I haven’t finished the Wolverine film series, or even the newer X-Men films, so I’m uncertain to any tie-ins, but this definitely felt like a stand alone film and didn’t require much explanation as to what had been happening up to this point.
I didn’t know much about the film before entering the theater. The fantastic pairing of Johnny Cash on the trailer was enough to spark my interest, especially with Logan looking so weathered and forlorn. He looked like a man whose age had finally caught up with him; a man who has seen a great deal and lost just as much.
The film is set in the not too distant future, and we’re introduced to a Logan who is clearly unwell, whose claws are getting a little rusty, has a limp, and is drinking himself into oblivion. The strong warrior doesn’t appear to have much fight left in him, and becomes a reluctant protector of a young girl with similar powers. And I do mean reluctant.
Mutants have gone the way of the dinosaur, and Logan is looking out for himself and the Professor, who is now in his 90s and unable to control his powers due to seizures. Apparently there was an incident that killed a number of people and mutants in the recent past, and Logan is doing his best to keep him safe and protected. He just wants to earn enough money to buy a boat and escape to a quiet life – enter the bad guys who think they’re good guys.
There’s been a secret project going on for years, because there’s always a secret project, and when the lab rats get loose, the big guns come out in force to clean up their mistake. And do they ever come out in force. There are loads of great fight sequences – Logan’s claws are still as sharp as ever, and we discover, so are the little girl’s, and she’s a dangerous little thing.
The movie is about both a literal and figurative “journey”. Logan has lost everyone he’s ever cared about, save Charles, and he doesn’t want to care about anyone else, no matter how she might tug at the ol’ heart strings. He’s not who he once was, and he’s not who everyone wants him to be, he’s just…tired, of it all.
The film took some unexpected turns, but honestly, they felt right. It wasn’t a traditional spandex-clad superhero film, and I think that’s what I liked best. It was a more “reality” based look at an old hero and what they, or any of us, are willing to fight for.
There was one aspect of the storyline that I felt was a little forced in, and a cliche of sorts – the whole white hats vs black hats kind of thing, facing yourself, and your past, but as parallels go, it wasn’t too bad. *This one is hard to go into too much explanation without being spoilery.
This is my second favorite X-Men film, after the first one back in 2000, and probably number 6 on my top 10 of superhero movies. It wasn’t what I was expecting, and that was a good thing. All the X-Men movies of late have not inspired me to care about any of these characters I once liked. Remember the X-Men cartoon? The writers, directors, etc. really should have taken a note from their predecessors.
You don’t have to be a superhero fan to enjoy this film. It’s a tale we’re all familiar with, it just happens to be “enhanced”.