RELEASED: 1st March 2017
DIRECTOR: James Mangold
CAST: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Richard E. Grant, Boyd Holbrook, Stephen Merchant and Dafne Keen
BOX OFFICE WORLDWIDE: $619m
AWARDS: None (Academy Award nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay)
In the near future mutants are all but extinct as no new mutants have been born in two decades. Logan is making a living as a limo driver in a town on the Mexican border, where he lives in a remote makeshift home where he looks after Charles Xavier. However for Logan his low-radar living is changed forever as a young mutant is being pursued by dark forces, he is drawn back into action despite his hopelessness.
2017 saw James Mangold and Hugh Jackman reuniting after The Wolverine to bring us Logan, the final chapter to Jackman playing the character over the course of nine films in a seventeen year span. The film is inspired by the Old Man Logan comic from 2008, with Mangold, Jackman and company given the go ahead to let Jackman/Wolverine’s swan song with an R-rating (which may
or may not have been due to the box office success of Deadpool the previous year). In the near future, we found Logan living in an abandoned smelting plant, where he’s looking after Charles Xavier, who has developed dementia which causes him to have destructive seizures, with the aid of mutant tracker Caliban. One day Logan is approached by Gabriela Lopez, a former nurse for biotechnology corporation Transigen, to escort and a young girl named Laura to a refuge up north known as Eden. Unfortunately for being below-the-radar for so long, this puts Logan back onto the thick of the action in order to defend Laura against the Reavers, led by Transigen’s chief of security, cyborg Donald Pierce, and Dr. Zander Rice. While Logan is of course, first and foremost, a superhero film, it’s blended in within the confines of the western genre, with Logan being the reluctant hero that is quite literally counting down the days working as a limo driver to get money and get a boat to get him and Charles out of town and out into the ocean. It’s worth nothing as well that the film is arguably one of the most bleak superhero films in its genre, let alone the X-Men franchise. It’s engaging to watch Logan being a shadow of his former self, with his healing abilities not being what they used to be, meaning that he has to numb the constant chronic pain he has now being older by hitting the bottle, and he’s also mentally broken as everyone is gone now beside his mentor Charles due to an incident that led to the death of several X-Men members. Hugh Jackman has been playing the role for a long time and here in Logan, arguably his best acting performance overall in his career let alone as the character in this franchise, he manages to bring something new to the table in portraying the character as broken and, for the first time in a long time, vulnerable. It’s a shame that Hugh Jackman didn’t receive a Best Actor nomination for his performance at the Academy Awards that year because I did believe (still do) that he was that good in the role. While much is made about it being Jackman’s last performance as the character, it’s worth mentioning about it being Patrick Stewart’s last performance also as Charles Xavier and watching how this strong mentor, one of the most powerful minds in the world is now suffering from dementia and with him having seizures, along with his mutant genes, making him one of the most dangerous people in the world, is incredibly sad to watch these two being broken shells but in the moments in which we see old glory resurfacing between the two, briefly, during the quieter moments of the film that are beautiful to watch. Patrick Stewart was perfectly cast in the role back when the original film came out and here he still gives a great performance as Charles Xavier, playing the role differently yet maintaining a few traits that we know and love about him. Starring alongside them is Dafne Keen, making her feature debut and her second acting credit and she absolutely shines as Laura Kinney, a young mutant that is being hunted by the Reavers that is being escorted by Logan to Eden. Keen almost steals the show from everyone here as we come to discover who she is, as she does so much with so little in conveying emotional through facial expressions when she interacts with other characters. While all the character moments worked for me, the action sequences themselves are well constructed and executed, such as the initial big set-piece in which we learn of Laura’s abilities against the Reavers at the plant, the reveal of X-24 at the farm, to the finale in the woods, and with its R-rating, we get to see Wolverine slashing bad guys in a way we haven’t had before. The film is well directed overall by James Mangold, with John Mathieson providing some wonderful cinematography and I really enjoyed Marco Beltrami’s sombre score. Soaked with blood and bleak tone throughout, Logan is sometimes funny, sometimes touching and sometimes heartbreaking, but for me it stands as being one of the best comic book films since The Dark Knight, as well as one of the best films of the last decade.
FAVOURITE SCENE: Logan’s final scene with Laura gets me every time.
FAVOURITE QUOTE: “Don’t be what they made you.” – Logan
DID YOU KNOW: When Charles Xavier suffers from his seizures, Hugh Jackman did not act as if he was being pushed away. Instead, he was held back by a rope pulled by two men in order to give a more realistic portrayal of being restrained.