In the near future, a weary Logan cares for an ailing Professor X in a hide out on the Mexican border. But Logan's attempts to hide from the world and his legacy are up-ended when a young mutant arrives, being pursued by dark forces.
"We've got ourselves an X-Men fan. Maybe a quarter of it happened, and not like this."
It's tough to say goodbye to a character - or rather a particular actor's take on a character. For 17 years, Hugh Jackman has been the living embodiment of Logan, the mutant better known to comic fans as Wolverine. Jackman's ride as the surly hero with six indestructible metal claws and a bad attitude has seen many ups and downs, but in Logan, he's given a dark, gritty, and emotional sendoff. It's the film fans have always wanted and their patience is rewarded in a film that isn't just one of the best comic book movies to date but is arguably a damn good piece of filmmaking.
In the not too distant future of 2029, some things have stayed the same but a lot has changed. Mutants are a dwindling species and no new mutants have been born in years. The once infamous X-Men are no more. Logan (Hugh Jackman), the once fearsome mutant with razor-sharp claws has retreated to the deserts of Mexico. By night he works as a limo driver along the border in Texas. By day he returns to a dilapidated factory building to care for Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) with the help of the mutant tracker Caliban (Stephen Merchant). As Charles' degenerative brain disorder requires stronger and stronger medication, Logan faces his own mortality as his powers to heal diminish leaving him scarred and battered.
Logan would like nothing more than to retreat completely from humanity - but his loyalty to Charles keeps pulling him back into public life. When a mysterious woman named Gabriela (Elizabeth Rodriguez) and a small mute girl named Laura (Dafne Keen) locate Logan looking for help getting to North Dakota, Logan's quiet life is completely turned on end. Promised thousands of dollars in cash, Logan reluctantly takes the job, only to find a heaping helping of trouble.
As it happens Laura is a mutant with very similar abilities and fierce temperament to Logan's own. With a gang of mercenaries after them led by Pierce (Boyd Holbrook), Logan has no other choice but to deal with his past and truly become the hero everyone believes him to be by helping Laura find her friends and escape to freedom.
Movie trailers have a bad habit of overselling what you're going to see out of a movie. You may see a killer action sequence in the trailer hoping to witness it in context with the film only to discover that it had been cut entirely. You may hear a great quip or a line read out of a character and then be saddened when that payoff never happens. So when the first preview for Logan was released - I noticed a distinctly different tone for this film. I wasn't anything like X-Men, X-2, The Wolverine, and absolutely nothing like X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Logan had the look and feel of a down and dirty, gritty, and hyper-violent new take on the character we've come to know and love for over a decade. Coupled with the haunting cover of "Hurt" by Johnny Cash, I was hooked and couldn't wait to see it. But I was also worried that the final product couldn't possibly live up to the trailer. Thankfully it did.
When I settled into the theater to see Logan, I was instantly struck by the film's sense of brutality and mortality. Not only was I seeing a film where Wolverine's rage was finally fully unleashed, but I was watching the hero I spent decades seeing in comic books, cartoons, and movies confront the ramifications of his actions. Not only that, but I was watching the final performance of the character by Hugh Jackman, the man who has embodied him on screen for the last 17 years. Coupled with what will apparently be the final turn for Patrick Stewart as Charles, the film turned out to be a thrilling but deeply emotional rollercoaster ride.
Understandably, some may be put off by the heavy and down dealings of Logan. There is very little relief from the unrelenting tone of this picture as it constantly wants to remind you of mortality's inevitability. Some may also question its place within the established X-Men universe as Days of Future Past found a way to right past franchise wrongs and leave Logan in a world that almost seems happy. So what happened from that ending where Logan appears to have found peace and the loved ones who previously perished were alive and well again?
