While delivering in the visceral nature of the character, Logan slightly misses a beat in Jackman’s final outing.
Marking his ninth and final outing as Logan AKA Wolverine, Hugh Jackman has solidified himself in Marvel comic book lore as the man to portray one of the finest characters emanating from the X-Men universe. Having thrust onto the scene in 2000 as the berserker rage-fuelled Wolverine, Jackman has defined the very essence of a comic book character and now, with Logan, he closes his own chapter of the role he has made his own.
Based on the Old Man Logan series of comics, Logan heads into a bleak future where the majority of mutants have been eradicated and only a select few are left to fight for their lives against those who hunt them down. Among those is Logan (Jackman), downtrodden and losing his ability to heal, looking to stay under the radar as a hired driver, while also looking after a severely aged and suffering Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) with the help of mutant tracker Caliban (Stephen Merchant).
Having lived a quiet life following the fall of the X-Man, Logan’s life soon spirals once more upon the arrival of Laura (Dafne Keen) a seemingly mute young girl who possesses very similar abilities to Logan himself. When Donald Pierce (Boyd Holbrook) arrives at his plantation looking to take Laura away, the Wolverine is soon unleashed and a cat-and-mouse scenario ensues.
Logan sees somewhat of a passing of the baton in terms of the X-Men universe, with Hugh Jackman’s impressive stint now officially at a close and a new dynamic introduced to this ever-expanding world. A film that is very much removed from the familiar superhero genre tropes, Logan instead introduces a noir drama focusing on one man’s struggle in a world he is slowly losing a grip on. This is where Logan is at its strongest; presenting a truly human and dramatically effective experience that is driven by its strong characters and their circumstances. Where it falters is when the comic book formula slowly creeps into play over the second half.
Firstly, it goes without saying that both Jackman and Stewart are on stellar form. Their interactions with one another are undeniable and the struggles that both men are experiencing are perfectly portrayed and utterly believable. The star of the show, however, is young Dafne Keen, her Wolverine hybrid as innocent as she is wholly dangerous and introducing us to glimpses of a hugely exciting new entity for the X-Men movies. When she’s muted she remains a huge intrigue and when she finally unleashes the rage we can’t help but revel in awe.
But while the re-introduction of our familiar mutants and the emergence of those new ones is a breathe of fresh air, Logan ultimately falters when it’s looking to slice and dice its way into fans heart. Admittedly, the very thought of Wolverine finally being able to hack and slash his way to a 15 rating is delightful but it soon gets old very quickly, especially when the emergence of a familiar-faced foe arrives on the scene. The first instances of such violence are glorious, each frame dashed in crimson and solidifying that Logan is still a dangerous entity, but as each moment comes the shine and gloss fades. By the film’s closing third – very much a ‘new X-Men’ story interwoven into Logan’s own plight – interest levels wane and sadly the film loses its stride.
Logan is, in its first half, a brilliantly composed drama boasting superb characters and a real sense of humanity. It is a shame however that once we enter into the closing stretches that it turns into an entity that feels less refreshing and slightly disappointing. A fond farewell to Jackman as Logan no doubt, but one that could have been executed with much more.
Logan is out on DVD and Blu-ray from Monday 10th July.