Logan: Review

His Last Stand

Hugh Jackman is James Howlett one last time, a man tortured by a long and violent past. Logan is not your average superhero flick and may just be the Wolverine film long promised but never delivered. From the adult themes and language to the visceral violence that punctuates this sombre toned farewell to one of the most iconic superheroes to make the jump from page to screen.

Based loosely on the Old Man Logan comic books story arc. Logan takes place in the not too distant future. A future where mutantkind is all but wiped out by a mysterious cataclysmic event and those who have survived are in hiding. Which is where we find Logan and a severely diminished Professor Xavier. Sir Patrick Stewart’s turn as Professor Xavier is superb, no longer is he the all seeing all powerful leader of the X-Men. Those times are gone and as is the mind that guided them. It’s a far more subdued and nuanced performance than we are used to seeing, one that Sir Patrick Stewart is all too perfect for. Charles Xavier is ageing and his mind is breaking down, sometimes hilarious and sometimes tragically, we are reminded of the immense power he controls and of what could happen if he should lose that control.

Logan is working as a Limo driver trying to save up enough cash to get him and Xavier away from what the world has become. Hiding out on the border of Mexico fellow mutant fugitive Caliban, played by Stephen Merchant, aides Logan and together the pair help to keep Xavier heavily medicated and under control. Logan is t a man tormented by too long a life of violence, bearing scars both physically and mentally. Logan is a shell of a man and his extremely long life is finally catching up with him, he’s not as fast as he once was and his healing abilities have slowed to a crawl. It takes the arrival of a young girl named Laura, a mutant with abilities very similar to that of Logan, to prompt him into reluctantly coming out of retirement.

Logan must guide Laura to a safe zone, all the while being tracked by the Reavers, a team of cyborg mercenaries whose sole purpose is to seek out and eliminate any surviving mutants. Lead by Boyd Holbrook’s Donald Pierce, the Reavers chase Logan, Xavier and Laura across the country leading to some incredibly brutal and bloody fight scenes earning the film its 15/R Rated certificate. The Reavers work for Transigen and Dr Rice, played by Richard E Grant. Transigen is taking children and turning them into mutant killing machines, in much the same way as William Striker experimented on Logan. In fact, it is during these experiments that Laura who, as part of project X-23, was created from Logan’s DNA.

Boyd and Grant make for some good antagonists, although it is a shame that Grant doesn’t really have all that much to do save for a few expository speeches tying events back to Logan’s past a little and setting the scene for his man-made mutant army; it’s all quite villainous yes but it doesn’t really do all that much to advance the plot. There is the sense that if Dr Rice were removed entirely from the film nothing would really be affected.

Dafne Keen is the surprise breakout performances of the film. She’s vicious, violent and uncontrollable. Something Logan immediately connects with as a part of his life he’d much rather forget. But as the film goes on towards the end of the second act Logan and Laura start to form a connection and it is this connection that drives the film through all the violence up till it’s bittersweet final moments.

Logan takes a far more grounded approach to the X-Men franchise, there are no high-tech lasers or ships or Apocalyptic super villains in sight. At one point Logan picks up a handful of X-Men comics that Laura is reading, flicking through the pages he exclaims “maybe a quarter of it happened, and not like this”. Director James Mangold seems content with not really connecting Logan to the X-Men cinematic cannon which, with multiple timelines as it is, is probably for the best. Logan exists in its own little bubble of existence, perhaps an existence not too far removed from our own world. An existence where the previous X-Men films were just that, films, fictionalised and watered down versions of events.

Hugh Jackman succeeds in conveying the unconveyable. A role seventeen years and nine films in the making. Logan has been on this earth nearly one hundred and fifty years and he is tired of the violence and of the death and ultimately of living. Here is a man who has lived through an immeasurable amount of pain and anguish and had to endure all the hate that the world manifests over and over again. It’s a concept that is nigh on impossible to comprehend but somehow Jackman manages to portray Logan for who he is, a man who has lived several lifetimes and is just waiting for the reprieve death will bring.

What did you think of Logan? let us know in the comments

– Dan P