“In the near future, a weary Logan (Hugh Jackman) cares for an ailing Professor X (Patrick Stewart) in a hideout on the Mexican border. But Logan’s attempts to hide from the world and his legacy are upended when a young mutant arrives, being pursued by dark forces. Experience the movie in its theatrical presentation or in a whole new way with Logan Noir, a black-and-white version of the film.”
Rarely is there an actor that has truly loved the character they’ve played more than Hugh Jackman. His dedication to Logan/Wolverine has spanned almost two decades, with some good movies, some bad movies, and some very bad movies (i.e. X-Men Origins: Wolverine). Throughout it all, he has championed for this character to get the type of film he deserved, and that fans desperately wanted. Logan is a culmination of those efforts which results in a bittersweet good-bye to the character as Jackman has made it clear this will be his last time unsheathing the claws. To see Logan in such a raw, visceral, Rated-R form for the first time and also the last time is disheartening, however, the film really does save the best for last in terms of the story-arc for Logan.
The direction that James Mangold went in for Logan was a big risk, but one that paid off as one of the more original and heartfelt stories told in the X-Men universe. Throughout all the films in the franchise, the character of Logan has always had difficulty connecting with people. As indestructible as he always was, he still would turn and run when people started to get close to him. Now, he is faced with the task of caring for an ailing Charles Xavier, who has always been a father figure to Logan, and now protecting a mysterious young girl who has abilities similar to his own. Through this story, Logan faces his inner demons, reluctant to see the man that Charles always knew he was.
The character of Logan has always been one of my favorites, based solely on his tragic journey. He’s very much tortured due to the things he has done in his past, and the death and destruction he brings to those he begins to care about. He lives a cursed life, watching people die all around him while he himself cannot. When we see the state he is in in Logan, it is exacerbated by alcohol and a deteriorated state in which he cannot heal as well as he used to. It is a much greater state he must overcome to find the hero in himself than we have ever seen, and that journey is full of heart and tragedy.
Logan is markedly smaller in terms of scale than any other film in the franchise. Instead of watching the Golden Gate Bridge float through the air, you’re only going to hear about large scale events being eluded to, which make the story much more interesting and a bold move on Mangold’s part not to include any information about the events that happened in Westchester save for the small radio broadcast revealing the deaths or paralyzing of 600 people. Instead, Mangold focuses on the consequences to those events, and how it has impacted the lives of Charles and Logan, both of whom are broken men and shells of their former selves. This direction and method of storytelling is extremely effective in pulling the audience in, making it all about character.
Jackman and Stewart both give amazing performances, arguably the best of their careers. Both men have suffered terrible tragedy and loss, with each actor bringing an entirely different approach. Through it all, the father/son dynamic between the two is heartwarming, showing that these two still have great chemistry together even after 17 years. Dafne Keen is phenomenal as a child actor who doesn’t have many lines of dialogue in the film, but can convey emotion with a simple look, quite impressive at such a young age. The antagonists in the film are well-written, and what easily could have been mundane and boring characters actually bring a lot to the film. Logan has always battled his inner self, which is also explored heavily in the latter half of the film.
Logan finally brings to life the character we’ve always wanted. Although it may focus more heavily on the man and not his persona (hence the title), we get to see him in action one last time. Logan is a perfect ending to one of the most iconic characters in the past 20 years.
This set includes both 4k and Blu-Ray versions of the film. The 4k is presented in 2160p Ultra HD Widescreen 2.39:1. The High Dynamic Range of the 4k disc ensures one of the best qualities of the film you’ll see, displaying rich, life-like colors. One of the more interesting choices for the film is the slight muted tone it has, giving it a very dry and dusty feel, much like a post-apocalyptic world. Although this was not intentional according to the director, it still gives it an interesting nuance that gives it an entirely new layer.
Also included in this set is the Logan Noir version, which is also presented in 4k and Blu-Ray. The only difference is that it is converted to black and white, which gives the film a very interesting look and highlights different aspects of each scene, sometimes changing the tone drastically. Often what you’ll pay attention to the most is the scars on Logan’s body, or weathered skin of Charles’ face, which stylistically may be more appealing to some, but sometimes detracts from the intended tone of the scene (see below).
The Blu-Ray versions of both films are presented in 1080p High Definition Widescreen 2.39:1.
The audio is presented in Dolby Atmos on the 4k disc, which sounds incredible. For the most part, being mostly character driven, the majority of the sound will be coming out of the center channel in the form of dialogue. During the intense fight scenes, however, the sound is really ramped up and utilizes the surrounds beautifully. Levels are good all around, complete with a wonderful score that intensifies the heartfelt moments of the film.
On the Blu-Ray disc, the audio is presented in DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1.
This set is packed with extras. On this set you’re going to see:
- Making Logan
- Deleted Scenes with Optional Audio Commentary by Director James Mangold
- Audio Commentary by Director James Mangold
At an hour and sixteen minute running time, the Making Logan featurette is one of the more in depth featurettes I’ve seen in quite a long time. Setting itself apart from the rest of the X-Men films of the franchise in terms of scope, it is fascinating learning the passion behind bringing this story to the screen, and finally giving us a Rated-R Wolverine film. The entire cast and crew give some great information and moving stories about filming the last Wolverine film.
The audio commentary also gives some great information on specific scenes. Mangold talks mainly about the craft of filming specific scenes, but has some interesting anecdotes and memories about the filming process. I would have liked to hear Hugh Jackman and/or Patrick Stewart on the track as well, since this most likely will be the last time they play these characters, hearing their thoughts would have made the commentary all the more special.
As I mentioned earlier, this set also contains the Logan Noir version of the film on both 4k and Blu-Ray. Although there are some interesting elements that are brought forward when transitioning this film to black and white, I actually prefer the theatrical version. The problem I have with calling it noir is that it doesn’t share any of the same elements with the traditional noir film. Stylistically, it shares more in common with a western, or a road film, neither of which contain mysteries to be solved or femme fetales. Regardless, it is interesting to revisit the film in black and white to compare the tones, and the differences that color can make in how you view the film.
Logan is the perfect way to say good-bye to the character. Unfortunately, seeing how well this character has finally been handled in giving them the freedom to explore darker themes definitely leaves you wanting more. Logan proves that character driven stories like this, especially for comic book characters, can work and work extremely well.