My best answer to that is the quote I opened this review with. For me, it would seem that versions past events happened. We get subtle nods, the government agency who gave Logan his adamantium claws and skeleton. There's mention of the Statue of Liberty incident from the first film. He still has his samurai sword from his previous solo adventure resting on a wall caked in dust. And of course, there's Charles. I take the line where he's pointing out the comic books to Laura as Mangold and Jackman saying everything we previously saw was the hyped-up fantasy and that this film is the closest thing to Logan's own personal dark reality. After 2016's X-Men: Apocalypse, I'm perfectly okay with this film acting as a sort of retcon to everything we've seen before.
Not content to be a simple-minded action adventure film with mutants using their CGI-enhanced super powers, Logan took the bold step of stripping itself of that sort of fantasy. Sure, we get brief moments of mutant antics, but there isn't any spectacle. It's brutal, violent, and at all times somber. Taking pages from classic westerns, director James Mangold and star Hugh Jackman craft an intricate and satisfying sendoff to the character. I rarely sit through the credits of movies (if I know there isn't a post-credit scene), but in this case, I had to just so I could have the time to collect myself. While the film focuses on finality and themes of mortality, it also celebrates how time and life move on. This is certainly not the last time we will see Wolverine on screen, but it's the last for Hugh Jackman. And I couldn't imagine a better sendoff for his take on the character.
Vital Disc Stats: The 4K UHD
Logan arrives on 4K UHD Blu-ray in a four-disc 4K UHD + Blu-ray + Digital set courtesy of 20th Century Fox. Both Logan and Logan Noir enjoy their own BD-66 disc with their standard 1080p Blu-ray counterparts enjoying their own Region A BD-50 discs. All discs are housed in a black, sturdy four-disc UHD case. The 4K UHD discs load directly to animated main menus featuring traditional navigation options. While both the original theatrical UHD disc and the Logan Noir UHD disc have the same audio commentary track, the rest of the bonus feature content is found on the theatrical release Blu-ray disc.
Logan unleashes the claws on 4k UHD in a drop dead gorgeous 2160p 2.39:1 transfer. Detail levels enjoy a subtle uptick in clarity. Caked dust on Logan's limo becomes more defined. You can see intricate threading in clothing, the occasional bullet hole or two, and the makeup effects look spectacular. The effects are particularly impressive after Logan's opening fight where he's in the bathroom struggling to heal highlighting all of the wounds he's received over the years. Desert vistas and scenery look incredible offering up beautiful landscapes while the production design work gets a little extra room to breathe. Boyd Holbrook's CGI rendered robotic hand also enjoys some nice added detail allowing it to appear a bit more realistic with genuine weight.
Colors really come to life with HDR10 rolling. Primaries get a stronger push while the highlighted yellows and browns maintain their vivid dominance. Flesh tones also appear more lifelike - for those who have lifelike coloring. Caliban's pale coloring and his subsequent blistering from sun exposure look more defined. Black levels are greatly improved allowing blacks to dip into true black territory while shadows better define object depth. Darker scenes like the interior of Logan's hideout or later night scenes offer up far better image clarity and better shadow separation. It's the kind of image you want to just pause and look at making it one of the best 4K UHD releases.
Logan Noir's debut on 4k UHD is particularly interesting. Not only does it gain an added amount of detail and clarity, the HDR10 actually offers up an impressively more natural black-and-white appearance. The difference between true black and true white and the subtle tones of gray in between is striking. Because of the shadows, background details that didn't really take many shapes in the standard Blu-ray presentation find more definition. When Logan, Charles, and Laura are traveling on the road, the wispy clouds take better shape and allow the sky to appear more than one big never-ending gray blob. The imagery is particularly beautiful when Charles calms the horses and the animals line up side-by-side. The animals' shades of black and gray come through beautifully against the white sky. The dinner scene in the farmhouse is particularly gorgeous - especially as it's one of the few moments in the film where the characters get to experience a measure of joy. The shade of black/gray for blood also appears more natural whereas on the Blu-ray blood could appear like a black blob, it now has shades and tones of gray. I was already greatly impressed with the results of the film in black-and-white in 1080p, but seeing this UHD HDR10 presentation makes me salivate at the idea of some old classics getting a proper UHD 4K release. This one is impressive demo material to show off to 4K newcomers if you want to take the time to swap between the original color version and this black-and-white version!
