Everybody can pack up their stuff and go home. Comic book movies have officially peaked with Logan (137 minutes). This one is the benchmark, the film all other comic books are going to be measured by for years to come. Finally, a Wolverine movie that doesn’t suck out loud. I managed to avoid crying, though I admit I had to work for it.
So, thank you Deadpool, for demonstrating that R rated comic book movies are box office gold. Thank you, James Mangold — the second Wolverine movie sucked only slightly less than the first Wolverine movie, but I realize you had to practice with Wolverine before you could make him awesome. Thank you, Hugh Jackman, because after 17 years with the character you went out on a high note (not that I believe you’re never going to play Wolverine again). Thank you, classically trained Shakespearean actor Patrick Stewart for never thinking you were too good for the X-Men when you were so clearly born to play the role of Professor X. Thank you Simon Kinberg, for wiping X-Men: The Last Stand out of the continuity in X-Men: Days of Future Past.
There is only one glaring flaw, and I admit I loved Logan so much I didn’t see it. I like to think I would have eventually realized it when I sat down to write the review, but my husband got there first. Spoiler, by the way. Seriously. I mean it — this might ruin your enjoyment of the film. I am drawing this out, because I read so fast that I usually read the spoiler that follows the spoiler alert even when I don’t want to. Here it is. X-23 (Dafne Keen) is a clone of Logan, created by The Essex Corporation (Mr. Sinister!) using the sample of Wolverine’s blood obtained in the post-credits sequence of Age of Apocalypse. My husband proposed that, since her skeleton was coated with adamantium, when she hit her next growth spurt she was going to be an immovable force fighting against the adamantium’s unbreakable object. My theory? The scientists in charge left most of her skeleton free of the metal so she can still grow (as was explained in the source material), but since her hands and feet are both coated (areas of the body dense with joints), her continued growth is problematic. See kids — there is no comic book movie so realistically grounded that science can’t ruin. Science!
If you skipped ahead once you read the Spoiler Alert, you might want to put the review down now. I can afford to burn words identifying minor plot holes because I don’t want to reveal too much of the plot — sometime it doesn’t matter, but watching Logan will be a purer, more visceral experience if you don’t know what you’re in for. If you’re already spoiled — then you know Professor X isn’t doing so well. And when the most powerful mutant mind on the planet develops a brain disorder what do you do with him? Logan locks him up in a collapsed water tower and medicates the snot out of him. How is that not textbook elder abuse?
This is crucial. I have been reading comics since I was six (my first comic was Uncanny X-Men 233) and studying sociology for the last 24 years or so, and it never occurred to me to ask what you do with mutants suffering from degenerative diseases that affect their ability to control their powers. Alzheimer’s, for instance, is not a mere fading away into past memories. It involves periods of rage. And we know in both the comics and film franchise, Professor X has more than a little bit of repressed anger, in addition to being a world class jerk at least 70 percent of the time. Hint: physical restraints and medication don’t offer a long-term solution to the problem, and every time Wolver-George and Professor Lenny got started on that boat they plan to buy I had visions of Charles Xavier going to that rabbit farm.
By and large, the X-Universe is a brilliant place to hang out these days. Logan was frankly amazing, and Legion manages to consistently surpass the MCU television tie-ins (Yes. Even AKA Jessica Jones). I can’t wait for X-Men to tackle the Dark Phoenix saga again.
Now playing at Patriot 14 + IMAX.