Claws digging deep in my heart.
Wolverine, or more specifically, Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, sits firmly in millions of fans’ hearts. From his first appearance back in X-Men to now, it has been a bumpy road but in the rough he has always been a grizzled, fantastic diamond. His solo outings have been mixed – everyone has an opinion on X-Men Origins: Wolverine, but The Wolverine gave us much to enjoy. With this, depressingly, being Jackman’s last outing, people have been hoping for years this would be bloody, violent, grounded and a perfect goodbye; and that is exactly what we got.
It’s 2029 – mutants are dying out. Logan (Hugh Jackman) works as a limo driver, whilst looking after an ageing, struggling Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart). When a young girl (Dafne Keen) with a familiar set of abilities finds Logan, he has to help her whilst being hunted by a shadowy organisation.
The film opens with Logan waking up in a car. He stumbles out, to find a group of thugs around his vehicle. This is the part where Wolverine throws down, right? Well, for the first time, he seems broken. Every time he punches he gets two more in return, until he is forced to the ground in a barrage of kicks and gun shots. Here, his fury is unleashed in the most glorious way, slicing and dicing without ease, with plenty of blood. At this point you’ll know, this is it. It’s the finest opening of any X-Men film ever – a familiar theme throughout the film – leaping forward to where Wolverine should have always been, but also raising a worrying alarm for the character.
Director James Mangold listed his inspirations for Logan, which included the likes of Little Miss Sunshine and Shane. Shane may feature in the film itself, but Logan embodies these tones to become its own, unique gift. Logan is a weak man, a shadow of the hero that led the X-Men in their greatest battles. As well as a stunningly crafted, brutal superhero film, it’s a grounded character study, and Mangold lends plenty of time to see the characters, particularly the dynamic between Logan and Xavier, develop. Boyd Halbrook’s villainous lead is a devilishly charming figure, but he fades into the mist when Wolverine goes up against other foes – they will have to remain a secret for now.
Stewart’s performance of the character is his finest yet, managing to make him compelling, but not shying away from his clear deterioration. It’s likely to pull on your heart strings, seeing such a strong figure at his lowest, but through it all he carries a sense of hope. Jackman’s last outing is one of his best performances ever also, taking the twisted hero to new depths – not highs – whilst perfecting his animalistic rage (would we ever get tired of seeing him slice someones head off?). Dafne Keen is small but carries a lot of emotional weight particularly later in the film, but as a pairing with Jackman she is a capable, near equal companion, that opened up a whole new dynamic for our favourite mutant.
As far as X-Men films go, it is without a doubt the best. As far as superhero films go, it’s up there with the elite. Jackman apparently took a pay cut to allow for the harder content, but if he loves the character – which he clearly does – this is worth it. There’s fucks, shits, decapitation, gore and no giant robots (it’ll also take more than a few tears from you). On a personal note, as a lifelong fan, it gave me everything I could have ever wanted and more.
To sum it up…
Ferocious, merciless and blood-soaked in its action, heartfelt and resonant in its narrative, Logan is perhaps the boldest, most grown up superhero film ever. For now, goodbye Hugh, and thank you.
Rating: PURE DYNAMITE!
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Author: Cameron Frew