After almost 2 decades of seeing Hugh Jackman play the character, it’s hard to imagine anyone else step into his shoes. Which makes it just that much harder to bid farewell to the character.
Logan, directed by James Mangold, takes place in the year 2029, set in a future distant from the one established in X-Men : Days of Future Past, and loosely based on the Old Man Logan run in the comics. Logan, going by his birth name ‘James Howlett is beaten down, torn shadow of the man he used to be. He lives off his days as a limo driver, barely making ends meet and on top of that, his healing factor has started to fade. He can no longer take gunshots to the head and not flinch. He takes pain-killers to hold off the pain from his injuries. His animalistic rage has taken a back seat, and even his claws don’t support him the way they used to. Simply put, he is in the worst shape that we have seen.
He hides out in an isolated corner of the Mexican border along with Charles Xavier, i.e Professor X (Sir Patrick Stewart) and mutant tracker Caliban (Stephen Merchant). Xavier is also at his worst, showing signs of brain damage and suffering from intense psychological seizures, which prove to be dangerous to anyone around him.
Early on it is revealed that the world has lost the X-Men and that mutants have become more of an urban myth than a reality. This also leads to the film’s use of the classic X-Men comics as a wink to the audience.
The hard-R rating of the movie really justifies itself and is tied organically to the character interactions. Make no mistake, as this is not your typical child-friendly superhero movie. There is blood, and there is cursing. If you thought Deadpool was violent, steer clear off this one because this movie knows no limits to the uncontrollable rage that Wolverine unleashes.
Amidst all this, he meets a grieving woman who gives him one final job: transport Laura, a mysterious girl with ties to his past to the other side of the country. While initially reluctant, Logan has no other choice but to help this child when dark forces come after her.
Now, Logan could have been a major missed opportunity, being a third in the solo franchise. As a general rule of thumb, most ending films in a trilogy, that too in the comic book movie genre, tend to disappoint. However, James Mangold and company successfully go above and beyond with this film. And ‘film’ really is the right word for an experience like this, one which doesn’t subvert to the genre that it serves. Logan is very much a character driven film, which just happens to house comic book characters in it.Mangold said in an interview how he “set frames that are, in some way, descriptive and are kind of evocative of comic-book panels and also for me, classical filmmaking.” and that really shows here. The movie’s cinematography is, for the most part, expertly handled and the it sticks with the tone that the movie is trying to set. The movie certainly takes inspiration from many of the old westerns and this reflects in the cinematography. Mangold even shared a page from the script, a risky move considering how in today’s world fanboys are eager to dissect any bit of information they can get their hands on.
As stated above, it is a character driven film. It takes its time in the second act to take a break from all the chasing and clawing and sets up the family dynamic between Logan, Xavier and Laura which is adorable to watch. Dafne Keen, undoubtedly the break-out star of the movie is amazing. She spends most of the time mute but it’s really her posture and body-language which speaks a lot more about her than any dialogue could ever do.
Patrick Stewart provides a very nuanced look at the character, one which feels very different from the version we’re used to seeing. But when taken into context what he has had to endure, seeing the loss of the X-Men and mutants in general, you feel for the character and understand when he suddenly throws a swear or two.
Also worth noting is the performance of Boyd Holbrook as Donald Pierce, leader of the cybernetically-enhanced humans. He holds up his own against Hugh Jackman’s performance and comes off as a true threat, which is no mean feat.The film does have its faults though. As in the case of The Wolverine, the third act doesn’t hold up as well as the rest of the movie and the antagonist(s) feels like your average run-off-the mill comic book supervillain. There could have been much more that the film could explored with regards to that, but in the end its the characters that we have cared so deeply for that help sell it.
In the end, Logan delivers upon the promise that it made from the day it went into production: to be a hard R-rated violent but thoughtful piece of cinema which defies genre conventions and delivers the Wolverine movie we all deserve. One. Last. Time.