Review by Paul Bowler
Logan embarks on a violent, bloody, finale stand as Hugh Jackman returns to the role of Wolverine, the iconic Mutant X-Man with the unbreakable adamantium skeleton, retractable claws, and incredible healing factor. Based loosely around the Marvel Comics classic Old Man Logan storyline by writer Mark Millar and artist Steve McNiven, Logan is tenth instalment in the X-Men film series from 20th Century Fox where Jackman originally debuted as Wolverine in X-Men (2000), its also the third Wolverine film after the less than favourable X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009) and the far superior The Wolverine (2013).
Set in 2029 where Mutantkind is on the brink of extinction, Logan (Hugh Jackman) finds our erstwhile hero now a shadow of his former self, ravaged by age, world weary, and slowly being poisoned by the Adamantiun in his body. Logan is carving out a meagre living as a chauffeur in El Paso, his only ally is the albino Mutant Caliban (Stephen Merchant), and together they care for the X-Men’s former leader Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) – who is now suffering from a degenerative neurological condition – in a derelict hideout across the border in Mexico.
But danger and tragedy strikes when the nurse Gabriella (Elizabeth Rodriguez) from the secret Transigen project entrusts Logan with a mission to escort Laura / X23 (Dafine Keen), a mute child with powers savagely akin to Wolverine‘s own abilities, to a sanctuary in North Dakota. Logan and Laura set out a dangerous cross country journey, closely pursued by Transigen’s deadly operatives The Reavers and their vicious cybernetically enhanced leader, Donald Pierce (Boyd Holbrock), and as the final stand looms on the Canadian border Logan must confront the dark secrets of his past as he faces his ultimate destiny…
Hugh Jackman give a powerful, emotive, and rip-roaring performances as the aging Mutant, who proves he’s still a force to be reckoned with even though his fabled healing factor isn’t exactly what it used to be. If anything, Jackman’s grizzled portrayal as the old man Logan is probably his finest turn yet in the iconic role that he‘s undeniably made his own since he first played it seventeen years ago. Despite Logan’s ragged and downtrodden appearance, Jackman’s brooding physical presence is still every bit as imposing as ever, and when those claws pop you better watch out bub!Just like 20th Century Fox’s smash-hit X-Men spin-off, Deadpool, Logan positively revels in its fifteen certificate. The violence is brutal, visceral, and unflinching, but it feels good to see Jackman portray Logan in a movie that finally allows Wolverine a chance to really cut loose against his enemies with the full-on savage fury that the character is so well-known for in the comics.
Patrick Stewart is also on fine form as the ailing Professor X, and his scenes with Hugh Jackman are utterly sublime. Charles is like a surrogate father figure to Logan now, the bond between them is as unbreakable as adamantium itself, and the combined tragedy of their circumstances coupled with the Professor’s terrifying psychic seizures brings added gravitas to many of Logan’s most poignant and powerful moments. Stephen Merchant is also excellent as the Mutant tracker Caliban, while Dafne Keen is a revelation as Logan’s young prodigy, the stoic, and sometimes frighteningly feral, Laura / X23. Richard E Grant is also good as the sinister Dr Zander Rice, the head of Transigen, and Boyd Holbrock is brilliant as the ruthless Reaver henchman Donald Pierce.
Directed by James Mangold, who also helmed 2013’s The Wolverine, Logan is a film that side-steps the usual superhero movie conventions to take us, much like the comic book storyline that inspired it, into much darker territory. Logan is a no-nonsense, uber-violent, blend of western and road movie, tinged with a razor keen sense of humour, and a strong character driven plot.
There are a few pacing issues, but nothing too major. Mangold also skilfully bends in nods to the previous X-Men films and comic book references – quite literally in one instance – for fans, but don’t expect colourful costumes, or huge CGI action set-pieces. Logan is a bleaker, far grittier experience, and it makes for a film that feels all the more richer as a result.
Logan is the Wolverine movie we’ve always wanted. It takes us on an epic journey for what is, purportedly, Hugh Jackman’s final adventure as the ferocious Wolverine, and it brings the characters cinematic saga full circle. It’s beautifully filmed, the story is dark and compelling, and it races to a rampaging action-packed finale which in turn provides a brutally fitting and emotional swansong for Jackman’s time in the role.