“So, this is what it feels like.”
– Logan, The Wolverine
“Wow.” I said as the credits rolled on one of the best movies I’d seen in a long time.
“Oh damn!” I said within the first five minutes of the first scene in one of the best movies I’d seen in a long time.
You can imagine what was I was thinking in between.
“Logan” is not your typical super hero movie, or your typical movie in general. Indeed, it takes so many twists and turns that you often forget that this is a movie about super heroes, about mutants. You forget that this is freakin Wolverine. It’s not that the movie loses focus, but it instead shows you a perspective that sometimes is missing in these movies: how very human they really are.
Assuming you didn’t read the Old Man Logan comics, for the first time, you really see Logan show his age. It’s very powerful to see someone that you’re used to seeing so vibrant, full of energy and fury going through something as simple as his body failing. It’s like watching a loved one grow old, someone you remember being so vigorous in their youth succumbing to the trappings of time. Everything from his slight limp to the gray in his beard reminds us that even our mightiest heroes can’t fight time. Though, you could’ve never conceived it happening to someone whose super power is to auto heal.
You almost feel like you’re struggling with him. You sit there and watch him as he fights his hardest to protect everyone but can’t unlock the same fury that he used to. As he gets beaten down, you see how much it infuriates him that he can’t do what he used to be able to do. You truly feel powerless with him as his body begins to fail faster the harder he pushes himself, like he’s fighting quicksand. Suddenly, someone who thought he would always be immortal, isn’t. It’s almost as traumatizing to us as it might’ve been to him. We’re used to seeing our heroes on screen being able to brush off any wound, take on any enemy, and win in the end. Here, you get a story much closer to reality (yes, even with mutants…). You see what eventually becomes of our heroes and, by extension, all of us. Nothing sets that more in stone than the character of Charles Xavier.
We see the most powerful mutant in a form that we’ve never seen him in before. An old, sick man all too susceptible to the frailties of advanced age. Indeed, the unimaginable psychic might of Professor X has been brought down by his own limitations as a human being. No matter how strong his brain was, he couldn’t avoid the unfortunate conditions that come about when your body begins to fail, like dementia and seizures. This, coupled with his abilities, brought forth disaster wherever he went as he neared the end of his life. The trauma to himself and those around him was so bad that he had to be heavily medicated just to keep his mind from essentially committing accidental genocide. Seeing him back on screen in such a frail form really hit me to the core. I mean, this is Xavier we’re talking about. But even he, like Logan, couldn’t avoid Father Time.
But despite all this, these two are still heroes, no matter what condition they are in. And heroes never give up when it counts. While caring for the ailing Professor and neglecting his own downward spiral, a mysterious woman and girl enter Logan’s life. Over the course of a few days, time and time again we see our favorite characters at their noblest selves. Even at their weakest, we see them at their strongest. Xavier helped Logan rediscover his humanity and realize his purpose again. Logan fought his greatest battles and managed to save his progeny. No matter what happened to them, they never gave up the fight. They stood up to evil forces and, in the end, laid down to rest triumphant. With their legacy intact, they both closed their eyes and said their last goodnight.
Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart have publicly stated that this would be their last performances as Wolverine and Professor X. Which, while that definitely sucks for us fans out there, is completely understandable. With “Logan”, they paid an incredible tribute to these two characters and left a great legacy of films to entertain and inspire us for generations to come. From all of us nerds out there, we extend a big thank you for everything you did for us as these magnificent heroes.
Alright, I think I need to go watch it again…