Directed by: James Mangold.
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Richard E. Grant, Boyd Holbrook, Stephen Merchant, Dafne Keen.
It has been 17 years since the X-Men movie franchise began, 17 years since Hugh Jackman took the mantle of Wolverine but now we reach the end of the line, Logan is the last film to star High Jackman in the role that made him a megastar, is it a swan song worthy of the man with the claws?
The year is 2029 and Logan is living a life of exile, hustling to stay alive on the Mexican border. All mutant life is virtually extinct with the exception of Logan, an infirm and senile Charles Xavier, his nurse Caliban and a new arrival, a young mutant girl who’s powers bare a striking resemblance to those of Logan.
A lot of trepidation was riding behind this film, Wolverine solo outings haven’t faired the best and have had mixed receptions. I can thankfully say that Logan is without doubt the best solo Wolverine film and for me, the strongest of the X-Men franchise films too. Coming across very much like a modern day Western in feel, it’s no accident I feel that the film allegorises the Western ‘Shane’ which Professor X watches with Laura midway through the movie, it’s something maybe only an ardent western or movie fan may notice but will raise a knowing smile when you realise. It is quite a sobering sensation to see an older more broken down Logan being brought to the screen, this Logan is hiding from the world, making a living as a Limo driver to pay for medication for a senile Professor X, who has lost control of his powers and suffers seizures that put those around him at risk. This is also a film where we really get to see Wolverine being Wolverine, no punches are pulled, this film is brutal. Limbs are lopped and skulls are skewered, we saw some of this in the last solo outing The Wolverine but here it carries more weight behind it as we know that it’s probably the last time we are going to see the definitive Wolvey do his thing, it is gloriously grotesque and I loved every limb strewn moment of these sequences.
Hugh Jackman has played Logan for a long time, he has inhabited the character for 9 films spanning 17 years, suffice to say, this role is his. To see Logan in his later years, beaten up and with failing health is a poignant experience when set against the young & vital Wolverine we have seen onscreen prior, to see him with a sense of vulnerability is a move that is brave and also correct I think for his last outing, to see a little more of the man behind the animal, the weight of a life lived weighing heavy on his shoulders. Patrick Stewart also displays some of the same vulnerability as the 90+ year old Charles Xavier, frightened by his failing mind and control over his powers, haunted by events he had no control over and very much aware he is nearing the end of his life, it goes without saying a few tears will be shed before Logan reaches it end credits to the strains of Johnny Cash’s When The Man Comes Around, a very apt choice of music to see this cinematic Wolverine on his way.
Logan is perhaps the most accomplished and character-driven take on the X universe yet to hit the screen, as rich in poignancy as it is in breathtaking gruesome action. It was always going to be hard to say goodbye to Wolverine but when it is delivered as well as this, it’s as worthy a farewell as any of us could hoped for.