‘Logan’ Movie Review: Latest Film That Shows R-Rated Comic Book Movies Can Work

The movie reviews for Logan, Hugh Jackman’s final outing as Wolverine after 17 years of playing the character, have begun pouring in. The first 61 reviews that aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes collected resulted in a 95 percent certified fresh rating, making Logan a proper sendoff for the Australian actor.

“Hugh Jackman makes the most of his final outing as Wolverine with a gritty, nuanced performance in a violent but surprisingly thoughtful superhero action film that defies genre conventions.”

After the successes of Deadpool, 20th Century Fox felt that it is less of a risk for them to provide more mature content within the comic book movie genre. Wolverine, who goes by the name of Logan in the movies, was always a character with a more violent and brutal nature in the pages. As the first X-Men films aimed towards a more general audience, Logan always seemed to hold back in his berserk nature. As violent as he got in the first few X-Men movies, the sequences were often quick and lacked the spill of blood that would realistically reflect the damage that large metal claws would do.

We started seeing Logan be more true to his nature on film in his second solo outing The Wolverine. Although the theatrical version was careful not to show too much gore, the unrated version that came out on home video called The Unleashed Version showed parts where a PG-13 rating would not allow a film to show. This extended version of the film was the closest we’ve been to a realistic Logan up to that point.

logan review r rated
[Image by 20th Century Fox]Featured image credit: The Wolverine movie

Then we had Jackman’s cameo in X-Men Apocalypse. After the young team of X-Men released Logan out of the cage that William Stryker had confined him in, the feral mutant went on a rampage, killing all who tried to subdue him. Logan hacked and slashed his way through the enemy soldiers. Since Apocalypse was still PG-13, we were unable to see Logan eviscerate them up close, but we did see his enemies’ blood splatter on the wall.

Now we have Logan, which does not suffer from the boundaries of a tame movie rating. Much like Deadpool, the latest Wolverine film is allowed to indulge in a tone separate from the main X-Men movie universe. We’re allowed to feel more intimate with the characters we’re watching and we feel more personally close to the stakes in the story.

“[Logan is] a low-to-the-ground, intimate kind of action movie, allowing for many gnarly close-ups of metal going through throats and skulls and other stuff… We’re shown Wolverine in his rawest, truest form—and there is nowhere to go from there. Mangold gives our grumpy old friend quite a send-off, a blood-drenched stab-a-thon that frequently hits bone.” –Vanity Fair

So now that we now Logan will be a critically acclaimed comic book movie, we can try to predict a trend in the genre to see if we will get more comic book movies rated R. It seems that we won’t be getting those kinds of movies from Marvel Studios or Warner Brothers’ DC Extended Universe. Marvel has made it clear that their films will be as close to family-friendly as can be. Although Warner Brothers has tried to differentiate their movie properties from their competitor by selling them as more dark and mature, their films have remained PG-13, just like Marvel.

20th Century Fox will most certainly continue bringing out R rated films if Logan does well commercially. They have their Deadpool sequel coming up, which will lead to an X-Force film.

As good as Logan and Deadpool were, we can’t forget that there have been solid comic book movies in the past. Spawn, Sin City, Dredd, 300, V for Vendetta and many more are examples of comic book movies that met with mixed success. With audiences wanting to see more variety in not only the comic book movie genre but in Hollywood as a whole, this may be the time for studios to bring about more mature comic book films.

[Featured Image by Michael Sohn/AP Images]