Hugh Jackman returns one more time in Logan, the 10th film in the X-Men universe and the final film in the Wolverine trilogy see’s Jackman bidding farewell (apparently?) to the franchise after 17 years and appearances in each film. This time around the dial is turned up to an MA rating inciting blood, so much blood, unrelenting violence, language and themes that the X-Men universe usually PG up, resulting in Logan becoming a dark and beautiful film that transcends the popcorn superhero flick into film territory that will be remembered as Jackman’s best performance as the Wolverine and bringing Patrick Stewart’s Professor X character to a thrilling conclusion that will have you saying “Why wasn’t Wolverine like this from the first movie”
The year is 2029, Logan (Hugh Jackman) is an old man living in his private car that he uses to drive people around in Uber style, while Professor X (Patrick Stewart) is in his nineties and lives in an old water tower to shield his mind from the outside world. Suffering dementia and outbreaks that send out mental shockwaves rendering anyone in the immediate area with paralysis, Logan works to get medication on the side to help the Professor and stop the outbreaks, while also suffering breakdown with the adamantium poisoning his body.
When the duo are discovered by a nurse Isabella seeking help from Wolverine for her patient Laura (newcomer Dafne Keen) they are being chased by hilariously named villain Donald (Boyd Holbrook) who wants to capture the “new mutants” and kill them all. Logan and Professor X agree to escort Laura to Eden, a place in North Dakota that is rumoured to be a safe haven for mutants. Laura turns out to be more of a miniature version of Wolverine claws and temper included which helps establish their relationship instead of being a direct clone of Jubilee or Rogue.
The first thing that you notice about the movie is the definite change in tone and language. The first word out of Logan’s mouth is “Fuck” and even more shocking when the words flow out of Patrick Stewart’s mouth. There is a moment when Stewart spits and hisses at Jackman “What a disappointment you turned out to be” it is one of the most brutal and jaw dropping moments in the film that really hits home how different this time and these characters are. Each scene has a shades and tinges of grimy yellow and night scenes. This particularly stands out when the trio drive through Vegas and the scene transforms into colour. It’s a great transition and provides some relief when the tension in the movie gets too high.
Performance wise Jackman has never been better as Wolverine, you can tell that this is the meaty role he has been waiting for. Similarly Stewart revels in the disheveled body of Professor X, the once positive and proud leader of the mutants, has now been reduced to a frail old man, becoming increasingly aware of his mortality and the effect that he has on the world. Keen comes onto the screen with no lines for the majority of the movie and her connection and banter with Jackman and Stewart feels organic. Her Wolverine style aggression and childlike timidness alternate beautifully and this film is a wonderful debut for Keen.
In a time when franchise films, extended and cinematic universes are desperate to constantly wink at the audience, Logan takes the bold step of dismissing them as a “distant memory” with no cameo’s or callbacks, rather creating a completely standalone story with two characters who are deeply rooted in the Xmen 20th Century Fox universe. Director James Mangold delivers a bold story inspired by the “Old Man Logan” Mark Millar comics with thanks to the success of Deadpool, an MA rating gave this film the life it needed to exist.
Visually this is the least effects heavy Xmen or Wolverine film made to date. The height of the CG comes from the claws of the characters, with the action scenes being handled by stunt men that help evoke the organic nature of this film. The several scenes involving slow motion don’t look out of place or heavily CGI’ed to the point of ridiculousness.
Overall Logan delivers the Wolverine story that fans have been begging for since the beginning. The simple addition of blood and the after effects of pus and cuts on Logan’s hands are details that should have been there from the first movie. By pushing forward the timeline and removing the characters foundations of hope, the story works as a beautiful drama even if you remove the superhero element from it. Time will tell if Jackman and Stewart are really done with these characters, however the box office success and critical acclaim may sway them back to the franchise should other projects not take off for the actors. The future of the X-Men universe looks bright if Fox continue down this path with the franchise and will stop an X-Men Apocalypse disaster from ever happening again. Logan is a triumph in superhero film-making and offers fan service to comic book and movie fans who have been there since the beginning, while still delivering a great story for new comers keen to see what all the fuss is about.
Logan is showing in cinemas nationally now
Review by Alaisdair Leith