Film Review: ‘Logan’ (spoiler free)

Hugh Jackman hangs up those iconic claws in a fitting farewell…

 –

Starring:  Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Dafne Keen, Boyd Holbrook, Stephen Merchant, Richard E. Grant

Directed by:  James Mangold / Written by:  Scott Frank, James Mangold & Michael Green (story by James Mangold) / 135 minutes

What’s it about?

Logan – the mutant once known as Wolverine – now spending his days caring for a frail Charles Xavier, is thrust into one last adventure as he travels across North America in search of a place of safety for the mysterious young mutant named Laura…

In review

Seventeen years after making his debut as the iconic Marvel Comics character Wolverine in Bryan Singer’s X-Men, Hugh Jackman delivers a career-high performance in his much touted final appearance as the adamantium-clawed hero.

Taking place in 2029, at a time when there are very few mutants left, Logan (based loosely on the “Old Man Logan” comic books by Mark Millar and Steve McNiven) sees the man once known as ‘the Wolverine’ in a dark place in ever darker times.  His mutant healing abilities diminishing, Logan now goes by the name of James Howlett scraping together a living as a limo driver to pay for medication to subdue the increasingly uncontrollable mental powers of an elderly Charles Xavier.  Heavily burdened and wearier than he’s ever been and turning to alcohol to numb pains both physical and emotional, Logan seems to have no purpose until he meets a young girl named Laura who he discovers has abilities much like his own.  With Laura being tracked by a team of mutant hunters (lead by Boyd Holbrook’s Donald Pierce), it’s not long before the trio of Logan, Xavier and Laura hit the road in search of safety.

Written and Directed by James Mangold – who also tackled Jackman’s previous solo outing in The WolverineLogan is an atypical breed of a superhero film, of course it has the comic book/science fiction elements that come with the territory, but it largely plays out as an intimate, quite often brutal character drama and a journey that’s both thrilling and sombre as it evokes nifty vibes of the classic western and Mad Max.

Whilst not being overly concerned about continuity, there are still hints and references to Logan’s overall placing in the X-Men film universe without becoming burdened by it, the history of the X-Men themselves almost mythologised in the pages of dusty old comic books.  It’s a standalone story that anyone can enjoy but all the more effective and satisfying for those who have followed the screen exploits of Messrs Jackman and Stewart all of these years.

Jackman excels in the lead role that has defined his career, delivering his gruff and grizzly best with more than a few shades of melancholia.  Equally impressive is Patrick Stewart who relishes in providing a deeper and more complex portrayal of Charles Xavier than we’ve ever seen that’s as crushingly tragic as it is at times outright funny.  As Laura, Dafne Keen makes a strong and memorable screen debut, playing an important part in making the growing bond between Logan and the young mutant one of the film’s clearest highlights.

Rounding out the already commendable cast is Boyd Holbrook as the appropriately snarly Pierce, British comedian Stephen Merchant, in a surprisingly enjoyable turn as Caliban, Logan and Xavier’s quirky mutant companion and a sorely underused Richard E. Grant as villainous scientist Dr. Zander Rice.

Whilst Logan doesn’t feature the elaborate CGI spectacle and destruction we see in the main X-Men film series it’s certainly not short of action and given the film’s adult rating (15 certificate here in the UK, R-rated in the States) we get to see Wolvie fully unleashed in no holds-barred, Berseker Rage fuelled combat.  It’s unapologetically brutal, shockingly visceral and it’s what all Wolverine fans have wanted to see for a long time.

Logan does at times feel a little too slow and drawn out, yet just about manages to not completely drag and is made up for by the strong performances of the central cast and it’s moments of cutting, blood-soaked action.  In the end, Logan comes out as a satisfying finale that aptly closes out to the gravely, aged tones of the late Johnny Cash.

The bottom line:  Hugh Jackman bows out in a fittingly dramatic and brutal finale to his tenure as the iconic Wolverine in a film that binds fine performances with well-drawn character drama.

Logan is in cinemas now.

The sun sets on Hugh Jackman's time as Marvel Comics character Wolverine in 20th Century Fox's 'Logan'.

The sun sets on Hugh Jackman’s time as Marvel Comics character Wolverine in 20th Century Fox’s ‘Logan’.

Advertisements

12 thoughts on “Film Review: ‘Logan’ (spoiler free)

  1. If this is more brutal than The Wolverine, I’m going to have to think about whether I want to watch it after all. I can handle book violence, but as soon as it goes visual, man, it just overloads me easily.

  2. After the first two Wolverine movies, I didn’t think it would ever be possible for Hugh Jackman to have a successful Wolverine movie, ever. The first trailer for Logan really shook me out of that preconception and brought me to give it a chance once it hits theaters. I haven’t seen it yet (I plan to watch it pretty soon) but man I’m glad to hear that it turned out a lot better, darker and much more violent. Very sad that his last movie teases us of his potential as a character. If only they had done better stories for the past two Wolverine movies. Oh, and the movie really gave me a The Last of Us vibe (the video game). I wonder if it might have inspired the writers a little somewhere in the movie. Fantastic review, bro.

    – Lashaan

    • Thank you my friend! I’m glad you mentioned the Last of Us, that is one of my all time favourite games, that’s more than just a game, and I can definitely see similarities between that and Logan, in terms of it’s look, feel and story. Hope you enjoy it!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s