First and foremost, I knew based on the trailers that this was going to be incredibly different from the rest of the X-Men movies, or any other superhero film we've seen over the last several years for that matter, and it certainly was quite a refreshing departure. And although I knew that this was going to be an emotional ride, I just didn't realize how emotional it was going to be. And oh man, they didn't hold anything back. It wasn't just emotional, it was emotionally draining. I would go so far as to say take some precaution when watching this because shit gets heavy and it can be difficult to watch, particularly if you're already attached to these characters. For example, I was already expecting the inevitable death of Charles Xavier, but the way it happened was so shockingly brutal, and it happened at such an emotional moment (also heartbreaking with his confession) it left me in kind of a stunned silence. And then realizing that Logan himself wasn't going to make it either, I mean. I knew it was coming, there were tons of foreshadowing and I knew they had to wrap things up to ensure that he couldn't come back if this was going to be his swan song, but a part of me just kept hoping that somehow, in some way, he was going to make it. But the way the film was setup I knew it wasn't going to happen.
Everything involving the characters was perfection, mostly because this was essentially a film about the characters. It had its action moments, absolutely, and those were phenomenally done, but the quieter moments were possibly the most effective because it allowed us to see these characters as human beings. We got to see the hardships, the emotional turmoils, the inner demons and conflicts they have, the regrets and the things they wished they could have done but they cannot change. It's difficult to watch at times because it's a testament that despite them being considered "superheroes" they are also just human, and time catches up with them as well. Charles has succumbed to a brain disease which dangerously affects his powers, and Logan is basically not functioning like he used to; his reflexes are slower and he doesn't heal as quick, and he's slowly dying from the inside out. It's heartbreaking seeing them in this state, but despite that we also see the strong connection between them, which is due to the introduction of Laura Kinney (X-23) and how they are basically forced onto this road trip to have her reach her destination, and also learn about who she is and, in turn, who Logan is and his possibly reach for redemption, of finally reaching a sense of peace and purpose with his life.
This film was not only emotionally brutal, it was also quite graphic with the fight scenes as well. What I liked is how smart they were with the R-rating. While they didn't hold back, they didn't go overboard either. There was no excessive violence or throwing around profanity every other minute. Sure, it's certainly jarring hearing the beloved Professor X saying "fuck you" so casually, but in the context of what is happening and the tone of the film it makes sense, and you quickly get used to it. Same with the violence, as well. These scenes are evenly spaced out throughout the film and only used when it was appropriate, but when they do, oh boy, it was one violently bloody mess, and it's absolutely glorious.
And now let's talk about Laura Kinney (X-23). I love her so much, she was simply amazing. Everything about her from her introduction and the brutal feral way she fought to how she bonded with both Charles and Logan, being on the road trip with them, I loved every moment of those scenes. Her connection and growing bond with Logan in particular because that was the point of the story, really, was their relationship. And every moment they shared was pure gold, because even though she didn't speak for most of the first and second half of the film she had so much sass and attitude but also like, she wanted to bond with him. She knew what their connection was from the start and she wanted him to join her across the border (same with Charles too), and just thinking about that possibility makes me want to cry so much. Because that ending, man, it just rips your heart out and stomps all over it.
But ending was perfect, though, even with it being depressing. It was a great way of concluding Logan's story while making headway for the future of the next generation of mutants, continuing on the legacy but also the fight. Laura was the catalyst in bringing Logan some sense of peace (his death, finding hope) and purpose (doing something right, saving someone for a better future) and she steps forward in continuing on, kinda like passing the torch in a way. I do hope that if there any plans on making a Laura/X-23 movie in the future that they do it right.
Other Moments In The Film I Enjoyed:
** I mentioned this before, but this is basically the closest we'll ever get to The Last Of Us adaptation, there were even scenes that paralleled the game in certain ways, and not just with the father-daughter relationship either. (So much that I actually think that The Last Of Us, Part II might actually wind up going in this direction, at least where the ending is concerned.)
** Logan versus the younger Wolverine clone (X-24) was a perfect symbolism of the man versus the beast, Logan fighting himself for what has been nearly his entire life.
