The last hurrah for both Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart as they say goodbye to their beloved Marvel characters, Logan takes place in 2029 at a time where mutants are pretty much all gone and a grizzled, noticeably older Wolverine works as a driver and tends to the ailing Professor X. He soon becomes aware of a shadowy organisation who have taken a special interest in a young girl who possesses similar abilities as that of Logan and he, Charles and the girl, Laura, take off on a road trip, journeying up north to an apparent safe haven for mutantkind.
The film is directed very well by James Mangold; it is visually pleasing and his western influences are apparent and laudable. Both Mangold and Hugh Jackman thought of Unforgiven as their main inspiration, what they wanted to channel in this film, and some comparisons can indeed be made between the two. Logan also references Shane quite heavily and although I only know the basic premise of the latter (having put off seeing it for far too long), I understand and appreciate the inspiration. Plus, given its western influences, it can also be compared to a samurai film as Logan is essentially an ageing, masterless wanderer who takes on a risky assignment.
The film works well as a solid stand-alone film and includes just enough references to previous X-Men events. There is also some subtle intertextuality as Laura has a couple of X-Men comics and it fits nicely into the film, far from the brash fourth wall breaking and self referential nature of Deadpool. It does well in presenting themes of loneliness and the need for family, much as this year’s The LEGO Batman Movie did, as well as getting old and finding yourself alone in the world.
Logan is certainly not for kids as the film is as brutal as can be (without going overboard) and blood really does splatter quite a bit. There’s also a tiny bit of nudity and a very generous amount of f-bombs that would put Deadpool to shame, all of which is very welcome as it makes Logan a dark, gritty, mature film that doesn’t compromise or dumb down.
And contrary to my initial objections, Patrick Stewart dropping a fair amount of f-bombs was perfectly fine and it all fitted in nicely with the tone of the film.
This, of course, is Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart ‘s last outing as Logan and Xavier and they are both great, as one can obviously expect. As “Old Man Logan” Jackman plays a compelling new version of his famous character, far less agile than he used to be (no death defying leaps through the air here, no siree!), constantly beaten down and bloodied. The character design is excellent and Jackman is perfectly at home playing his most beloved role with depth, fallability and respect. The professor is also in the same predicament; as a nonogenarian, his mind is slowly falling apart and is far more fragile, vulnerable and beaten down than ever before. Patrick Stewart injects a great deal of empathy into his character and like Jackman, this is a whole new version of his character.
The antagonists are alright; Boyd Holbrook makes for a suitably smarmy, swaggering villain, though ultimately he’s a bit of a glorified henchman, and Richard E. Grant just does what Richard E. Grant does nowadays which is being an aloof, slimy, villainous head of a sinister organisation, the “grand plan” of which is pretty standard, nothing too adventurous. Plus, Stephen Merchant makes a welcome appearance as ally mutant Caliban.
I feel it necessary to admit that although Logan was one of my most anticipated films of 2017 and knowing that many have greatly sung the film’s praises, while this is a great film and I have no major issues with it, it didn’t quite live up to expectations for me. Honestly, I wanted to have been moved to tears by the end but I was ultimately pretty unfazed by it all, though the emotional moments are indeed pure and heartfelt. I didn’t particularly see much “wow factor” and I don’t think that I appreciated it as much as others have.