In the near future, a weary Logan cares for an ailing Professor X in a hide out on the Mexican border. But Logan’s attempts to hide from the world and his legacy are up-ended when a young mutant arrives, being pursued by dark forces.
As has been well publicised the new X-men film Logan, sees Hugh Jackman return to Wolverine for his final outing as the character, with direction by James Mangold in what is his follow-up film to 2013’s The Wolverine. Logan promises to bring a unique perspective to the superhero genre, and delivers a grounded character and relationship study in this superhero universe.
Depicting a bleak near future, Logan takes place sometime after the more optimistic epilogue to Days of Future Past, where an adjusted timeline had Logan, Scott Summers, and Jean Grey all back at Charles Xavier’s school for the gifted. Sometime between that point and when Logan takes place, things have taken a terrible turn for mutant kind, the film picks up with a depleted Logan caring for an ill Charles Xavier, before their paths take a turn when they discover a young mutant named Laura, who needs their help.
Logan tells a straight forward tale, and one that is familiar as its central themes dwell on sacrifice, legacy, family and responsibility, but where it excels is using these familiar characters in new and interesting ways, Logan and Charles specifically, have never been depicted in this manner on screen before. It gave these two great actors something new to deliver in their performances as these characters, and they both clearly relished the opportunity.
If you look closely there are links to previous x-men films, however Logan easily works as a standalone film, its main villain and the plot around him is the weakest part of the film, however clearly the focus is on three main characters Logan, Charles and Laura. Without giving them so much attention it wouldn’t have been possible to establish their relationships, their emotional drama and journey so effectively.
Tonally this is a gritty and grounded affair, there are no heroic outfits, cloud villains, or menacing bright beams firing up into the sky which threaten to end civilisation, it seeks to redefine what a superhero movie can be. It’s a far more violent take on the character with plenty of bloody claws action, and some creative set pieces that allow the characters to shine but without abandoning its grounded western tone which saturates the film.
In the role of X-23 is Dafne Keen, and the film makes some hefty demands of her which she meets. Often without much dialogue Dafne emotes and articulates complex and conflicting emotions throughout the film, she needs to deliver a tough persona while having a sound underpinning comedic element. Both Jackman and Stewart are excellent, this time around Charles isn’t at all sidelined as he has been previously, allowing Stewart the chance to deliver a distinct and memorable performance.
Jackman makes the most of this final outing, you’ve never seen a Logan like this before and it leaves few other avenues Jackman could have taken the character even if he has wanted to continue in the role.
Logan is a hugely refreshing take on a comic book adaptation, while not unfamiliar in some story elements it’s tone, and characterisation of this central trio is exceptional and serves as a fitting end to Jackman’s time as Wolverine, as well as Patrick Stewart’s time as Xavier for that matter, as it appears he’s also retiring from his X-Men character now that this film is complete.
I’m giving it 8 out of 10 stars, Logan is in cinemas from 2nd March 2017.