FILM REVIEW: Logan
The greatest strength and boldest choice made in the ninth and latest film, Logan, which stars Hugh Jackman as Wolverine is the films way of showing you the characters scars both inside and out. Only, in the dirty, dusty world of 2029, he’s not the Wolverine we know and love any more. Set more than a decade after the last time he teamed up with the X-Men to stave off the apocalypse, ‘Logan’ is preoccupied with the man, not the hero. Writer and director James Mangold was at the helm of Logan’s previous outing, ‘The Wolverine’, and even then he seemed more concerned with getting under the character’s skin than shoving him through a by-the-numbers plot. This time around he’s not constrained by the need to shoehorn in a big cinematic boss fight or keep it to a 12A rating. This allows this film to outdo any of his previous incarnations in terms of the emotional weight of the story and the characters motives and drive.
‘Logan’ is steeped in classic western influences. Not only in the bleak, sand swept and relentless desert landscapes that dominate the film, but in the pained redemptive arc that is one of the main focus points of the story. It’s sad and artful in a way that you just don’t get in superhero films. We’ve had it hammered home in previous films that Logan was turned into a weapon and is sufficed it to say conflicted and angered by this. But this is the first time that gets explored in a way that removes the superhero aspect and properly delves into the realistic human emotions caused by the experimentation.
There’s fantastic action beats and probably the best I’ve seen in X-men related movie, but don’t expect the usual blockbuster Marvel fare that you’ve come to expect. This is about the pensive, sorrowful and broken down hero at the end of a very long road and how he reluctantly sees one last chance to do some real good for someone in a cruel dark world. The first thing that strikes you about ‘Logan’ is the blood. A vulnerable, limping Logan takes hits, stumbles and lashes out. There’s a hard weight to the fights. Limbs are hacked off, heads are eviscerated. Thanks to that R rating, Mangold and Jackman hold none of it back when the claws are out. But it’s not bloody just for the sheer shock value the gore is a clear statement that this world is not the clean cut flashy superhero movie style of recent times. It shows that this story is about something much more real and the visceral blood soaked action scenes reflects the weighted and much more grounded than usual world the film inhabits.
The next is Patrick Stewart and Hugh Jackman’s two-man act. Never has the reluctant hero and tired mentor dynamic been better than it is here. Stewart has served the X-Men movies as the very model of Professor X, and seeing him old, broken and beaten is nothing short of heartbreaking. Stewart does an absolutely fantastic job as always even managing to inject some humour into the role. So much of the film hangs on Stewart, Jackman and newcomer Dafne Keen, playing the young mutant Laura/X-23. Keen holds her own with the two veterans, deftly playing to the trio’s fractured family dynamic. It’s her tightrope walk between innocence and intensity that sells Logan’s journey in this movie. Jackman is superb as the ageing mutant who has clearly lived far longer than he would have liked and endured more hardships than any one man should. With a failing healing factor and his many adventures finally taking a toll on a body slowly being poisoned by Adamantium, this is a Wolverine unlike any we’ve seen before and with that comes the actor’s best performance in the role to date.
It’s unclear where (or even if) this fits into the main X-Men continuity, but the further it steer clears from that, the better. ‘Logan’ tells a contained story. There are subtle hints to previous movies in the franchise but they’re never dwelled upon too much to appear distracting. It builds on what’s come before, but it calls out the four-colour comic-book heroism as something from a bygone era. If this is truly Jackman’s farewell to the character, he’s bowing out at the top of his game. Rarely do you find cause to connect this deeply with the lead in a comic-book movie. And that’s because it’s not about saving the world. Or even saving a city. In ending ‘Logan’ is a must see not because it’s simply an end of an era for Jackman and Stewart but because it’s quite simply a brilliant film. It’s full of emotional heart wrenching scenes, brilliant performances and the best action we’ve always wanted to see in a Wolverine movie.
I cannot stress how much I loved this film…Go see for yourself and I dare you to say otherwise… ‘Logan’ is out in cinemas now!