Hugh Jackman plays Wolverine one last time in the film everyone is calling the finest X-Men movie yet. Here’s our verdict…
After 17 years and 9 movies, Wolverine’s time has finally come. In case you somehow missed all the promotion, Logan is Hugh Jackman’s final appearance as the Adamantium Avenger. But where you might have expected a traditional superhero climax that puts spectacle over story, Logan strips things right back so that we can focus on the character of Wolverine for the final time. It’s an approach that works wonders.
In a version of the future where mutants have gone extinct (but, unlike Days of Future Past, the rest of the world is OK), Logan is living low, looking after the 90-year-old Charles Xavier, who is suffering from Alzheimer’s. But he reluctantly sets out on one final journey when he meets Laura, a mysterious young girl who is being hunted by Alkali-Transigen – the modern form of the villains who made him Wolverine in the first place.
Instead of the usual ballooning cast of most X-Men movies, Logan is all about its three core characters: Logan, Charles and Laura. From this dysfunctional family unit, it derives a great deal of heart and in each direction the characters’ relationships – son and father, father and daughter, grandfather and granddaughter – are beautifully done. Logan and Charles’ near-familial bond will mean the most to long-time fans of the franchise, but Hugh Jackman and Dafne Keen carve out a new, hugely touching connection between their characters as well.
Speaking of Keen, she reaches Millie Bobbie Brown levels of awesomeness as an Eleven-alike enigmatic yet dangerous young girl with superpowers. Needless to say, Jackman and Stewart – who will also be saying goodbye to Professor X after this movie – are also terrific. It’s sad to see them go, but at least they got to deliver perhaps their greatest work with their final film. The villains of the piece – Richard E Grant as Dr Rice and Boyd Holbrook as Donald Pierce – put in good work too but this movie belongs to its core trio.
While there is a lot of heart to the movie, there are a lot of other body parts flying around the screen too. Making the most of its R-rating, there must be more violence, profanity and gore featured in this film than the whole previous franchise put together (with the exception of Deadpool, of course). If you ever wanted to see Wolverine unshackled by the need to fit into a PG-13 movie and let loose his full berserker rage, you will be very happy with Logan indeed. Yet I should add that the violence doesn’t feel gratuitous, just a natural part of this moodier, mature take on the X-Men world.
Perhaps the one drawback is the lack of answers to certain burning questions we have throughout the movie, generally in terms of how these events affect the wider X-Men universe. On the whole, I applaud Logan‘s decision to cut itself off from the weight of being part of a massive franchise but a couple of significant things are left frustratingly unexplained. An extra line here or there to clarify would have gone far. Highlight the next few lines if you want to know what I’m talking about:
So where does Mr Sinister fit into all this, seeing as his Essexcorp took Logan’s blood at the end of X-Men: Apocalypse? Did Charles really kill all of the X-Men? What about Magneto and the Brotherhood, are they still out there somewhere? Just why is Logan’s healing factor deteriorating now when it has been working fine for the last century? Have Transigen’s mutant-suppressing chemicals affected him too?
Taken on its own terms, however, Logan is a complete triumph – a beautiful blend of grit and emotion that is closer to a western than it is a traditional superhero movie. Just like Deadpool encouraged the superhero movie world to try something new and have some fun, hopefully Logan will remind the studios that what we most want from a movie is an involving, character-driven story. It will be interesting to see if the acclaim surrounding the film survives with age but it is clear that Logan is the perfect farewell for what must be one of the most iconic movie heroes ever. So long, Logan. You did good.