Director: James Mangold
It’s the year 2029 and The X-Men are all but gone. The reasons for this are unexplained within the confines of the movie. Logan (Hugh Jackman) is currently driving a limousine for a living whilst caring for the now very elderly Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) whose powers have now become very hazardous to those around him without the correct medication to treat his condition. Despite Charles’s optimism Logan’s life has become a mundane and almost unwanted burden. Logan drinks excessively and despite his healing powers it seems time is also catching up with The Wolverine. It’s at this point that Laura (Dafne Keen) comes into Logan’s life. Despite knowing all other mutants were long gone it seemed that the quiet child was more than a chip off the old mutant block and in particular Logan’s himself. Evil forces are on Laura’s trail and it’s up to The Wolverine to protect his new charge.
Hugh Jackman has been playing The Wolverine for longer than I care to remember. He has certainly made the role his own and why not? He has something of a double role within Logan and he turns in strong performances in both roles. In particular he plays the now more worn out and jaded Logan very nicely. You can feel his pain and want it to end for him.
Patrick Stewart rarely disappoints, in fact I can’t remember when he actually did disappoint. Senility has taken hold and Stewart revels in playing a more cantankerous version of Charles whilst still retaining his Fatherly motions towards Logan and mutants in general.
Dafne Keen plays the film’s most intriguing character, Laura. A young child who comes into Logan’s care. Clearly showing mutant elements, her origins are unknown and the, at first, silent little girl becomes a bigger and more important part of the mutant jigsaw. I preferred Laura during her silent early offerings and I’m sure Logan would agree she was much more tolerable before she started speaking. She’s a tough little character though and not as irritating as some other child actors have been over the years.
Boyd Holbrook, Stephen Merchant and Richard E. Grant provide some excellent support. In particular Merchant turns in a very skittish performance as Caliban, an albino with mutant tracking abilities who serves as a friend to Logan and Charles. Grant is also in good form as the undesirable scientist in amongst the darker side of the story.
With the exception of the X2 none of the X-men movies have ever really blown me away, particularly Wolverine’s solo outings. Last year’s X-MEN: APOCALYPSE (Review here) was decent enough but not in any way fantastic. Logan put simply is the best X-Men movie since X2 and by far away better than either the aforementioned solo movies. The fact that the film carried a more adult tone was very pleasing and, yes, that does mean it was a whole lot more violent than the more family based X-Men episodes and it was littered with bad language. This is neither big nor clever but it at least takes away any feelings of this being a family friendly tale. It has a more final and a kind of point of no return to feel it which is to be expected. It’s no secret that this sees Jackman playing The Wolverine for the last time. It’s a fitting send off for him. The film balances the more extreme nature of the violence with emotion and a satisfying level of closure. James Mangold has an impressive curriculum vitae, not least 3:10 to Yuma, Identity and Copland so is an ideal choice to follow up his first Wolverine film. He brings a sense of seriousness to the comic book world more akin to Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy. I left satisfied without any real fanfare, a good two hours spent.
The verdict: 3.5/5 Stars: The Wolverine was at the door, he closed it with dignity.