Ever since Hugh Jackman first made his appearance as Wolverine in X-Men, fans have been waiting for the opportunity to see the much beloved anti-hero go as berserk as his comic book alter-ego. Money talks when it comes to the film studios, however, and so for the past sixteen-years, the character has had to suffer his adamantium claws being filed down to a family friendly 12a rating. But now, for his final outing in the role, Jackman has the opportunity to appease the bloodthirsty fans with James Mangold’s rather brilliant Logan; a superhero film for adults, drenched in blood and filled with bad language.
For it, we have to thank last year’s Deadpool, which, with its runaway success at the box-office, proved that there was a bigger audience for more grown-up action films than the studios may have thought. The only problem with that, though, is that Deadpool, for all of its violence and filth, felt far from grown-up in the slightest and actually quite childish. In comparison, Logan is a sturdier final product which justifies its blood, guts and ‘fucks’ with a central story that is as touching as it is thrilling.
From the very opening scene in which Logan comes into contact with a group of car thieves, Mangold takes full advantage of the freedom afforded to him with limb-lopping, skull-piercing, blood-spurting glee. Jackman also relishes the opportunity to finally bring the more angry, more brutal, more animalistic version of Wolverine to the big-screen for the first and final time, giving a performance of great intensity that sends him out on a high note.
But, in truth, the film’s adult rating ends up being the least exciting thing about it. What’s worth mentioning far more than all of the violence and bad language, is the fact that this manages to reinvent the superhero film, making the already-tired genre feel exciting and original again.
Packaged in the form of a neo-western (if you haven’t seen Mangold’s remake of 3:10 to Yuma, do so), there’s a beautiful simplicity to the plot. With not one portal or superhero cameo in sight, this is first and foremost a story about a reluctant hero helping a young girl cross the border to safety – only this hero has some nasty sharp claws as weapons as opposed to guns. And at a time where you can’t help but think you’ve seen every superhero movie do relatively the same thing over the past ten-years, the fact that this feels fresh is Logan’s biggest achievement.
Further more, there’s a sense of finality to this that is absent from other films of this kind. Usually, when you go to see a Thor or a Captain America, you know they are going to make it through unscathed as the sequel(s) have often been announced months in advance. Here, however, the stakes are high and the jury is out as to whether or not the titular rogue will make it through in one piece. In turn, that makes the film all the more tense and nerve-shredding than any other of its kind to have been released in the last decade.
What helps matters is the simply beautiful way in which the relationship between Logan and Laura, the young girl he is forced to protect, is written. Equally performed to perfection by Jackman and Dafne Keen – the young actress easily steals the show from the lead actor – it’s this particular element which lends a great deal of heart and soul to proceedings.
Running at a lengthy two-hours-twenty, Logan breezes by and never feels long in the slightest. In fact, I could have quite comfortably spent another half-hour in the film’s company – a credit to its success if there ever was one. For fans who have been patiently waiting to see the character done justice, you’re sure to be over the moon with this bloodied and brutal story. But more importantly, if you’ve never seen an X-Men film in your life, you’ll still be able to watch this with the same level of investment and excitement as the hardcore elite.
The 2017 blockbuster season is off to an incredibly good start…