on Logan’s grave… So the studio might not be done just yet.
2. I can’t believe it… characters with superpowers were believable
It’s rare for a superhero movie to have characters that make sense in their own confusing universes, let alone have any that feel like real people. Logan in the film is portrayed as an aging, broken down man with no hope, but it never feels contrived. At no point, did I think, “Wow Hugh Jackman is kinda hamming it up. Oh woe is him!” The character’s battered spirit and body (thanks to excellent acting and screen writing) felt authentic and grounded. The same is true of the other major character, Charles Xavier. I really believed it as I watched the once great professor of gifted children fall victim to the all too real perils of old age and mental degeneration. Patrick Stewart and Hugh Jackman had impeccable father-son chemistry that not only elevated the quality of the movie but brought the bond between two long-standing actors to two long-standing characters.
1. Pop those claws, for the action
Well, there’s no other way of putting it, Logan straight up fucks people up in this movie, and it’s glorious. For the first time in an X-Men movie we see the actual cutting damage those adamantium claws can inflict rather than the knock down power they possess in the franchise’s PG outings. The violence in the movie while entertaining, also serves to further the realism, and the action is elevated because of it. When Logan goes up against his foes, rather than feel cartoonish and comical, it feels vicious, raw, and powerful. The action in Logan bears the same dramatic weight as a confession, each punch is punishing, and each scene exists for a reason beyond spectacle.