Back in 2000, Bryan Singer gave cinematic life to the X-Men. Singer wasn’t a comic book fan, rather he was interested in the subjects of prejudice and discrimination that X-Men offered. Singer’s strange new ensemble of superheroes hit the mark with cinema audiences and ended up in the top ten films for 2000, and one could say, paved the way for a million more Marvel films to follow…
The combination of an original story, great special effects and amazing action set X-Men up to be a stellar franchise. And whilst commercially the X-Men franchise continued to bring in the money, they seemed to loose focus, or there was something missing from them. It was hard to say what the X-Men was lacking in until The Dark Knight came out in 2008 and though it’s dark tones threatened to turn away from the family friendly money making demographic, the Bat managed to rake in over one billion dollars world wide, and proved that their was an eager audience for darker films.
But Fox seemed unwilling to let the beast out of the cage and a family friendly approach kept the adamantium claws of the rage filled killing machine known as Wolverine at bay, forcing one of X-Men’s most interesting characters to be kept on a very short leash.
But then Deadpool proved that a foul mouthed killing machine could actually make money and this combined with Hugh Jackman’s apparent willingness to take a pay cut to make his final outing as Wolverine an R-rated affair, meant that Fox gave the green light for a film we had been waiting 17 years for. A film where Logan, Weapon X, Wolverine or who ever you want to call him, could finally take the shackles off and let loose in a way that suited his characters rage filled heart.
And so we have Logan.
Now Logan isn’t quite the Wolverine film we were expecting. It pays heed to the age of the actors and is set in a time when mutants aren’t really a thing any more. Logan is looking after an ailing Professor X, making money by driving a limo and burying his sorrows in bottle after bottle making his first fight in Logan a bit of an off kilter eye opener for viewers as an almost impotent Logan can hardly get his claws out to fight a couple of wanna be gang bangers who are trying to steal his wheels.
But in essence, Logan isn’t really about Logan. It’s really about Laura, a young girl who some corporation has turned into a mutant powered weapon much the same as happened to Logan many years ago. She’s escaped the corporation but needs help to get to a rumoured sanctuary. And that help she thinks will come from Logan.
An unwilling Logan must face his fears and failures and draw every last ounce of strength from his poisoned body if he’s to help Laura.
Now old man Logan isn’t the only surprise in this film, the sheer amount of full on bloody violence is a shock to the system for a Marvel film. But the kind of shock that just feels right. Seeing Logan’s claws literally go right through someone’s head filled me with a giddy sense of excitement. Blood splatters were everywhere. This was the Logan I had been waiting for. This was the way Logan was always meant to be. Bloody, violent, the perfect weapon.
But it’s not just Logan who has the ability to rip people’s heads off. Laura is a far more efficient killing machine, although she isn’t tempered with the life skills that Logan carries around like a burden. Together they will have to learn from each other and work together if they are ever to reach the promised land.
But rather that deliver just an adrenaline fueled, blood soaked ride, Logan is also a beautifully filmed story with emotional depth, and one that seems to suggest a lot of agonizing went into making sure every scene, every shot looked perfect.
It is, undeniably the best X-Men film we will ever see.
Rating: R16 Graphic violence, offenisve language & cruelty.