Director: James Mangold
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Richard E. Grant, Boyd Holbrook, Stephen Merchant and Dafne Keen
Logan has undoubtedly changed the superhero movie genre forever, in the sense that it is as far removed from the genre as you could get. Logan has much more in common with the Spaghetti Westerns and movies like The Road. I even saw flashes of Naughty Dog’s video game, The Last of Us. Before entering the screening, I knew I was in for something different, but never did I expect Hugh Jackman’s last turn as Wolverine to move me to tears and affect me so deeply. I have thought long and hard about this, but I honestly believe Logan to be one of the best, if not THE best, comic book movies ever made.
Logan is set in the not-so-distant future, in a world where mutants are few and far between. Hugh Jackman’s Logan is now working as a limousine chauffeur, and with the help of Steven Merchant’s Caliban, is looking after Charles (Patrick Stewart), who’s suffering from a degenerative brain disease, which is particularly dangerous in his case, since it’s causing seizures which provoke temporary paralysis in everybody around him. Things become even more arduous for everybody’s favourite clawed mutant, when he’s tracked down by a nurse called Gabriela who offers him payment to escort her and her 11-year-old daughter, Laura, to a place referred to as ‘Eden’ in North Dakota.
Nature made me a freak. Man made me a weapon. And God made it last too long.
When coming up with the script to Logan back in 2013, director James Mangold took inspiration from Mark Millar’s graphic novel Old Man Logan. Even though the film’s plot isn’t particularly close to Millar’s story, the film does share a very similar tone. It’s bleak outlook on life: a world without mutants, a world run by the villains, a world without the X-Men… and Hugh Jackman’s Logan is the product of this world. He’s no longer the hero we knew in the previous films. He feels like a man who’s lost all hope. The only thing he cares about is Charles, and he’ll do anything he can to protect him, even though he’s a bit of a lost cause. This is where Laura’s character comes in. Logan doesn’t want to have anything to do with her at first, but over the course of the film, she brings out his true heroic nature.
Logan and Laura’s relationship is very similar to that of the man and the boy in John Hillcoat’s The Road, or Joel and Ellie in The Last of Us. This is what really sets Logan apart from the other superhero films out there, it’s a lot more stripped back and ultimately, even though it involves people with superpowers, feels far more real than anything we’ve seen in the genre. There are no heroes running around in capes or leotards in Logan (which is rather amusingly referenced to in the film). Mangold’s film has a lot more in common with films like The Good, The Bad and The Ugly and Unforgiven, than X-Men: Apocalypse. At one point in the movie, Charles and Laura are watching the 1953 western Shane, and there are a lot of similarities between the two films.
Logan, you still have time.
Logan is simply, yet also beautifully shot, which just adds to the film’s gritty outlook on life. Mangold’s reportedly also working on a black and white version of the film, which I for one cannot wait to see. There’s something incredibly refreshing about watching a comic book movie that doesn’t rely on it’s CGI heavy set pieces. That said, there’s a lot of action on show, and thanks to the film’s R-rating, it’s the bloody and most visceral action you’ve ever seen in any superhero film. This is, without a shadow of a doubt, the Wolverine movie the character, and Hugh Jackman, deserves.
Moreover, the performances are incredible. Hugh Jackman delivers one of the rawest and most captivating turns he’s ever given as Wolverine. At some points you get the sense that you are actually watching an animal on-screen. He’s also backed up wonderfully by the likes of Patrick Stewart, Stephen Merchant, Richard E. Grant and Boyd Holbrook. But it was Dafne Keen as Laura who really impressed me as Laura (a.k.a X-23). She really gives Jackman a run for his money as the most feral mutant. She’s angry, dangerous, mysterious… Simply put, Keen’s brilliant and I hope Fox give her the chance to develop the character ever further in future films.
She’s like you… she’s very much like you.
Not only is Hugh Jackman’s performance in it spellbinding, but Logan also marks the perfect end of his 17 years playing the character. This will, and should, be the last time Jackman plays Wolverine, and he can be proud of what he’s achieved. Logan is not only the best Wolverine movie ever made, but I’d argue the best superhero film. It proves that this genre has a whole lot more to offer than just big dudes hitting one another. Logan has heart, sadness, pathos, tragedy, humour… everything you’d want from a great film. It’s just a shame that it’ll never get the recognition it deserves because of the indifference the Academy voters seem to have towards comic book movies.