Logan’s visceral, raw and emotional story had me leaving the cinema both thoroughly satisfied and in a pleasantly melancholic mood. After so many years of growing up alongside the X-men, Logan offers a heart wrenching ending (perhaps) to that familiar and iconic world. This is a a film that staves off worn-out super hero tropes, and concludes Hugh Jackman’s stand out career as The Wolverine in a masterful style.
It’s 2029 and we are thrust into the shoes of an exhausted Wolverine, unable to adapt to a world where most of his fellow mutants have become extinct. But Logan encounters a lab engineered mutant named X-23, or Laura, and the two begin a turbulent relationship. Laura turns out to be Logan’s daughter, and he takes on responsibility for the girls – protecting her from a motley crew of villains.
The world feels as alien and unfamiliar to us as it must do for Logan, set against the gorgeous skies of a jarringly bright New Mexico desert. This choice of colour scheme and location is adoitly juxtaposed against the sad, end of an era tone, backed up by a haunting soundtrack. Piercing violins and off key piano create tension when it’s needed, while more subtle scoring evokes key themes of loneliness and family.
Jackman steals the show and your eyes are guaranteed to be glued to the screen whenever he has something to say. He is impatient with those around him, even cruel at times, but deep down, still compassionate. On top of everything he is old, both visually and physically; most evident with his diminishing healing ability and his degrading vision. This version of Wolverine is a far cry from previous films, camped up with over the top action and cheesy comic book one liners. Laura on the other hand rarely speaks, but effectively conveys her ferocious personality through her sometimes brutal actions. She also has some of the more humorous moments in the film, as she stands toe to toe with Wolverine and doesn’t put up with any of his stubbornness. Both end up realising that they have to rely on the other, and slowly become closer as the film goes on.
Patrick Stewart also gives a stellar performance, with his perfectly portrayal of a broken Charles Xavier and the shell of man he has become. The film hints to an event which cost the lives of the other X-men, a mistake that was Charles’ fault and one he could not even control. This is due to him developing a debilitating brain disease in addition to seizures that create a powerful psychic curtain, paralysing and nearly killing anyone caught in it. You can’t help but sympathise with Charles and his situation, made all the more tragic when you realise that all he ever wanted was to give mutants a home.
Make no mistake the violence here is plentiful, and the camera is not shy in showing the bloody carnage taking place on screen. Every meaty slash and crunch of bone feels weighty and impactful. What is surprising is the brevity of these sections and how they are effectively punctuated by lengthy scenes of character interactions. The film knows exactly when to introduce this quiet time allowing the audience to take a breath and simply sit down with its cast, letting us see these people as more than just archetypal Super Heroes. This refreshing move away from simple gung-ho action means that the accompanying scenes are often all the more painful and sad, elevating Logan into a film that understands the importance of restraint.
Whether you consider yourself a hard-core comic book fan or a more casual consumer of the nerd world, Logan definitely demands your attention, offering a refreshing change from the action hero formula.