With the success of last year’s Deadpool Fox felt confident enough that higher rated, violent and sweary superhero films were a viable option. And so, we have Logan. Leading this year’s selection of superhero films (well, as long as you don’t count Lego Batman) it has a 15 rating in the UK and is intended to be the last appearance of both Hugh Jackman’s Logan as well as Patrick Stewart Charles Xavier.
Loosely inspired by the comic series Old Man Logan, Logan is set in 2029 which puts it about 15 years after we last saw any of the characters. While the world isn’t post apocalyptic like the story that inspired it, Logan does take place in a world without the X-Men or indeed any other superhero team.
After hanging up his tights, Logan now works as a for hire limo driver in New Mexico to make enough money to care for an old and ill Charles Xavier. Circumstances bring the mysterious Laura into their care and together they set off on a road trip to help her escape pursuit from the villainous Reavers led by Donald Pierce.
As a higher rated film than the usual superhero fare, Logan is incredibly violent with huge numbers of people being brutally stabbed and sliced apart. This really is how you’d expect Logan to fight all the time, but he’s usually substantially toned down due to the rating of the media he’s appearing in.
Director James Mangold, who also helmed the previous solo Wolverine movie, delivers a massive improvement over his last. I didn’t really care for The Wolverine at all, particularly the giant mech version of the Silver Samurai as the final fight. This time Mangold writes as well as directs, and it’s clear that this was a wise move.
Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart are both, unsurprisingly, excellent. Their depictions of older, broken versions of their respective characters both ring true and you can really feel the bond between the two. The characters and their actors have both been linked for nearly two decades and, aside from maybe Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, arguably no actors have been so definitively and excellently cast. Newcomer Dafne Keen is also pretty good as Laura, and has great chemistry with both of the leads.
A lot of people seem to be treating Logan as the end of an era, and with Hugh Jackman being the most prolific actor in a single role in superhero cinema it’s not hard to see why. After all, during Jackman’s tenure as Wolverine we’ve had three Spider-Men, two Batmen, two Supermen and so on. Jackman’s presence in the X-Men films has been a constant throughout and while some of the films have been of.. questionable quality it’s been rather reassuring to see him appear every couple of years.
My biggest regret is that Fox never followed up on the ending of Days of Future past. The revised timeline that has Cyclops and Jean Grey survive made me really hope we’d get to see all of the original X-Men cast back in action as the characters and as a team working together for the first time since X-Men 2 and with Jackman retiring (at least for now, maybe someone will drive a dump truck full of money to his house to get him back one day) it seems that that’s something we’ll never see which is a shame.
But, none of that is Logan’s fault and certainly don’t detract from it in the slightest. A most enjoyable film and a great sendoff to the iconic comic movie character of the early 21st century.