"This is what life looks like: people love each other."
This review contains spoilers
X-Men films have come and gone for the best part of two decades now, including numerous spin-offs and reboots. One thing has remained constant through it all - Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine. Logan marks the end of the line for our feral friend.
I put the spoiler alert up because the slow demise and eventual death of Wolverine is the driving force behind the plot. As Logan’s wounds no longer heal we realise he has lost the will to live, yet must do one final thing before he leaves the earth - bring a group of mutant children to safety. It all plays out so poetically that one can’t help but be moved; Logan is a powerful film even though the movies leading up to it haven’t always been that good.
This is also the first time Jackman gets to flex his dramatic muscles, and he really does the part justice. Logan is essentially a western, a tale of a reluctant stranger finding a renewed sense of selflessness, and the performances are spot on.
Patrick Stewart’s Professor X also meets his maker, killed by a man-made clone of Wolverine. Xavier is suffering from a degenerative brain disease and Stewart’s take on it is pitch perfect. Same goes for Dafne Keen who plays an 8 year old girl version of Wolverine like she’s been doing it forever. She’s one of the most striking characters in the film despite having no lines for most of it.
Mangold punctuates the story with brief but effective flashes of violence, and I’m sure many Wolverine fans are happy to see the character truly let loose one last time. It’s a bit of a gore-fest but it would be hypocritical to sanitize everything when the film often discusses the moral aspects of killing someone for the greater good.
Just when you thought you were done with superhero movies, Logan comes along and makes something new, interesting and meaningful with the material. It’s a bold strategy that very much pays off.