Logan, the latest Wolverine movie, is getting a lot of media attention for marking Hugh Jackman’s final outing as the title character, whom he’s portrayed in 9 different movies now over a 17 year period, but it also marks a turning point for the X-Men franchise as a whole. That is because Logan is easily the best X-Men movie there’s ever been and also hands down one of the greatest comic book movies of the last decade. It’s hard-edged, brutal examination of a hero’s decline but also a heartfelt depiction of family and how to stay true to oneself in the face of overwhelming odds. Simply put, it’s excellent.
Here’s why Logan is a significantly better film than previous entries in the X-Men franchise.
Less Characters = More Time To Focus
From a narrative perspective, it’s easy to see why there are very few mutants in Logan: most of them are dead. But as director James Mangold admits, limiting the character count offers more time to focus on the characters that are there and boy does Logan ever take advantage of this. The X-Men films by their very nature have always featured large ensemble casts, but this has often meant that certain characters get short shrift in favor of others (ironically, Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine was one of the characters that most benefited from this format.)
While Logan represents the third movie dedicated solely to the most popular X-Men character, it’s just as much X-23 and Professor X’s story and the movie spends a lot of time just letting these characters hang out together and talk. With Avengers: Infinity War set to deliver the largest cast of characters ever assembled for a superhero movie next year, it’s refreshing to see a movie like Logan be so economical with its characters and not waste time on underdeveloped ones. Future X-Men movies would do well to pay attention.