Logan isn’t a superhero movie, it’s a real movie. Logan reflects realness, not in the way Fantastic Four tried to amplify it’s edginess to seem more mature, but by actually grounding itself in life and the rawness of the mundane. Unlike most superhero films, this is a film in which a man is stuck taking care of someone suffering from a degenerative brain disease, a movie where people forget to take their medicine, a film that tricks you into believing your favorite immortal anti-hero can die any second. Seriously, just on pure looks, Mangold makes an ageless mutant look old and damaged. He’s suffering from adamantium poisoning in his bones, the 200 years of smoking have finally caught up with him as he finds himself spitting the pitch-black waste he must expel from his worn out lungs and on top of that his wounds aren’t healing anymore leading him to resort to numbing the pain with cheap liquor.
Whether Logan was meant as a statement or not, Mangold has made one, one that’s directed towards the explicit safety-guard on which Disney builds their Marvel films upon. The films might be fun summer-blockbusters, but when was the last time one of those films left you feeling in a state of unease, unrest or made you think in retrospect to past experiences regarding grievance and taking care of your elders. Don’t look for an answer, because there isn’t one, this is the first emotionally resonant movie with a superhero in it since Unbreakable. That was 17 years ago, almost two decades of blockbusters that have allowed us to indulge in this sad, fake view of what film is supposed to promote. When you finish watching GOTG you’ll never find yourself introspectively looking back at past experiences the film might’ve triggered in you through emotional cords, you might talk about an epic fight scene that took place in the film but that’s the extent of it, it’s all purely entertainment and it doesn’t go anywhere beyond from there. On the other hand, Logan is a real film and Hugh Jackman plays a tortured human soul that just so happens to be a mutant.
Of course Logan has flaws, but it’s heartfelt statement cloaks them. Things seem to happen rather coincidentally, the nods to the film Shane are done in a very heavy-handed fashion and although I didn’t mind the slow, western-style pacing of the film, at two hours twenty the film does seem a bit long. But those minor flaws are made up for in Jackman’s human portrayal of Logan, not Wolverine, Mangold’s inclusion of a family dynamic between Laura, Logan, and Xavier, and the strong introduction of Laura played by an elegantly electric Dafne Keen. Keen’s only eleven yet she’s able to maul down hordes of reavers, remain childishly adorable, and forge an emotional bond with the aforementioned family that’s developed in this film. He might’ve not excelled during his first batting with the character of Wolverine, but Mangold does here and the reason being is because when he was handled The Wolverine he was handed a superhero film where he had to fit in as director, here’s he given a film he can direct.
Logan is a beautiful conclusion to a story seventeen years in the making. It brings a beautifully poignant finality to a character Hugh Jackman has breathed life into for almost two decades. But in doing so, it also gives a glimpse of the future in Laura, it rekindles hope for this devastating mutant-rid world, much like the “Seize Fire” scene did in Children of Men. Laura is that baby for the X-men franchise, she represents a new step in a new direction that glorifies the humanization of larger than life characters and favors true films over superhero films that seem to be tethered to the limitations of their genre.