‘At least we can all agree that the third movie is always the worst.’ – Jean Grey, X–Men: Apocalypse (2016)
Logan, inspired by the comic book Old Man Logan, subverts Jean’s statement – Hugh Jackman ends his iconic role as Wolverine on a high note with a film that’s worthy of his talent and commitment. This is in contrast to the previous two solo Wolverine movies, which had convoluted plots and depicted Wolverine as indispensable.
Logan follows an ageing Wolverine through a post-apocalyptic America, as he takes on one last assignment while protecting a mysterious new young mutant, Laura (Dafne Keen). After the success of the R-rated Deadpool, 20th century Fox was willing to take a chance with Logan by allowing R-rated content of gore and swearing – Jackman actually agreed to a pay cut in exchange for the opportunity to make an R-rated Wolverine film. The complicated nature of Marvel character film rights meant that the script writers of Wolverine had to take liberties in adapting their source material. Nevertheless, the film managed to tell a coherent and well-adapted story because the writers played to their strengths.
Co-starring alongside Jackman is newcomer Dafne Keen and returning Patrick Stewart. Keen successfully builds an emotional onscreen bond with Jackman that draws similarities to the bond between The Last of Us’ Joel and Ellie. Stewart, on the other hand, maintains the time-old tragic yet hilarious personality that was established in his last appearance as Professor X. Stewart and Jackman’s final performance is bitter-sweet in reflecting the older generation’s departure from the franchise, and the opportunity for young actors to take charge.
The film sustains a strong, grounded feel – as if a comic-book hero has been inserted into a realistic and gritty film, as opposed to the creation of a ‘comic-book film’. Gone are the previous leather-donned characters and cliché comic book sky-beam battles, and this adds to the film’s realism. In place are in-universe X-men comic books that showcase the X-men in their usual status quo, greatly contrasting the grim reality the cast face. The film uses a game of cat and mouse in the style of a road trip to escalate tension and feature character development. Fight scenes are brutal with the additional gore and have a natural Mad Max feel to them. While the film begins fumble a little in the third act, it finishes strong with a memorable conclusion.
With its debut trailer making streams, the additional announcement that this would be Hugh Jackman’s last role as the iconic Wolverine meant Logan had massive expectations to live up to. Although the film doesn’t feel like an X-Men film, it certainly is a Wolverine film. Logan sets a new benchmark for superhero films and shows that it only takes a few well-developed characters to create a heartwarming movie.
Overall, 5/5 stars.