The tenth instalment in the X-Men franchise, Logan tells the story of an ageing, dying, war-weary Logan trying to make life better for himself and the now senile Charles Xavier, but when a mysterious young girl named Laura Kinney enters Logan’s life, he and Xavier embark on one final adventure before their time is up. This film is completely different to any of the previous X-Men instalments, and is much more of a character-based drama that revolves around Logan, Xavier and Laura.
The plot appears to be separate from the broader X-Men franchise, similar to how last year’s Deadpool technically wasn’t part of the established continuity, yet unlike Deadpool, which was in on the joke and littered with humour and pop culture references, Logan is sombre, sincere and tragic with moments that’ll leave you balling your eyes out. Returning director James Mangold has completely succeeded in making a movie that is brutal on both a physical and emotional level.
Even though the action is relentlessly bloody, intense and some of the best yet seen in a comic book movies, Logan succeeds most with its drama-centric narrative. The realities of life are at the core of this movie; we witness the internal and external struggle of characters dealing with decaying health, money problems, coming to terms with traumatic past events, trying to find a place in a world that doesn’t have a place for them anymore, and their conflicting way of looking at what ‘a hopeful future’ means.
The true driving force of this movie and what gives it emotional resonance, are the interactions between Logan, Laura and Xavier – all three of which are played phenomenally by Hugh Jackman, Dafne Keen and Patrick Stewart. For the past seventeen years, Hugh Jackman brought life to the adamantium-imbued anti-hero, always giving his best despite a few films being worse than others (The Last Stand and Origins: Wolverine). But this is by far his best portrayal of the character. His emotionally charged performance makes us invest in Logan, making us feel his pain and his struggles with ageing, and while Jackman has given fantastic performances in other films (particularly Les Miserables and Prisoners), this is his best performance to date.
The same can be said for Patrick Stewart, portraying a 90-year-old Charles Xavier suffering with Alzheimer’s, whose performance is so unexpected, yet also truly believable and heartbreaking as we witness a much more emotional side of his character. However, coming close to stealing the movie from both Jackman and Stewart is breakout star Dafne Keen as Laura/X-23, who is simply astonishing as pint-sized angel of death. Keen is superb in bringing out the intensity and vulnerability of Laura with every expression and word from her adding real meaning and depth, while further developing her character.
If this is really the last Wolverine outing from Hugh Jackman, then he has left the role on a high note indeed, since Logan is an understated masterpiece on every possible level. The violence is extreme, the action is intense and the story has emotional weight that’s effective and powerful. James Mangold has truly made a special kind of movie, one with a lot of effort and care poured into it to make Logan the best movie it can possibly be. Thanks for the ride, Hugh Jackman. It’s certainly has been worth it.
Dir: James Mangold
Scr: James Mangold, Scott Frank, Michael Green
Cast: Hugh Jackman, Sir Patrick Stewart, Richard E. Grant, Boyd Holbrook, Stephen Merchant, Dafne Keen
Prd: Lauren Schuler Donner, Simon Kinberg, Hutch Parker
DOP: John Mathieson
Music: Marco Beltrami
Run time: 137 mins
Logan is out in cinemas now.