Dolby Atmos fans will have something to celebrate with the audio mix provided for Logan and Logan Noir. The DTS-HD MA 7.1 mix for the standard Blu-rays is already pretty great, but the finer subtleties of the mix really come to life here. The atmospherics offer up a terrific sense of space and dimension - especially in open buildings like the holding tank where Charles is being kept. Dialogue comes through clean and clear throughout without any interference or overlap with the sound effects or scoring elements. The LFE tones really up their game - especially during the scenes where Charles has his seizures. The low heartbeat drubbing coupled with the tinnitus ringing really adds to the intensity of the moment. Gunshots get to enjoy some extra oomph and pizzazz. As there is near constant surround activity, there is never a dull moment with this mix. Front, sides, angles, and rears allow any given scene to sound more natural with an immersive life-like quality to it. However, where I feel this mix gets a clearer benefit is in regards to Marco Beltrami's score. The film isn't loud and in your face and it doesn't have a traditional heroic theme to it. It weaves in and out of moments and the extra room this Dolby Atmos track provides really allows the mix to live comfortably.
With a bit of relief, it would appear that 20th Century Fox has decided to break with recent tradition and bring fans a genuinely complete-feeling package with a robust assortment of bonus features. In addition to the exclusive Logan Noir, fans get to pick through everything from a terrific James Mangold director's commentary track to deleted scenes to an assortment of well-produced featurettes covering a wide range of topics. Each disc features the same James Mangold audio commentary. The principal bonus features are found on the theatrical standard Blu-ray disc.
Audio Commentary: With Director James Mangold.
Deleted Scenes (HD 7:45) Comprised of "Logan Gets A Ticker," "Alternate Dinner Scene," "Caliban's Death," "Bobby's Action Figures," "Medical Tent - Connect The Dots," and "Mutant Kid Puppet Master." All around these are some pretty great scenes, but understandable why they were cut. Most of them are simply reiterations of the themes expressed in other better scenes, while a bit like actually seeing Caliban actually die was a bit of overkill.
Making Logan: Casting The Film (HD 20:34) Filled with cast and crew interviews, this is an interesting and very personal look at how they went about casting the new characters as well as bringing back some old favorites - only different than the last time we saw them and not always for the better.
Making Logan: Crafting The Story (HD 12:13) This is a brief, but still very informative look at the filmmakers' approach towards the film, its place within the series paying tribute to the past films while also being very different and unique.
Making Logan: Crafting The Score (HD 4:22) Marco Beltrami's terrific score gets to shine in this brief look at how Beltrami approached the film without crafting a traditional action score and aiming for something more dramatic.
Making Logan: Designing The World (HD 17:53) This is a very cool look at the impressive production design work that went into creating a near-future that's believable without being distracting.
Making Logan: Stunts and Fights (HD 16:51) I gotta say, I love a great stunts featurette and when you see the lead stunt coordinator is wearing an eyepatch, somehow it's even better!
Making Logan: Wrapping Logan (HD 4:07) This is a very brief but meaningful look at Hugh Jackman's last days of filming and the last time putting on the claws.
Logan proved to be an unexpectedly emotional and visceral experience when it reached theater screens. As the farewell tour for star Hugh Jackman and possibly Patrick Stewart, Logan takes the comic book action fantastics and grounds them in a gritty and stark world. It may be tough with few moments of levity, the film ultimately proves to be a terrific sendoff for Jackman's take as the iconic comic book hero. 20th Century Fox brings Logan to 4K UHD with absolutely stellar results. Whether you're interested in only the original color theatrical presentation or the black-and-white Logan Noir, both enjoy beautiful, demo-worthy video presentations, incredible ATMOS audio tracks, as well as some great bonus features. Even if you're not on the 4K UHD bandwagon yet, this set comes with the standard Blu-ray releases easily making it a must own release. When you go 4K, you'll be glad that you already picked this one up.