Logan is very different to what fans of the franchise has seen before.
By Jak Luke Sharp
Wolverine has now appeared in ten live-action adaptations over a seventeen-year period played by Hugh Jackman, who insists he is to finally retire from the role. Bryan Singer’s, X-Men (2000) and X-Men 2 (2003), and Brett Ratner’s disappointing X-Men: The Last Stand (2006) saw Wolverine in his first trilogy of films. He then even starred in Matthew Vaughn’s and Bryan Singer’s reboot/prequel trilogy: X-Men: First Class (2011), X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014), and most recently, X-Men: Apocalypse (2016). James Mangold’s Logan caps off Hugh Jackman’s time as the character by completing the official spin-off Wolverine trilogy, and it is a good way to end his legacy.
Logan is very different to what fans of the franchise has seen before, taking full advantage of Deadpool‘s (2016) success with a hard R-Rating (15 Certificate). Logan not only delivers a violent and raw depiction of the Wolverine character, but also takes care of its aged characters, allowing time for well-worked character development and sentiment rather than the comatose action sequences witnessed in the previous two films. It would be wrong to simply discard Logan as a mindless action flick, because it is not. There is enough heart and character study injected between the short, abrupt, and raw action pieces that set this film aside from other formulaic Marvel films. The story comes before the action, and while the film opens in bloodshed, it all adds to the story, detailing how dystopian the world has gone, and how low Logan has become. Has this happened on his own terms or by others? Is Logan a danger or a hero? Mangold manages to both capture Wolverine’s brutality (of which is in decline), and the sad, distant nature of a man who never found is place in the world.
Sir Patrick Stewart returns as a 90 year-old Charles Xavier with another enigmatic performance that highlights that Charles has issues of his own. He adds a dynamism to the father/son-like relationship between himself and Logan, both trying to come to terms with with their ageing mutant bodies. The most surprising addition is newcomer Dafne Keen, playing Laura, who is thrown Logan’s way early in the film, giving purpose to two old-timers that have drifted more into myth and legend. Her relationship with Charles and Logan makes the films best sequences, whether that be the passive aggressiveness they all share or the beautiful quaint moments of peace that do a great job of slowing the films pace. But while there are grounded performances, there is an abundance of Logan shoving his Adamantium claws into villains skulls. The violence is strong and incredibly bloody, and it ensues from the very first to the last scenes.
Despite this, the film does have some flaws. While not completely damaging the final product, the villains definitely suffer from poorly written roles. Boyd Hoolbrook does not disappoint with a great performance and Richard E. Grant is always a great screen presence, but they are both incredibly underwritten and underdeveloped. However, the film sets out to portray how and where the mutant heroes live when they are old and getting on. So, while fragments of the story is underdeveloped, the major narrative revolves around both Logan and Charles and what they have become; it succeeds. It is violent and bloody, but focusses on the characters that have lived on our screens for seventeen years, and bids farewell to actors who have given their all to these roles.