Genre: Action and Adventure, Science Fiction
Director: James Mangold
Cast: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Richard E. Grant, Boyd Holbrook, Stephen Merchant, Dafne Keen
Release Date: March 3rd, 2017
Logan looks and feels like Quentin Tarantino’s vision of an X-Men movie. It’s peppered with profanity, laced with violence and packs a punch for those who are open to its message. It isn’t a family feature and parents who brought their children to the earlier X-Men movies should steer clear. However, the movie delivers on its premise offering hardcore fans of the character the chance to see this X-Men fully unleashed from the confines of the past.
A robbery scene at the story’s beginning sets the tone for what is to come. Logan (played for the ninth time here by Hugh Jackman, who is said to be retiring from the role) takes on a group of criminals who have messed with the wrong mutant. Their fate is far bloodier than similar criminals have faced in the past in this cinematic series.
The year is 2029 and Logan is a tired man, aggrieved by the pains of time and misfortune. He spends much of his time taking care of the ailing Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart), a former leader whose best years have passed. The duo — who once shared a great friendship — now share something much darker: a recognition that their prime years are gone and their lives are a shadow of what they once were.
When a young woman named Laura (Dafne Keen) enters Logan’s life, Logan is forced to return to action. Alongside Xavier, he tries to help this lost soul find a refuge from the vigilantes who are pursuing her.
James Mangold, who directed and wrote the story for this (alongside screenwriters Scott Frank and Michael Green) recharges the story of Wolverine with a look at this ailing fighter who longs for a good night’s rest. The tone is darker and more violent and it admittedly takes some time to adjust to the language that both Logan and Xavier consistently use.
At first, it’s hard to reconcile these pained and vulgar characters as the same ones that Jackman and Stewart have been playing for nearly two decades. But viewers will be rewarded if they see beyond the past and envision this as its own unique take on the characters.
The script is packed with risky choices (and emotional moments) but these only serve to underline the stakes at play here. This isn’t a movie where the good guys always win and the bad ones are vanquished without sacrifices. There are plenty of sacrifices here.
Even in the midst of the action, this movie never becomes a simplistic feature where the X-Men are fighting at their full strength and the villains are powerless to cause any real damage. It’s the story of two heroes who are facing their toughest opponents, the twilight of their lives and the consequences of their past. There’s a powerful recognition here that these heroes are facing their own personal demons here and recognizing their own flaws.
When Logan tells Laura that he’s hurt people in the past, she responds that she’s done the same but to bad people. He responds, “You’re gonna have to learn how to deal with that.” The film deals with that and a whole lot more but it’s also packed with strong action scenes and a great story.
Reportedly, this is the last time that Jackman will portray Wolverine and Stewart will portray Xavier. That news cast a painful shadow over this feature. If that’s true, this story serves up a strong ending for their work in this franchise.
Logan strips down its heroes — both its lead character and Professor Xavier– to their core showing the faults and frailties of these men who seemed so impervious to age and indignity in years past. It’s why this film stands out so grandly.
Review by: John Hanlon