The year is 2029 and, to all intents and purposes, the Wolverine is gone. The chain-smoking, wise-cracking anti-hero has been worn away by the effects of time and hard-living. The façade has fallen and the raw, damaged Logan is all that’s left.
Logan, now in the equivalent of either in his late 50s or into his 60s (remember, he’s much older than that) works as limo driver in Texas, catering for hen-parties and obnoxious rich-kids. He does this to make money to support a decaying Professor X (now in his 90s) whom Logan takes care of with another mutant named Caliban, in an abandoned compound across the Mexican border. Logan is a man who has lost everything; no new mutants have been born in twenty-five years and the remaining few are hunted down like animals. Logan is a broken man, content to care for the dementia-ridden Professor until his passing, and only then will he drink himself to death or take a more direct approach. Logan’s nihilistic daze is in danger of being lifted when a women approaches him begging for his help to protect a young girl named Laura. From there, the light (both figuratively and literally) is shined in the face of Logan who must undertake one last task before he can retire.
“Logan is a broken man, content to care for the dementia-ridden Professor until his passing”
Logan, simply put, is stark, stunning and devastating. The world is unlike anything seen in the X-Men universe before and contains just enough superhero conventions to be recognisable as belonging to it. I lost count on the number of ‘fucks’ about twenty minutes in. Huge credit must go to writer/director James Mangold for his getting the best out of both Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart. Jackman’s performance is among his best and we see a completely new side to Charles Xavier, one that is both comedic and tragic. It feels as if Mangold has been building up to this film throughout his career, having previously directed the Oscar-winning Johnny Cash biopic, Walk The Line, (Cash’s cover of Hurt is used in the trailer and the credits are scored with The Man Comes Around), a film with a oddly similar stylistic approach to Logan. Mangold was also behind the harrowing but beautiful Girl, Interrupted, another film that deals with characters balancing self-destructive urges and their obligations to others.
Logan is without a doubt the best of the three ] spin-offs, but the question is, ‘Is it the best X-Men movie?’ For me the answer is yes, with the caveat that Logan is a X-Men film by association only and has far more in common with films like The Road and Shane (the latter of which is used as a reference point within the film itself), while still containing chronological connections to other films in the franchise, especially the first X-Men film of 2000.
The only slight criticism I can find comes from the miscasting of Richard E. Grant as the antagonistic head of Transigeian Corp and the fact that it is a film inaccessible to the younger fans of the series.
Otherwise, Logan is a total triumph and as this seems to be Jackman’s last outing as the Wolverine, then one could hardly ask for a better send-off. I think it may also be time for the big-wigs at Disney to consider the future of the franchise carefully: maybe it is best to go out on top.
More like this: Children of Men (2006)