From its opening scene, as the artist formerly known as Wolverine tears through a group of misguided young men who deemed it wise to take him on, Logan sets its tone.
It’s unrelenting in its brutality. It’s an exhausting two and a bit hours of cinema, as blood and f words are spliced together with genuine, raw, touching moments that hold the simple notion of family at their heart. Sometimes, less is more.
I’d be lying if I said I was bowled over but make no mistake, Logan is very, very good.
In 2029, mutants appear a thing of the past. An ageing, battle scarred Logan sees his powers dwindling and the adamantium within his body is beginning to poison him. He works as a chauffeur and picks up drugs for a beleaguered, senile Charles Xavier whose faltering brain can bring forth devastating seizure-induced psychic attacks. Logan and mutant outcast Caliban live in an abandoned smelting plant in Mexico as the care for Xavier, with the former plotting a way out and a life at sea. One day…
However, as fate would have it, Transigen, an asshole named Donald and a young girl called Laura ensure that it’s not quite that simple.
Across the board, the cast rises to the occasion.
Jackman is a leading man. He’s formidable. He owns this role and as he brings the curtain down on his reign as Wolverine, he goes out on a real high note. Patrick Stewart more than matches him as the ailing Xavier in a really enjoyable performance. The father-son dynamic the pair have is a genuine highlight of the opening two acts. Even if you’re in a world of mutants (or you once were), in its simplest terms, when Logan begins this is a son caring for his father.
Their world is shaken up however through the arrival of Laura, played by Dafne Keen who is honestly a little gem. She’s absolutely fantastic and matches everything that Jackman throws at her. I genuinely can’t praise her highly enough. She’s a star and certainly comes across “very much like” Logan.
For what this film is, I’m not especially sure if a truly memorable villain would have been fitting.
With regards to the villains, Boyd Holbrook of Narcos is in the timely role of the aforementioned asshole named Donald. Donald Pierce is leader of the Reavers and hellbent on tracking down Laura. He’s alright. I liked his performance. I liked what he did. But, I don’t think you’d say he’s not an overly memorable villain.
There are others, aside from the band of Reavers, but there’s none that particularly stand out. Although, there is one that provides one hell of a physical match for Logan.
That having been said, I don’t think it matters.
It’s Logan’s film. It’s Jackman’s swansong. The central three of Logan, Xavier and Laura lead the way and that’s absolutely the way it should be. For what this film is, I’m not especially sure if a truly memorable villain would have been fitting.
The sense of inevitability that hangs over things and the tired state that both Xavier and Logan find themselves in could count as villains in their own right. Indeed, they are perhaps more threatening than any charismatic megalomaniac could be simply as it’s so rare to see your heroes in this sort of position. It’s not your standard superhero flick because of that and I think that’s why I liked it so much.
It’s stripped down. There’s segments where you do feel as if you’re just watching what is a genuinely human film. There’s no building for sequels to come. Logan is its own animal. You’ve not got big set pieces as cities are blown to bits, you’ve not got your otherworldly creatures popping up, you simply have three people on the road, up against it and trying to survive.
…Logan is a fitting farewell for Jackman and a job well done all round.
That family dynamic serves the film so well. You care. You root for these people. You want them to win. It earns that feel and when the knocks come, they have impact which is something that can’t be said for all superhero films. The only slight I could really throw at the film is that I found the final act to be a little bloated and lose a little bit of focus. Having said that, the closing moments are capped with a genuinely touching, brilliant final shot. The road to it is ferocious, it’s gut-wrenching, it’s exhausting, but it’s damn worth the ride.
This film won’t be for everyone, nor is it something you’d describe as feel-good – which is why those family moments make you smile that bit more. It’s unapologetically violent. It’s got heart. It’s brutal. It’s rewarding. And all in all, Logan is a fitting farewell for Jackman and a job well done all round.