** Seeing how much age has affected Logan was really fascinating, and incredibly difficult to watch. Seeing how his reflexes are slower, his abilities aren't functioning properly, how he literally has to force himself to get riled up so he can actually throw a punch and get those claws out (to the point where one of them gets stuck, and he later has to physically pull on it to get it unstuck); how he staggers and limps, his scars which haven't healed when they should have. He doesn't have to say anything in order for those scenes to be powerful. From the scene in the bathroom where he is basically standing in front of the sink waiting for the bullets to pop out from where they hit him, we know that he ain't doing so well, and it gets worse as the film continues on. Knowing that he is slowly dying but doesn't want to acknowledge it, doesn't want to deal with that reality. It's just heartbreaking.
** And Charles also broke my heart in this film, and it's interesting the direction they took for his character. It's heartbreaking but I feel like it was a good decision to make. The moment we first see him in the film he is kept in a makeshift isolation where Logan is staying, he is babbling nonsense, and it continues down that heartbreak when we learn the truth about why. The reason why there are no X-Men left is because of Charles Xavier, and it's something he tried to repress and not remember himself because it's something so terrible that I think he couldn't live with himself with such a horrible truth. Just. :(((((
** Everything surrounding the growing bond between Logan and Laura, that father-daughter-esque relationship is basically my weakness. That whole Grumpy Older Man with his Tiny Badass trope is my favorite dynamic ever, and just everything from him being exasperated with her to their bantering in the car (after he learns that she actually can speak, which was by far my favorite scene of the entire film because his reaction was just so fucking funny, lol). I liked that he basically didn't think he would care for her, thought that he wasn't good enough, but ultimately he came through in the end and helped her along with her friends and it was such a good turnaround for Logan and Laura seeing him coming through for her, and even though that ending destroyed me emotionally it was so damn good.
** Seriously though, that ending broke me. I was expecting it but I was also not prepared for how much it would hurt. And his last words to Laura, he wants a better life for her than how life treated him, he tells her to not be what they created her to be. She needs to pave her life the way she wants to live, to not let the beast underneath control her, she must control it, learn to harness it and live the life he could never have. It's heartwarming and heartbreaking all at the same time. And then his own final words to himself, which is essentially himself finding peace. In either death, redemption, finding happiness finally after the tragic life he led, or all of the above.
** One of the things I realized after seeing the film was how Logan never saw himself as a hero, he never saw himself in that way, but look at the way others talk about him, wanting to get him to help. One of the kids in the end was holding a Wolverine action figure. Logan may not have seen himself as a hero because of everything he'd gone through, but others saw him as such, and that's important.
** All of those kids basically adopted Logan, let's be real. It makes me want all the AU where he survives and crosses the border with them, wanting to protect them, but ultimately it's them who are protecting and looking after him for a change, and where he and Laura can finally spend more quality time together. LET ME LIVE IN THIS AU PLS LIKE GIVE ME GRUMPY BUT AFFECTIONATE LOGAN WITH HIS SUDDENLY NEW ADOPTED FAMILY SURROUNDING HIM.
** I liked the way they worked in the X-Men comics in-verse, because it makes total sense that people saw these individuals and decided to profit off of their deeds and adventures by exaggerating their stories. And Logan basically calling it bullshit, lol. I loved it, it was perfect.
** And, can I say, bravo on that Deadpool prologue attached to the beginning? Not only was that smart advertising for the second film, it also was a great way of having a "post credit scene" before the movie started, since otherwise it wouldn't have made sense to have something at the end when all of that emotional stuff really weighed you down. And the Easter eggs from that teaser, too (not just with the Logan poster, but also the Firefly posters and seeing TFA with "REY" graffiti-ed on the wall behind the phone booth). Ah, amazing. :)
Overall: Logan is phenomenal in every way possible, and it is precisely the film many have been waiting years for. This is a somber, depressing and dark (but not grimdark) western tragedy set in the superhero universe, where the storytelling focuses entirely on the characters more than anything else. This story has heart and soul, and while it's sad that it took them this long for such a film to be made I am happy nonetheless that they concluded it with a bang, and the ending was quite satisfactory and a perfect bookend. This was not a Wolverine movie, this story was about Logan and his personal journey, as beautiful and tragic as it was. Seriously, outstanding performances by all the actors. Thank you, Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart, for 17 years portraying these characters in these films.
Non-Spoilery Overview: This is a depressing and emotionally draining film that will make you have all the feels, but as far as I'm concerned it is totally worth it. It honestly surpassed all my expectations and I haven't been able to stop thinking it ever since after I saw it in theaters. And as someone who has only seen, like, two X-Men films, that is saying something.