Set in a dystopia where ‘mutants’ are nearly extinct and the infamous Wolverine is an alcoholic limo driver who needs reading glasses, Logan is a moving film with a storyline that resonates more closely with our hearts than most previous films in the X-Men series. This is no typical superhero movie, director James Mangold pushes the boundaries of the genre to construct a slower-paced film with themes of love, family and the inner turmoil that comes along with them.
Hugh Jackman’s performance is powerful as always. Jackman is Wolverine but, in Logan, he is a dying Wolverine being poisoned from the inside and struggling through daily tasks. Recently, in T2: Trainspotting (2017), we were faced with the arduous subject of ageing, a theme which also recurs conspicuously throughout Logan. As a topic that is generally avoided in conversation, these films teach us to accept it as it is. Wolverine is a shell of himself compared to previous films in which he appears and for the first time the audience is uncertain as to wether or not he will survive each fight. He resents his immortality miserably, as Tithonus does from the Greek myth; begging and waiting for death. He cries “Nature made me a freak. Man made me a weapon. And God made it last too long.”
Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) himself is battling dementia and it is shocking to see one of the most omnipotent fictional characters suffer with a devastating common mental disease. The relationship between Xavier and Logan in this film is, for me, the most memorable part of the film. Logan cares for Xavier like a son cares for his sick father. The relationship is intense but familiar to so many people and is never more emotionally powerful than when they are joined by child mutant, Laura (Dafne Keen).
Laura is a badass in her own right and Keen’s portrayal of her is outstanding. The intensity which she pulls off such a deep character despite her lack of dialogue is touching and memorable, not to mention an eerie echo of the young vampire, Eli, in Let the Right One In (2008). The bond these three characters share is a touching and realistic representation of family love yet located in a dystopian world and faced with fantastical challenges. It is this combination which sets the film apart from others in the same genre. Superhero movies are generally accused of being a tool of escapism, especially today. However, in Logan, we do not escape but we are encouraged to love, a much more significant message for today.
I recommend this film to those who are fans and are not fans of Marvel movies alike and if this is the last we see of Hugh Jackman as Wolverine then I can truly say he has done the character justice and left triumphantly. This is a film about struggle and triumph and life and death, but still stays true to the genre with truly exhilarating action and epic fight scenes.