Directed by:- James Mangold
Produced by:- Hutch Parker , Simon Kinberg, Lauren Shuler Donner
Starring:- Hugh Jackman , Patrick Stewart, Richard E. Grant, Boyd Holbrook, Stephen Merchant , Dafne Keen
Runtime:- 137 minutes ( 2 hours 17 minutes)
His Time Has Come
Say what you want to say about the recent X-Men films with its very convoluted timeline that is ripe with loopholes. Say what you want to say about the movies not holding a candle to Marvel Studios efforts anymore. One thing we cannot deny is that its success was an integral component of the superhero movie renaissance that began in the early 2000s. One of the many aspects of the series that contributed to its growing success was Hugh Jackman’s portrayal as the legendary Wolverine who like Robert Downey Jr. with Tony Stark/Iron-Man has made the role his own. During his 17 year tenure as the popular character his efforts in the pictures were rewarded with two solo movies . While the first one X-Men Origins : Wolverine was a complete dud, the second film The Wolverine which was directed by James Mangold was a step in the right direction but ultimately stumbled thanks to its very shaky third act ( a problem that is slightly rectified by the film’s extended edition) . Following the old saying that all good things must come to an end, this phrase is now beginning to ring true with Jackman’s place in the X-men film franchise as Wolverine.
The third Wolverine movie is now been set as the final outing for Hugh Jackman’s character. Loosely based on the Old Man Logan line of comics that sees the titular character live in a world where super-villains overthrew the heroes, James Mangold returns as co-writer and director as he takes elements of this arc to make a fitting conclusion for Hugh’s portrayal of the fast-healing clawed mutant.
Logan is set in the year 2029. Mutants are far and few between and are almost extinct as no new mutant have been born in 25 years. Logan aka Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) whose healing factor is slowly diminishing is now a shadow of his former self both physically and mentally. Now going by his birth name James Howlett, he makes his living as a limousine driver. As the movie unfolds we learn that he lives with fellow mutant Caliban (Stephen Merchant) and is doing this job to provide food and medicine and an eventual escape route for an ailing Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) who he is now hiding from the U.S government near the border due to his inability to have complete control of his powers at the advanced age of 90.
During one of his routine shifts, a mysterious woman offers Logan, a decent salary to transport a mysterious young girl named Laura (Dafne Keen) to the U.S./Canadian border. He refuses but soon gets dragged into the ordeal when a man named Donald Pierce (Boyd Holbrook), leader of the Reavers begins to question his knowledge about the girl. As the shady organization get closer to Laura, Logan discovers the truth about o the girl and learns that she shares similar traits to him . Wolverine along with Professor X begrudgingly spring into action one last time to aid the little girl.
With that said does the movie do enough with its intriguing plot and talented cast members to help give Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine the retirement he deserves?
- The movie has a neo-western feeling that is achieved thanks to the movie’s dark and gritty tone and its sunny and dusty back drops of American deserts you see from the get-go . Mangold uses this element of the genre to paint Logan and Professor X as two men who have been abandoned by a world that they once defined . They have been left to survive the harsh new climate both in a literal and figurative sense and its depressing outlook gifts the actors with the opportunity to flex their acting muscles.
- In a similar vein to Hell of High Water, the movies prefers to bide its time to meticulously develop its characters over its action sequences which are now the by-product of the plot’s development and not the fore-front, a trope a lot of super-hero movies tend to follow. This approach means that what is at stake is a lot higher and feels more personal which is something we haven’t seen in a long time.
- Hugh Jackman has definitely saved his best performance for the last as he successfully gives his iconic role the fitting send-off it deserves. Logan provides Jackman with the opportunity to show of his acting capabilities more so than any other X-Men movie or solo Wolverine outing before this one and he does not disappoint here. Jackman’s performance effectively allows the audience to see his character at his lowest point as he effortlessly shows us a Wolverine that is old, tired, broken and battered both physically and emotionally. He copes with his sorrows through copious amounts of alcohol and actively participates in shady drug dealings to get Professor X’s meds. He no longer wants scare anyone with his rage, but when someone comes to challenge or threaten him he still shows glimpses of his younger days and it is truly exhilarating to see what made us fall in love with the character when it happens.
