Director: James Mangold
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart
Review Author: Tony
Rating: 4.75 / 5 sneaky funeral whiskeys
For seventeen years Hugh Jackman has been playing the role of Wolverine since the first X-Men film dropped in 2000. Since then, Wolverine has become the poster boy for the franchise and perhaps the most fleshed out character in the series. It’s easy to see why audiences gravitated towards Wolverine as Jackman has been phenomenal in the role and Hugh’s commitment over the years to more accurately portraying the character has earned him a lot of respect from the fans.
Ever since the 90’s X-Men cartoon, Wolverine has been one of my favorite comic book characters. His mutation was dope, his metal claws were awesome, his costume was pimp and his loose cannon ways spoke to my young unpredictable nature. The dude closed ass, plain and simple. I used to wish I could grow up to be a grizzled, unhinged mutant Canadian.
For years I’ve been praying for an R rated and more adult Wolverine story. For a guy with metal knives in his hands, he’s always felt a little declawed. I’m no gore hound but I always wanted to see Wolverine dice up his enemies, turning them into ribbons of red. One of the few comic books I’ve ever read was Old Man Logan, a gritty spin-off story that told the more mature story of an older Wolverine trying to survive in a grim future where the villains have taken over and the mutant race has died out. It’s a fantastic story and one that Logan is heavily inspired by.
Set in a dystopian future where Mutants are all but extinct and society continues to fall down the shitter, we find an aging Wolverine just surviving each day as a limo driver. His healing factor has faded dramatically and his body is a collage of scars. Logan has seen better days. Logan along with fellow mutant, Caliban, serve as caretakers for a mentally ill Charles Xavier. Although ill, Charles is at his most dangerous as his seizures cause fatal seismic outbursts. While barely holding it together, Logan is approached by a mysterious woman and her even more mysterious daughter, Laura, seeking his help. Not far behind them is the dangerous Transigen led by the unsettling and relentless Donald Pierce. Logan’s life is soon turned upside down and he is forced down a path he never asked for.
Logan is less of a superhero film and more of a character study focusing on the titular character as he’s forced to face his past and who he is. The film seems to be heavily influenced by the classic film Shane and has a western vibe to it. This bleak world looks awfully similar to the dying days of the wild west. Jackman gives one of his finest performances to date as the most vulnerable incarnation of the character we’ve seen to date. It also helps that he’s supported by the legendary Patrick Stewart who gets to play a very loosened up Charles Xavier with a foul mouth. Dafne Keen is a revelation in her film debut as Laura, she has the meanest scowl besides the main man and wonderfully acts through the majority of the film without saying a word.
Hats off to James Mangold who insisted on making the Wolverine film he always wanted and fighting hard for it’s more mature tone. His last Wolverine film was entertaining but largely forgettable as the story never bore any major significance. Mangold shakes off the shackles of the franchise and instead leaves the film ambiguous as to whether it’s in the same universe as the previous x-men films, this is Logan’s story and Mangold never loses sight of that.
The fight scenes are incredible as they are perfectly captured and really well choreographed. Logan takes more licks than he dishes out, the only difference is what he dishes out is far more lethal. From the opening scene, you realise just how visceral the film is going to be as Logan turn’s a couple of Mexican Gansta’s into Swiss cheese. We get to truly see the inner beast that Logan has within him as the less control he has, the more dangerous he is.
Logan somehow managed to far exceed my expectations as I laughed, winced and fought back tears at this roller coaster of a film. Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart have both announced that they are retiring the characters after this film and I truly believe that Mangold has given them the swan song they deserve.