Let me start by getting this out of the way: I am TOTALLY using Logan Noir (a black & white version of the film) as a loophole to dig into Logan a second time.
After seventeen years of mostly great X-Men movies, and two absolutely awful* (Zac likes The Wolverine!) solo movies, Hugh Jackman gives his final performance as Wolverine. A performance that cements him as the best cast comic book character to date, and that fits the tone of the movie perfectly.
Logan drops us into the year 2029 with mutants on the brink of extinction. We see a defeated, weakened Logan resigned to working as a chauffeur, in order to care for an unwell Professor Xavier, with some help from Caliban (Stephen Merchant), in an isolated spot somewhere in Texas. However, trouble never leaves Logan alone for too long, and certain events lead up to tasking Logan with escorting a girl named Laura (Dafne Keen) to safety while eluding The Reavers; a group of mercenaries lead by Donald Pierce (Boyd Holbrook) who are hell bent on capturing her.
As I said earlier, Hugh Jackman is at his finest here. Logan is the first movie that really made me feel the weight of the character’s long, painful, life and that’s mainly because of Jackman pulling out all the stops. Wolverine is one of the most tragic comic book characters ever conceived and that is conveyed very well in Logan. I think that this is the best send-off we could have could’ve hoped for, but it’s bittersweet knowing that we’ll probably never see another X-Men movie of this caliber again.
Dafne Keen is fantastic as Laura. While she doesn’t have as many lines as Jackman, she sells her character almost as well through her body language. I really hope Keen shows up in more movies, because she has some serious acting talent. In addition to an amazing finale for Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine, Patrick Stewart also elevates his role to new heights in his last run as Xavier. Seeing one of the most powerful characters in the X-lore in such a sorry state is just heartbreaking and Stewart absolutely nails it. Some of Logan’s best scenes are the father-son moments between Xavier and Logan, which add even more to the bittersweet feeling of it all. Merchant is also great as Caliban, and Holbrook is pretty good as Pierce, but it’s Jackman, Keen and Stewart who make Logan’s acting the best of any superhero movie to date.
While Logan is classified as a superhero movie, it feels like a few different genres. The middle of it feels a lot like a Western (even more so with Logan Noir), and the action is also a little more spread out compared to other superhero flicks, but the build-up makes it feel almost like multiple slow burn thrillers.
Speaking of the action, oh boy is it brutal. I am so glad that Director James Mangold went for an R-rating, because this is the Logan I’ve wanted to see in the movies. Most superhero comics are fairly kid friendly, but Wolverine’s get bloody, and Logan isn’t shy about bringing the carnage either. While we did get some great superhero beatdowns from the other X-Men films, Logan easily surpasses them with the ingenuity of how the scenes are set up and play out.
As for Logan Noir, the black and white adds a bit more character to the already phenomenal film. Certain scenes feel even more crisp, especially with the ones in the casino, hotel, and the opening. The only gripe I have about Noir is that it obscures a few details, mostly during the action sequences.
Logan/Logan Noir isn’t just the best X-Men movie, it’s one of the best superhero movies ever made. The acting, characters, tone and action are all top of the line for superhero flicks, or any movie genre for that matter. Take note, Marvel and DC, this is how you perfect your craft.