It’s been a long and winding road for Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine. Since spearheading the modern superhero genre with 2000’s X-Men, he’s been present for many of the highs and the lows that the genre has had to offer. After 9 feature appearances in the role, Jackman is ready to hang up the claws, but his final appearance in Logan is set to be a unique filmgoing experience. Despite a nearly two-week wait until its U.S. premiere, the embargo for early reviews has already been lifted, and it looks like 20th Century Fox has made the right call on getting the word out early.
At the time of this article’s publication, Rotten Tomatoes has aggregated 57 reviews, 96% of which are “fresh.” While advance reviews for a film tend to skew positive, this still puts it 5% ahead of the previous X-Men record holder, Days of Future Past (91%), and miles ahead of the character’s previous solo outing with director James Mangold in The Wolverine (69%). Here are just a handful of the critical responses to Logan, starting with our own:
Screen Rant – Sandy Schaefer
“Longtime X-Men fans are in turn advised to prepare themselves emotionally for a somber Wolverine movie – but also one that can be described as a cross between The Wrestler and Dredd, in the best way possible.”
Entertainment Weekly – Chris Nashawaty
“It’s both the most violent film in the series and the most sentimental one. When it’s not showering you in blood, it’s trying to make you spill tears.”
Score: B –
Hollywood Reporter – Sheri Linden
“Seamlessly melding Marvel mythology with Western mythology, James Mangold has crafted an affectingly stripped-down standalone feature, one that draws its strength from Hugh Jackman’s nuanced turn as a reluctant, all but dissipated hero.”
IndieWire – David Ehrlich
“Better as an agitated Western than as a fading superhero movie (or a listless cross-country chase), the most cantankerous X-Man’s final outing is a scaled-back affair that nevertheless knows how to swing for the fences.”
Miami Herald – Rene Rodriguez
“The violence in Logan isn’t played for kicks, like it was in Deadpool. It’s grave and serious and sometimes hard to watch, which fits in with the overall tone of this grim, surprisingly downbeat movie.”
TIME Magazine – Stephanie Zacharek
“In a world this aggressively gritty, it’s never a surprise when anyone kicks the bucket. The issue isn’t that they die, but that their deaths carry surprisingly little weight.”
Toronto Sun – Mark Daniell
“Star Hugh Jackman isn’t just giving us the definitive X-Men movie; it could just be the definitive comic book movie.”
USA Today – Brian Truitt
“Easily the best Wolverine outing, Logan is The Dark Knight of the mutant-filled X-franchise, a gripping film that transcends the comic-book genre by saying something important…”
Variety – Owen Gleiberman
“The analog pace and elemental story work for it. Each time the violence explodes, it’s slashingly satisfying, because it’s earned, and also because Mangold knows just how to stage it.”
While the praise isn’t unanimous, there’s certainly enough of it to suggest that Logan is definitely something special for the superhero genre. Whether or not the positivity surrounding this project will translate to box office success is still a real question. While the similarly R-rated Deadpool got by on irreverent, adult comedy, Logan is an altogether different animal, which still has the hurdle of barring a younger audience.
With no colorful costumes, earthshattering trailer moments, or even the words “X-Men” or “Wolverine” in its title, it may have a difficult time comparing to some of the biggest properties from Marvel Studios or Warner Bros.’ DC. Then again, maybe that’s exactly what audiences are looking for to keep the superhero genre fresh right now.