- Patrick Stewart has fun portraying a less constrained version of Professor X. He is no longer needs to play the wise mentor we all know and love him for. Like Logan he is the last remnant of a world they used to operate in and is at an all-time low as he is literally too old for this shit. He can longer control his abilities, he is angry, bitter and is just as likely to throw a profanity in the same manner Wolverine does. Yet he still has a touching and heartfelt camaraderie with Logan and glimpses of his former self begin to shine when Laura is thrown into the equation.
- Dafne Keen was a truly inspired choice for the role of Laura. Mangold could have easily gone with a brooding teenager with sarcastic quips to go with this role but he opts for a much younger girl. Keen’s performance is one of very few words and a lot of action and she effectively portrays her character through her permanent scowl and her expressive eyes which is by no means an easy feat for a child actress. Yet despite how innocent looking she is, she manages to be as badass the old mutants thanks to her freakish physical abilities and at times will leave the audience questioning does she really need their help? On top of being a great character for action sequences she acts as a perfect foil to Logan as she exhibits traits of a younger Logan and she slowly accepts him as a father figure which slowly fills Logan that was initially reluctant with a sense of hope and redemption as the movie progresses. I definitely want to see more this character in the near future.
- While the movie three leads are firmly in the spotlight for most of the film’s runtime, the supporting cast also have their share and it is good for the most part. British actor Stephen Merchant brings a certain level of charm and sympathy to Caliban, a mutant with the ability to sense and locate other mutants who is now relegated to being Professor X’s mutant caretaker. Another highlight of the film’s small supporting cast is Boyd Holbrook as Donald Pierce, the leader of the Reavers. They are group of augmented humans who hunt down mutants. Pierce even though he doesn’t get as much character development as many others is still enjoyable to watch as Holbrook has fun presenting his two-dimensional villain with a certain level of swagger and arrogance.
- Though a lot of the movie is not as light hearted as its predecessors, that don’t mean that it doesn’t have its moments of levity. Some of the film’s funniest moments come to fruition when Logan or other characters drop F-bombs or when he is bickering back and forth with Charles. While its nice to have jokes that lift the tension, the movie thankfully understands that having too many will interfere with the film’s tone and keeps it to a bare minimum.
- Thanks to Deadpool’s success, Logan has now become the first film in the Wolverine series of movies to carry an R- rating and it truly embraces this newly acquired mature content and not it is not done in a manner that appeases clueless teenagers who get a thrill from senseless violence. From the movies first line (“F$%k”) to its seriously brutal action sequences that has limbs flying off, the movie now feels like an authentic wolverine experience that is catered to people who have grown up with the character. It also means that the action sequences are no longer held back as they are allowed to be brutal which as a result provides the movie with the best action sequences the X-Men franchise as a whole has seen. It is truly gruesome and totally exciting to see when it happens and luckily there is a fair amount of it.
- Taking another page out of Deadpool’s blueprints, the movie keeps its story self-contained so that it doesn’t alienate newcomers and confuse the audience with the franchise’s convoluted timeline. The movie still does enough to make nods at the fans as it makes some subtle references to past movies that eagle-eyed fans of the franchise will notice when they see objects or hear specific lines of dialogue for reference. It even cleverly alludes to potential events that may happen in the future movies through the fact classic comics physically exist within the film’s world. They are viewed as fictional stories based of the X-Men’s past heroics and Wolverine hilariously scoffs at their accuracy.
- The first and third act of the movie is wonderfully paced as they are packed with key character development moments and action set pieces that will keep you glued to your seat. Unfortunately the same cannot be said for the film second act that turns proceedings into a superhero road trip movie of some sort. While the scenes in the second act are very important for Logan, Laura and Xavier to build a rapport and develop their characters, it is not as dramatic or suspenseful as the other acts. To me it comes off as a little nit-pick because the scenes put in question eventually get a great pay-off .
- Logan also stumbles because the movie feels the need to focus some of its time on characters who barely make an impact to the film’s overall plot like Richard E. Grant’s turn as Dr. Zander Rice who tries to add a lot of depth to “ evil scientist with good intentions” trope that has been done to death a million times. This rare blunder doesn’t completely harm the overall experience because at the end of the day Logan is centered on Jackman , Stewart and Keen’s and everyone else involved is surplus .
Logan is a somber and brutal character driven superhero drama that sends off Hugh Jackman’s 17 year stint as Wolverine on a high note. This is without a doubt the best X-Men movie since X2 and it has put itself in contention as one of the best superhero movies of all time.
RATING: – MUST WATCH!!!!