This is what Wolverine fans have been waiting for all along. In the grittiest, bloodiest and arguably most accurate portrayal yet, the metal-boned anti-hero is drawn into the reluctant protector role again in an almost unrelenting stream of violent slashing and death. It’s great.
In the near distant future Logan aka Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) is looking after an aging Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) who is suffering from dementia and dangerous seizures. His brain is described as “a weapon of mass destruction” - and it really is.
Logan is sick; he’s drinking heavily and something is “poisoning” him from the inside. He limps physically and emotionally through, not seeking help, just waiting for it all to end. But along comes a young mutant girl to give him something to get- even more- angry about.
A shadowy military organisation getting up to some insidious activities in Mexico is after the girl so they go on the run. And to an impressive and well placed score at that. From up and coming Uruguayan Santi Mostaffa to American folk singer Jim Croce it depicts a Western genre blended with gritty fast-paced thriller. What more could you want? Johnny Cash. Tick.
Director James Mangold gives us something hugely more engaging, stylish and with more character depth than his first X-men outing The Wolverine. He cited Darren Aronofsky’s The Wrestler as one of the influences for Logan which is clearly visible throughout. Both Logan and Randy Robinson are closely knit- hard, rumbling, heart-wrenching characters who just need a hug that will be inevitably be sneered at.
The mood is dark and aggressive with moments of well-timed, perceptive humour. Professor Xavier is the anti-Logan, all light and positivity even in the most treacherous situations, while Logan refuses to see it in even the most favourable environments. Preteen mutant Laura (Dafne Keen) is Logan in female bitesize; the difference being she longs to be loved, something he has long accepted he’ll never have.
Casting did so well to find British Dafne Keen, a then 10-year-old bilingual acrobat and gymnast, you might wonder if they found the girl and then based the film around her. It was actually a slog- Mangold auditioned over 500 kids before he started searching in Spain and found Keen living with her British actor father Will Keen. She is so skilled who knows what avenue she will take in life.
Logan is not-just-another-comic-book-movie. Go to it if you like a good thriller and go to it if you hate watching the same generic Hollywood plot play out. The blockbuster is being reborn; what you expect is still there just not how you’d expect it. You can see it in the self-aware, tongue in cheek Guardians of the Galaxy, John Wick, and Mad Max: Fury Road. And regardless of that, the raw carnage on show is a delight for the senses.
Logan is showing now.