Logan is a heart-warming, charming tale about an ageing man taking a quiet young girl on a road trip across America. It’s full of interesting characters, a joyous atmosphere and exciting story developments. The ageing man that the film centers on is James, also known as Logan. Also known as Wolverine. You see where this is going right?
Logan takes place in the not too distance future of the X-Men franchise, but make no mistake: This isn’t an X-Men film. In somewhat the same vein as his previous solo outings X-Men Origins and The Wolverine, Logan is a story that isn’t too concerned with the happenings of the other members of the X-Men, instead focusing on Logan and his own troubles. If you know the character, you will no doubt be familiar with Logan’s brutal combat prowess and his very, very sharp adamantium claws, along with his tragic, troubled past. Due to this movie’s age rating of 15, Logan is allowed to run very, oh so very wild and it is very, oh so very satisfying indeed.
After spending 17 years playing a relatively tame beast, only allowing his savage nature to shine through for brief periods of time, it’s both refreshing and terrifying to see lead actor Hugh Jackman finally unleashing the beast inside and giving us a Wolverine that’s both incredibly efficient and savagely wild at the same time while tearing his way through the countless victims that stand in his way. The movie’s action is visceral, heart-pounding and terrific and it’s been a while that a film has caused me to be so rooted in my seat, gripping the sides with shaking hands. Limbs fly off, faces are gouged and flesh is carved. Each slice feels meaty and powerful, each stab feels precise and surgical. These claws were made for slicing, and that’s just what they’ll do.
Of course the movie isn’t all action, there are breather moments in between them that really give you a chance to regroup and take a nice rest before the next bloodbath. It’s these moments of downtime that really give the movie its atmosphere and feeling. The basic plot of the movie is about a now grizzled and aged Logan, trying to care for a sickly Charles Xavier (portrayed brilliantly by Patrick Stewart) in a world where there’s no more mutants. Of course matters are complicated with the arrival of a mysterious young girl known as Laura (portrayed by newcomer Dafne Keen). Without wandering into spoiler territory, Laura is endowed with certain ‘gifts’ that make her a valuable target for the film’s villains, portrayed menacingly by Richard E Grant and Boyd Holbrook. Usually I might find myself feeling a bit bored or distracted during slow moments of high-intensity action movies but I found myself totally invested during this film. The scenes between Logan, Charles and Laura were full of touching moments that really brought them together as a dysfunctional sort-of-family. Even British comedy favorite Steven Merchant had his time to shine as Caliban, the albino caretaker of Xavier while Logan wasn’t around.
Logan still has his healing factor of course but due to his age it has slowed down considerably and he takes a much more noticeable amount of damage than before. He’s often slow and sluggish in his movements and tears and gunshot wounds remain on his body, causing him obvious pain and discomfort. Injuries that he once shrugged off as nothing now visibly damage him, a tragic reminder of the fact that this new (old?) Logan is not the invincible killing machine that he once was. Of course he’s still a total badass during action scenes but there’s a feeling of inevitability and impending doom that grows larger and larger during each set piece, creeping up on Logan with every hit he takes.
Though he wasn’t always the most happy chap on the planet, the titular Logan is now a bitter, gruff old man. He frequently swears, takes swigs of liquor and really doesn’t have time for anyone’s nonsense. He’s at the end of his rope so to speak and when Laura shows up, you can really tell he wants nothing to do with her. He doesn’t want trouble, he just wants to buy a boat. Really. Throughout the film you do start to see Logan and Laura bond, slowly becoming more friendly towards each other, his tough outer shell cracking ever so slightly to let her in. By the end of it you’re left with a true sense of finality and closure as Logan’s story ends with a bittersweet closing chapter that’s both heartbreaking and heartwarming. The X-Men series may continue, but the story of Logan, The Wolverine, is over.
If you’re a fan of superhero movies, action movies, character studies or dramas, I think you’ll enjoy this. A well balanced mix of intense action and character building scenes with a good dynamic between the characters really help the film move along at a pace that doesn’t feel at all rushed or slow. A fitting end to the story of one of the most well known and loved characters of comic book history. It’s going to be strange not seeing Hugh Jackman playing Wolverine anymore but it had to end at some point. I’m very pleased to say that it wasn’t disappointing at all and I am very satisfied with the way the story wrapped up the way it did. We’ll miss you, Logan.
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