Logan created a lot of buzz when it was announced to be actor Hugh Jackman’s last portrayal of Wolverine. There could not have been a more fitting farewell to this iconic character who has become synonymous with Jackman.
Logan isn’t just another superhero movie, in fact the visual effects in this movie are minimal. This is what makes Logan a fantastic, fresh perspective in a genre so steeped in a particular form.
Set in the near future where there have been no mutant births for 25 years, the movie tells the story of an ageing Logan who is struggling with chronic pain and is trying to live under the radar. Working as a limo driver he lives on the Mexican border with Charles Xavier, who is stricken with a degenerative brain disorder. Logan is thrust into action when a Grabriella, a nurse who leaves a mysterious young girl with extraordinary powers, Laura (Dafne Keen) in his care. Laura is being chased by the reavers, a group of cyborg-like enforcers who work for the ominous big corporation Transigen. Led by Donald Pierce (Boyd Holbrook), they push Logan, Charles and Laura to embark on a road trip in search of a safe haven.
Logan is a dystopian- western with shades of ‘Little Miss Sunshine’. In that sense, it is a movie like no other. Thanks to director James Mangold, the impeccable Patrick Stewart (Charles Xavier) for once in the X-Men series, displays the full potential of his exemplary acting prowess. Jackman, reprising his role for the last time, manages to give a deeper perspective on the character. 11-year-old Dafne Keen, in a partly silent role, is a powerful addition to this skilled trio of actors. She moves from haunted to vulnerable, feral to innocent over the course of the film with amazing intensity for someone so young. The sections which explore this dysfunctional family form the best parts of the film.
The violence in the movie is realistic making it more horrific than any other film in this franchise. At the same time it isn’t a CGI-fueled overdose, it is tastefully scattered across the film brought out only when it seems relevant to the story. Set in the backdrop of the Mexican border combined with the racial, social and political undertones that the X Men have tried to highlight from the original comic series, this film pushes the boundaries of the genre. If other superhero movies are myths, this movie comes across as the reality on which they are based.
Director James Mangold (Walk the line, 3:10 to Yuma) brings a strong and unique vision to the film – taking well-known characters and placing them in a completely different setting. He creates moments of silence and stillness that instill suspense and a stunning cinematic landscape. The movie is well-paced and exciting without relying on fantastic costumes and the deus ex machina world-in-danger action. One has to wonder why this refreshing perspective has never been explored before (to be honest I’m not a fan of the initial X men films).
Jackman gives the performance of a lifetime. His realistic portrayal of Logan as a haunted, ageing yet dangerous man makes him the star of the film. In many ways Wolverine is a lone cowboy, a ronin of the Marvel universe and this film highlights that in a fitting tribute, a perfect walk into the sunset.
A few things to keep in mind:
- If you are expecting a visual effects-fueled, constant action, superhero flick, be warned, this film is far from that. However, it is a great movie, it does have some great action and is a refreshing break from 3D glasses.
- There is a reason it is rated R. Leave your kids at home if possible.
(As always I own no images, they belong to the respective production houses).