By Ian Morton
In Logan, we finally get the brutally raw, hauntingly gritty and heartrendingly emotional story the character deserves.
Loosely based on the comic, ‘Old Man Logan’, the plot follows The Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) as he struggles to care for a deteriorating Professor X (Patrick Stewart) and escort a young mutant to safety in the wake of mutant extinction.
Having successfully directed The Wolverine back in 2013, James Mangold is back at the helm as we say goodbye to Hugh Jackman in the lead role. Wrapping up the lifeline of one of the most beloved comic characters onscreen isn’t something that many people would want or even get a chance to do – but thankfully Mangold does justice to the character with a respectful and thoroughly enjoyable take on a beloved story line from Wolverine lore.
From a visual standpoint, the film is stunning. Opting to go for a raw and gritty approach, the cinematography goes hand in hand with the story, shaping the tone through live visual effects rather than CGI generated worlds. This straight away adds depth as it grounds the audience rather than whisks them away to a mystical realm. Once gripped, you are then taken on a journey filled with highs and lows you wouldn’t typically expect from a superhero adventure.
Swapping things round a little, the narrative follows our main protagonist on an escort mission rather than your typical ‘baddie vs goodie’ trope. The simple benefit of this type of story is that it gives an unpredictability that will keep you hooked until the final credits role. While many will say that the dark, brooding pace of the film lends itself the same criticism as The Wolverine, within this setting it works perfectly as Mangold bucks the trend to tell a different type of story altogether.
Thankfully, the main story does benefit from the two things the studios were afraid to do; an R-rating and non-franchise lead design. With Deadpool pushing the envelope last year, Logan was given the chance to get his claws dirty but unlike many expected, reigns it in when it needs to. The result here is that we are finally given a Wolverine film that does justice to the character while at the same time remaining grounded and true to the tone it’s trying to create. The added benefit of not having to be stuck within a franchise model rounds the story nicely, defining actions and events rather than raising more questions based on the inevitable sequels.
While it may be the last time Hugh Jackman wears the claws, it doesn’t stop him from giving his best performance as the character. Unlike most of the other movies, Logan is faced with a string of different situations to those before and as such, allows Jackman to show off his acting talent. Patrick Stewart is once again on form as the ailing Professor X while newcomer Dafne Keen shows that she could be more than capable of taking over now that Jackman has gone. With fleeting but integral performances from Boyd Holbrook and Richard E. Grant, its safe to say that we were always in good hands.
Joining the likes of Guardians of the Galaxy and last years Deadpool, Logan has managed to turn the genre on its head once again and prove that comic book films can have a depth that many thought impossible. With a compelling story and great direction, it gives us the perfect platform to say good bye to one of the first comic book actors. 4 out of 5 stars.