Starring: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Dafne Keen
Director: James Mangold
Running Time: 137 mins
Logan is an American film following Wolverine and an ailing Charles Xavier in the year 2029, by which time the prevalence of mutants has been heavily depleted. However, when one young mutant comes along, they set out to save the last of their kind, all the while pursued by ruthless forces.
It’s third time lucky for the Wolverine, because we’ve finally got a solo movie for the X-Men’s most beloved character that fully achieves what it sets out to do. Intensely violent and gritty from start to finish, Logan is a thrilling and powerfully dramatic film that finally brings the gravitas and depth worthy of such a great character, making for an utterly exhilarating watch.
The greatest thing about Logan, however, is the fact that it’s not a superhero movie. Yes, there’s some amazing action and allusions to the X-Men universe, but at its core, this is an out-and-out character piece focusing on Logan as he grows more tired and weary of his long and guilt-ridden life.
However, that makes it absolutely fascinating to watch, and brings a level of dramatic depth and intrigue that we’ve never seen before in the comic book genre. From start to finish, Hugh Jackman does an incredible job at bringing his character’s exhaustion to light, giving a gritty and battle-hardened performance that fits in perfectly with the film’s heavy-going tone, and makes the dramatic assessment of the character all the more powerful.
And what’s more is that the Wolverine is a very different person in this film than the one we know from the main X-Men movies. Whilst he’s still got a gruff strength and personality, there’s a lot less focus on his charisma as a superhero and more on how he has begun to struggle quite seriously with his inner demons over the last decade or so, something amazingly apparent on screen, and finally achieving a compelling detailing of the character’s guilt, unlike the previous two Wolverine solo outings.
Alongside Hugh Jackman are two other fantastic performances. Patrick Stewart is stunning in a very nuanced and often even hard-to-watch turn as a Charles Xavier struggling with a degenerative brain disease, verging on death. His performance matches the dramatic heft of Jackman’s, and adds significantly to the film’s tender and emotional core, which was brilliant to see.
Also, Dafne Keen is unexpectedly brilliant as the young mutant who Wolverine and Xavier take in. I won’t give anything away, but I have to say that the young actress does a fantastic job in a very wide-ranging performance. She brings some excellent comic relief at moments, she barely speaks a word throughout the movie, instead bringing the darker side of her character’s story through in a subtly powerful performance, and she works fantastically in the action sequences.
One other person that we mustn’t forget ti commend for this film is the director: James Mangold. Although he brought a fun, blockbuster image to The Wolverine, what he does with Logan is truly stunning. This movie’s main objective is to be a quiet, intelligent and powerfully dramatic experience whilst mixing with an action and crime-oriented plot. It may sound simple, but the only time we’ve seen such a feat pulled off before is Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight.
However, Mangold does the job exceptionally with Logan, and brings that powerfully gritty and emotionally heavy-going atmosphere to the film in such a bold manner. This movie has no qualms about being exceptionally violent and dark, nor does it ever cheapen its quieter, more human story with superhero movie tropes, and that’s what makes it such a compelling, exciting, powerful and thrillingly original film, which is why I’m giving it an 8.5 overall.