The original “Old Man Logan” run of Marvel comics is one of those speculative flights of fancy that couldn’t exist in the current cinematic climate: Iron Man and Captain America are long dead, victims of anti-hero sentiment decades ago; Ant-Man’s gargantuan corpse rots somewhere in Virginia; the Hulk has become the leader of a backwoods cult.
The 400-Word Review: Logan
By Sean Collier
March 5, 2017
Ignoring that all of the above-mentioned characters are owned by a different studio than 20th Century Fox’s long-running incarnation of Wolverine ... well, it’s a bit much, and it doesn’t sell many tie-in toys.
That said, Logan, the tenth chapter in the cinematic “X-Men” franchise, isn’t aimed at the younger set either. Taking a cue from Deadpool, this is a firmly adult chapter of the mutant saga, carrying a hard-earned “R” rating and dealing with themes — loss, death, desperation — at odds with even the bleaker moments in any of the major-studio superhero storylines.
Logan (Hugh Jackman, allegedly in his last turn with the character) is lying low in a world hostile to mutants. Working as a limo driver near the southern border, he’s caring for a rapidly deteriorating Professor Xavier (Patrick Stewart) somewhere in northern Mexico. For the first time in decades, though, there’s immediate trouble on the horizon — a young girl with some uncanny abilities (Dafne Keen) has turned up, and the people responsible would very much like to track her down.
So begins a desperate road trip, in one of the only thematic ties to the “Old Man Logan” series; other than an aging Wolverine, a dusty aesthetic and the need to cross great distances, the film doesn’t have much resemblance to the source material.
And that’s for the best.
Because while “Old Man Logan” has a certain asynchronous, madcap charm, Logan ranks among the best superhero films ever made. Jackman and Stewart are eager to say as much as possible in their final at-bat, meditating on life, meaning and anger, while director James Mangold sets out to make a film that is less comic-book adventure and more western epic.
Perhaps it is a vision of what could be done with iconic superhero characters when finality is a possibility; set well in the future and with the promise of no further (timeline-wise, anyway) appearances for its main characters, Logan needs not concern itself with continued branding. It is a film that stands alone — and stands taller for doing so.
My Rating: 9/10
Sean Collier is the Associate Editor of Pittsburgh Magazine and a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association. Read more from Sean at pittsburghmagazine.com/afterdark