It’s been 17 years since Hugh Jackman was cast as Wolverine for the first time. What has always enthralled fans about Wolverine is his kickass attitude and his ability to be immortal, almost; Wolverine has always been difficult to beat down because he can regenerate faster than anyone can destroy his living cells. As far as comics go, Wolverine has been alive since 1892 and has survived serious wars and personal trauma but what none of the other stories have explored is his vulnerability. ‘Old man Logan’ is a series of comics that features an older, beaten down Wolverine who has to undertake a tiring journey to save someone special. Logan the movie is loosely based on that theme and explores the humanity(vulnerability) in the otherwise god-like wolverine, who here is a broken, far older man who feels the weight of every wound inflicted upon him. His body doesn’t heal as fast as it did in his prime and he has lost everyone he ever cared about. The only motivation that stops him from putting an ‘Adamantium’ bullet in his brain is to keep the ailing professor Charles Xavier alive. Xavier’s present state is akin to Wolverine’s, he is suffering from Alzheimer’s and a rare degenerative brain disease but what ails him more is the guilt of accidentally killing 7 mutants when in ailing mind betrayed him. Both Xavier and Logan are broken, battered and hopeless for a better future in a world that has not seen the birth of a mutant in a quarter of a century. So, in short, the once mighty super-humans are at the end of the tunnel of life, surviving with pain each day with no hope of a sunny day, until a young mutant Laura’s path crosses theirs.
Though Logan is a studio movie, every frame of it echoes of “Indie Style”. The use of acoustic tracks, extremely realistic character drama and environment are a testament to the fact that James Mangold wanted Logan to be as distant as a movie can be from the ‘costumed super-hero movies’ that Fox, Marvel, and D.C churn out year after year. Logan is gritty, real and violent, It is a a swan song, an emotional farewell to one of the mightiest comic book super heroes. The central theme of Logan is not the unreal challenges that super heroes face but the real challenges that broken humans face in this world. Setbacks and mistakes have repercussions on human relations and that’s what is the central theme of the movie. It is not a superhero movie, its a triangular character drama on Logan, Laura and Charles Xavier. This shift of focus on the characters is what makes Logan so distinct from other big budget studio movies. But despite being grungy and depressing the movie has perfectly placed light moments that add another layer of realism to the already convincing drama. So, if the movie has the feels of an ‘Indie’ does it not have commercial appeal ?.
Surprisingly, Logan is one of those movies that don’t have a single dull moment, are truly Indie in feel but also have the expansive potential to mint money. The three acts of the movie are perfectly laden with powerful performances, encapsulating background score and feverish pace. The focus of the story is unwavering, the first act is centered around Logan – Xavier – Caliban, the second on Logan – Xavier – Laura and the final act solely on Logan-Laura. If you notice, at the end of each act, a powerful character dies, resulting in a dynamic shift in the character chemistry. The final act brings out the best performances out of Hugh Jackman( Logan) and Dafne Keen (Laura/X23 ) because the focus of the story is put completely on the two key characters, who apart from the physical journey also undertake an emotional journey from acceptance to sacrifice.
Although, Logan belongs to the X-Men franchise it can be viewed as a film that does not need the support of all previous movies. Logan can stand on its own and stand tall, which essentially means that someone can enjoy and understand the movie while being ignorant about the X-Men universe. Logan the movie opens the door for other such standalone adaptations of popular superhero characters which would have been impossible without the certain commercial success that Logan is going to achieve. Logan is a rare film that has the heart of an ‘Indie’ and the body of a crowd pleaser.
I did not watch the Dark Knight for the first time in a theater but after watching Logan, I know how it would have felt like. Logan is as perfect as a movie can be and its a perfect good bye to Hugh Jackman’s portrayal of The Wolverine. I hope no other actor tries to portray Wolverine in the near future because, especially, after Logan, it will be extremely emotional for the audiences to accept anyone else in that iconic yellow costume.
Logan is a lone wolf, he likes to be left alone.