Let’s cut to the chase about what you need to know before going to watch Logan in theaters. First, leave the kids at home. Second, bring some tissues. Third, prepare for the end of an era.
From the very first scene of Logan, we are shown immediately this is not your average PG-13 superhero movie, that you can take the whole family to watch. In many ways, this film is far less a superhero movie, and more like a gritty 1970’s neo-noir action thriller, with some Western genre influences. Especially in the tone, the rougher color tint and even the style of cinematography and editing, which reflects those above mentioned genres.
As previously stated, Logan does not hold back when showing the damage an unleashed Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) can do with his adamantium claws. The violence is raw and brutal, but necessary in a film like this one. That is because age and the demons of the past have finally caught up with Wolverine. In fact, it can be argued that Wolverine has always been an R-rated character forced to play by the rules of the PG-13, social crusading X-Men. Now Wolverine no longer has those restraints. This is because he is nearly alone, except for being the caretaker of Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart), who tragically is also wizened and struggles to contain his powerful, psychic mind.
Both Jackman and Stewart bring their absolute best to Logan, which (spoiler alert) is fitting as this is their last film in the X-Men movie franchise. Jackman is visibly tormented by everything he has experienced, and you can see the struggle he has against his own body. Stewart brilliantly portrays an old man, who despite everything, refuses to give up and give in, because he knows Wolverine still needs him as a moral compass. That his job as a mentor to the X-Men is still not over.
Dafne Keen plays Laura, that the trailers have already revealed to be the daughter of Wolverine. Keen, at such a young age, has already proven to have an acting talent that is on level with veterans Jackman and Stewart. She portrays someone caught between trying to be a kid, while also struggling with her own mutant abilities and learning how to reach out to her estranged father.
Without spoiling too much of Logan, comic book movie veterans Jackman and Stewart have finally passed on the torch to the next generation of actors. One could definitely argue that Jackman and Stewart helped start the current Golden Age of Comic Book Movies with X-Men way back in 2000. It was that movie that inspired the Sony production of Spider-Man in 2002, which in turn inspired other studios to produce Batman Begins and Iron Man.
As a gritty and violent neo-noir film based on comic book characters, Logan is the emotional send-off we all deserve. In the theater where I first watched Logan, as the credits rolled, the only sound from the silent audience was that of reflection and quiet sobbing.