Warning: hints of spoilers (and possibly some straight up spoilers) in this Logan review…
Logan, aka X-Men’s Wolverine, and played by Hugh Jackman, has been a beloved character for the last 17 years. So it was with a heavy heart that this blogging elf went to see the last Wolverine film at the weekend. It didn’t disappoint, but it did feel very different from Marvel films. It breaks so many of the conventions that we’ve come to know of the films – for instance, there’s no post-credits scene teasing another film from the Marvel Universe and when the film is over, it really does feel over.
Can I just start by saying that this is one of the most goosebump-inducing trailers of all time. I mean, a Johnny Cash soundtrack always helps… but you already know that this is a VERY different superhero film…
Wolverine has never been an orthodox hero. It takes him ages to join the X Men (remember that awesome scene in X-Men Days of Future Past where Magneto and Professor X try and recruit him) and even when he does, he doesn’t always play by their rules. This is why it’s such a shame that there will never be a Deadpool/Logan crossover film. They’d suit each other so well. In fact, Deadpool’s Ryan Reynolds has expressed his sadness that this looks like it’s off the cards completely now:
“I have no idea if I can change his mind. It’s the audience: I would exclusively exploit that relationship to get Hugh back for another one.”
But Jackman is adamant about jacking in Wolverine. When asked about the possibility of a film about the two characters, Jackman replied,
“No, and Ryan [Reynolds] is currently sleeping outside my house. Look, if that movie had appeared 10 years ago, probably a different story, but I knew two and a half years ago that this was the last one. The first call I made was to [‘Logan’ director James Mangold]. I said, ‘Jim, I got one more shot at this,’ and as soon as Jim came up with the idea and we worked on it, I was never more excited. But, it feels like the right time. ‘Deadpool,’ go for it man, do your thing. You don’t need me.”
But anyway, back to Logan. The film is more like a Western than a typical X-Men film, which is probably why the title is simply ‘Logan’. It’s a moving and grown up film about ageing superheroes overcoming the demons of their past to give a future to the next generation. It’s 2029 and Logan is now a grizzled older man, which given that he’s probably about 200 years old by now, is hardly surprising. He’s also quite clearly depressed, his claws aren’t working like they used to and he’s drinking far too much. Much like an old dog (/wolf?), he looks like he just wants to curl up in a corner and die.
And the feels, oh the feels. I defy anyone to come out of that film without a lump in their throat at the very least. There’s this girl, you see, and when you discover more about her life and then couple that with the ending of the film… *bites fist and holds back tears again* It’s beautifully played.
The young actress, Dafne Keen, plays Laura and as you’ll know from the trailers, she’s very similar to Logan. Prof X says so. This cute, inconspicuous English-Spanish actress is just 12 years old. This is her first film. Imagine that! She doesn’t say much and despite being near-mute she is a powerful onscreen presence. She’ll make you laugh and cry and gasp. Definitely one to watch. Fun fact, her great grandfather was Edward Curzon, 6th Earl of Howe.
Stephen Merchant – you might not know this from the trailers, but there’s an albino mutant played by Stephen Merchant. And he plays his usual gangly misfit but in a really understated way. Also very impressive.
Director James Mangold said influences on Logan included “visual reference points” of cinema: Shane (1953), The Cowboys (1972), Paper Moon (1973), The Gauntlet (1977), Little Miss Sunshine (2006), and The Wrestler (2008). And once you see the film, if you haven’t already, you’ll see a little of all of these masterpieces in this film. For me, I mostly saw Little Miss Sunshine and The Wrestler with a hint of Paper Moon in there too.
Unlike many of the superhero films of late, this one is not full of slick fight scenes; the fighting is visceral and dirty and bloody. With the higher certificate rating (R/15) the actors have more wiggle room when it comes to violence and swearing. And honestly, nothing will be more jarring and satisfying in equal than hearing a borderline-senile Professor X swearing like an old trooper.
I honestly believe that this is one of the best films of the year. Highly recommend, but be warned – it’s definitely, definitely not for kids!