Logan, set in 2029, is the latest in the ever-lengthening line of X-Men movies and what I’ve got to say right off the bat is that it is by far the best movie out of all of them!
The film follows an ageing and un-healing Logan aka Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), and Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart), who has begun to suffer from a degenerative brain disease, as they are pursued across the US to get a young mutant, Laura (Dafne Keen), to safety.
What sets this film, directed by James Mangold, apart from the multitude of super-hero films that have come out in recent years is that it’s more character driven. Less is well and truly more in this case as the lack of a generic, evil, alien villain with a huge, faceless army trying to take over or destroy the planet really does benefit the film. It focuses very much on the three lead characters which is very refreshing to see in a modern comic book movie which seemingly all have huge ensemble casts these days. The more personable approach really does allow the audience to connect with the characters on a much closer level which results in quite the emotional punch.
It has to be said that Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart give undeniably their best performances as Logan and Charles respectively with each adding a whole new dimension to the portrayal of their characters. Jackman is absolutely faultless throughout and plays the ageing Logan with such passion, emotion and drive that really does stand out from the other X-Men and Wolverine movies in which he has starred.
In similar fashion, Patrick Stewart does a stellar job at portraying Xavier, adding a whole new aspect to the character, in dealing with the affliction that has set in on his ageing brain. He does a great job in evoking some emotion in parts of the film, both humorous and sorrowful, and has a wonderful chemistry with Jackman as well.
New on the scene is Dafne Keen, as the young mutant, Laura, with a very familiar power-set. She gives a steely determination to her character and can most certainly stand up for herself in this dog-eat-dog world she inhabits and really does steal the show at times, a fitting changing of the guard perhaps?
Something that is quite prominent in Logan, is the use of gore in the action scenes, very much akin to that seen in Deadpool, it is very visceral and nasty and most of all, gripping. Far too often with Marvel’s ‘kidified’ comic book movies, there is little wait behind the punches thrown and the action never results in anyone major getting hurt, which means they lack the tension and the ability to grip the audience quite as much. Logan, thankfully, does not suffer from this and in every moment of action you are drawn to the edge of your seat, hoping that the characters make it through.
It takes real skill and passion to be able to drive such an emotional performance, from both infront and behind the camera. Mangold’s directing style and the actors’ performances have allowed this western-feeling super-hero film to really punch above its weight and should be regarded as one of, if not the best super-hero movie ever made!
Logan was released in the UK on March 1, 2017