Like a lot of folks I jumped at the chance of seeing the latest outing for Wolverine at the 10:23pm showing of Logan in the hope of seeing a fitting end to Hugh Jackman’s run.
Opening with a world-weary, aging Logan going through the motions in his day/night job as a Limo driver, we’re soon caught up in the unwanted attention that still haunts him. The methods in his apparent madness quickly come into view though as his main goal is to take care of the frail figure of Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) with the help of fellow mutant Caliban (Stephen Merchant) but when age takes its toll on one of the most powerful mutants in the world its got its own pitfalls for them to handle. Logan’s own health isn’t exactly at its best as the long-term effects of an Adamantium skeleton sees him being slowly poisoned which is something even his own healing factor can’t overcome as quickly as it once did.
That slow, easy setup is shattered when Logan is approached for help and we’re swiftly introduced to X-23/Laura (Dafne Keen) who embodies more rage than I think even Logan has shown in the movies so far. Laura is far more special than they realize though and the attention of Donald Pierce (Boyd Holbrook) as he heads up The Reavers sees us step up a few gears and into a western/road movie. While the trio are firmly focused on escaping the unwanted attention of Pierce and his gang, it’s here that we step out of that comic-book movie shadow and into a genuine movie experience that helps blur the lines of those genres with an impressive level of ease.
Up until now we’ve had a fairly solid run of comic book movies released with some trip ups along the way and the X-Men & Wolverine franchises are no strangers to that form either but this film marks a significant change in quality and depth that comic-book movies can have. Staying true enough to the source material and their central characters while pushing the boundaries into mainstream in a way that doesn’t seem to have been attempted before.
The cast do a great job at balancing their pasts & current predicaments and the story lets the relationships blossom over it’s 140-minute run-time which seemed to fly by for me. Logan & Charles embody an Odd Couple dynamic to their interactions with an even balance of care & frustration from both sides and while we cruise through the movie with them there’s a definite sense of finality to their actions which builds an element of sadness from the very beginning. That’s broken up with the Logan & Laura relationship that grows like Joel & Ellie’s in ‘The Last of Us’ and in the end it’s peppered with just the right amount of interference by the villains to keep the momentum strongly in it’s favour.
The relentless pursuit by The Reavers and their backer Dr. Rice (Richard E.Grant) sheds a light on a far more complex origin for Laura and her friends and as the movie closes out, the sense of a torch being passed is tangible as the tears are wiped away by both cast and viewers. The violence in the movie and in fact the whole tone of the movie owes a debt to the likes of Deadpool which paved the way for removing the shackles of hitting that PG-13 target audience and just creating something that rings true without a desperate need to hit the box office for a quick easy return. Instead, they’ve reached & exceeded the goal of making a great movie that can appeal to all and allow the traits of the characters we know and love to come to the surface and smash through it.
Where something like Winter Soldier has been a benchmark for the quality a comic-book movie can embrace, it’s Logan that takes things to a whole new level and while it is probably the best Wolverine movie by far….it may also be the best X-Men movie too. The whole cast are on point but Hugh Jackman & Patrick Stewart in particular offer something special in this outing for their comic-book persona’s that breathe life into characters that seem to have had struggled to find the the right outlet on-screen. You’ve GOT to give a nod to writer/director James Mangold too – as he has gitfted us a comic-book movie with strong characters, meaningful events and a new favourite movie to see multiple times on the big screen.