“Logan, you still have time”: ‘Logan’ Review
After 17 years on inhabiting the character of everyone’s favorite adamantium wielding mutant, Hugh Jackman is taking off the claws with Logan and it's clear that he's saved the best for last.
Directed by James Mangold (Walk the Line, 3:10 to Yuma, The Wolverine) from a script by Scott Frank, Michael Green, and Mangold, Logan is a striking piece of high art that feels more like a brutal noir western rather than a superhero film. The obvious influence, to the point, that Mangold includes it in the movie is Shane, but Logan also feels like a modern Unforgiven. A beautiful thesis on what the Wolverine character means to Jackman and its place in the X universe.
In the near future, an older Logan (Hugh Jackman) cares for a dying Professor X (Sir Patrick Stewart) in a world where mutants are all but extinct. But when Logan meets a young girl named Laura (a scene-stealing Dafne Keen), it is up to them to transport her to a safe haven known as Eden.
With a hard R rating and a focus on character, Logan should be applauded for subverting the genre with a statement on mortality, fragility, and family. Mangold’s film goes for broke in violence, but it also aspires to reach for a deeper meaning with thoughts on existence, redemption and the promise of new beginnings. Just like Unforgiven was Clint Eastwood’s summation on what the western genre means to him, Logan is Jackman’s thesis on who Wolverine is: a reluctant warrior, who’s violent, but who’ll go to war to protect those that he cares about.
Mangold’s decision to have Logan be a smaller film, scale wise, and be more of character piece is one that pays off in spades with a thrilling finale that is both emotionally gut-wrenching and utterly moving. But even if it scales down on the action that doesn’t mean that Logan isn’t without its thrilling action sequences – which include car chases, shootouts, and gory Wolverine mayhem.
Stewart, as an older Professor X, gives one of his most emotionally involving performances and his relationship with Jackman is the absolute beating heart of the film. At times student/mentor and even father/son, it’s a relationship that has all the weight of 17 years of wonderfully portraying these characters. Keen, like Laura, absolutely shines and steals scenes with a role that amazingly brings out her most ferocious sensibilities for a knockout performance. But this is the Jackman show, and his swan song as Wolverine is one for the ages: a performance that shows Wolverine at his weakest, most emotionally vulnerable but also being the best at what he does. It’s a somber, heavier take on the character that Jackman portrays with grace and subtlety and every single scene he’s on the screen you can just feel his total commitment to ending out Wolverine’s story the right way.
With a winning and emotional performance from Jackman and a brave direction to focus on character, Logan is a stylish film that ranks as a seminal piece in the comic book genre. Fearless, gripping and beautifully rendered, this is the classic X-Men character as you’ve never seen him before. With its unflinching tone and spellbinding emotion, Logan is a film that isn’t afraid to take powerful risks, and when it does, it works brilliantly.