As the superhero genre enters middle age, we’re seeing more films break out of the mold of the standard origin/call to duty/existential threat storyline. “Guardians of the Galaxy” and “Deadpool” explored the comedy end of things. “Logan” goes the other way -- an uncompromisingly grim, sad and angry drama.
I heard one person describe it as the “Unforgiven” of Marvel Comics movies, and that wraps it up neater than I ever could.
Very loosely based on the “Old Man Logan” limited comics series, “Logan” is set a few years down the road in a dystopian future where nearly all the super-heroes (and villains) have been exterminated by a tyrannical government. Wolverine himself (Hugh Jackman) is a wreck: his fantastical healing power has withered, he walks with a limp and is racked by coughing. But he still has those freaky metal claws and a skeleton of unbreakable metal.
He’s staying incognito as a limo driver, earning money so he can buy a boat and put to sea, permanently. Logan is acting as protector/imprisoner of his old mentor, Professor X (Patrick Stewart), now in his 90s and suffering from dementia that causes him to go into fits – bad news for others when you’re talking about the world’s most powerful telepath. Puttering around as the help is Caliban (Stephen Merchant), an old enemy turned ally.
The threat is familiar: Mad scientists are experimenting with a new generation of mutants so they can harness their powers to do nefarious bidding. Laura (Dafne Keen), a mute young girl with abilities very similar to Logan’s, turns up to join their not-so-merry little band, which is soon being chased by mercenaries and… something else.
Once again, Logan acts as if he just wants to be left alone. But he’s constantly compelled to put others’ needs before his own.
Director/co-writer James Mangold gives us a relentlessly tragic film in which mankind has lost touch with its humanity, and the would-be savior is a self-hating fellow who slices people up with his claws. It was always an odd fit, trying to sandwich Wolverine into comics for preteens and PG-13 movies. Finally, the gore matches the character’s feral ferocity.
They needed three tries, but they finally got a Wolverine movie right – just in time to bring his grim saga to a close.
The most interesting Blu-ray bonus feature is “Logan Noir” -- an entirely black-and-white version of the movie. It also comes with a feature-length audio commentary track by Mangold, deleted scenes with optional commentary by Mangold, and a making-of documentary.