This is a spoiler-free review (beyond what the trailers gave away. 😋 )
Synopsis : Logan is the third installment in the X-Men spinoff Wolverine series as also the last time franchise star Hugh Jackman dons the claws.
Review : Director James Mangold and Mr. Jackman team-up for one last Wolverine film. Wolverine/Logan is a character who is defined by his ability to heal and kill. However, Logan is old now and his healing power has weakened, to the extent that his skin has scars from old wounds and fresh ones take days to heal. He is also far more weary of the world. He has lost all his friends and has turned to the bottle to forget his pain. And there is something inside him that is slowly eating him away.
It is 2029 and all the mutants, barring Logan, Prof. Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) and Caliban (Stephen Merchant), are dead. There has been no new mutant birth for the last many years. Mutantkind is on the verge of extinction. The film obliquely refers to the incident that possibly led to all the mutants dying. It is in this (literally) desolate landscape that a new kid, a mutant, arrives. Her name is Laura (Dafne Keen). Comic book readers will identify her as Laura Kinney aka X-23, the female mutant with powers like Wolverine himself. The bad guys are after her and it is up to Logan to save her. The rest of the film is about their journey, together with Prof. Xavier.
Logan, whose birth name was James Howlett, is now a rented-limousine driver in Texas. The professor is too old and Logan is taking care of him. Their interactions are rib-tickling as also pointing to the grave times they are in. The relation between Charles and Logan was revealed to be a father-son one by the director long ago, and he delivers on his promise. Charles is like the old father who doesn’t want to be dependent on medication. Logan is like the son who cares deeply for his dad while also finding his tantrums frustrating. The dynamic between Logan and Laura is, again, a parent-child one. The contrast between the two relationships makes for some fun viewing.
A Wolverine film must have great action and violence. And we get violence in spades in both the halves. There are some amazing set-pieces. Like the scene in the trailer featuring Laura. Logan is a superpowered individual. The rest of the characters too — almost all of them — are superhumans. But the beauty of this film is that it isn’t about an end-of-world scenario overloaded with CGI that superhero films have become notorious for. This is a film that is more focussed on family, guilt and love than arguably any other superhero film. Ever. To top it, the film is equal parts funny and serious, not to say gory and profane. The makers have made good use of the hard-R rating that they strove for. There are numerous maiming shots and Wolverine finally gets to poke people through their skulls on-screen. Laura isn’t too far behind. In fact, when she first gets the opportunity to bare her claws, she is so ferocious that even Wolverine pales before her.
But, as befits a good film, Logan is much more than just mindless action and swearing. Mr. Mangold had promised that this would be a Western, keeping in line with the Old Man Logan storyline by Mark Millar that inspired the film. So while we don’t have the other Marvel heroes and villains here and the plot is a lot different from the books, this is still a road movie about the former mercenary (the gunslinger of Westerns) saving an innocent person. As Prof. Xavier says in the trailer, moments with family members is what create memories. Logan is about the memories we create with our families – whether related by blood or not – and how honouring one’s commitment at all costs is the burden of the hero.
The best thing about Logan, and which I found special, is that it transcends the boundaries or clichés of its genre. Like Deadpool last year, it shows that the superhero genre can sustain itself by telling personal, smaller-scale stories that are nevertheless profound and connect with the audience on multiple levels. This is a winner.
The performances are terrific across the board. From Mr. Jackman to Mr. Stewart to newcomer Ms. Keen, everyone shines in his/her role. They’re supported by a story and a screenplay that allow them to explore their characters in ways that action-superhero films traditionally don’t. I also liked Boyd Holbrook as Donald Pierce. He was, at once, a picture of both comedy and subterranean terror. The first scene where he hangs out with Logan is surprisingly lighthearted. And Stephen Merchant as Caliban, the mutant-sensing mutant, was also spot on. But ultimately, the film belongs to Mr.Jackman. He has been synonymous with the role of Wolverine in much the same way that Robert Downey Jr. is with Iron Man, only for much longer. This role has provided him with fame and celebrity. And he repays the love that he has received in a manner befitting the character. He laughs, he talks, he fights – he makes sure your memory of him as Wolverine would be etched in your mind for years to come.
The film has also been shot beautifully. The production designer has created a landscape that reeks of destruction and loneliness. John Mathieson’s cinematography also captures the mood beautifully. Marco Beltrami’s music doesn’t knock on your ears the way a Hans Zimmer does, but it is always there, exhilarating or foreshadowing doom, as the situation demands. The director needs to be commended for making a film that embraces the soul of its lead character and unapologetically brings you the definitive Wolverine film. Fans who were disappointed with 2009’s X-Men Origins : Wolverine and less-than-satisfied with 2013’s The Wolverine can finally release a sigh of contentment. This is THE film you always wanted to see.
Genre : Superhero, Western, Action, Drama.
Verdict : Logan is a genre-bending, profound superhero film that brings the best version of its protagonist’s story to the big screen.
Trivia : The film playing on the TV in a scene is classic Western film “Shane.”
Rating : ⭐⭐⭐⭐1/2
Viewing Guide : The film is 141 minutes long. Certified ‘R,’ it has a lot of violence and profanity. Be mindful if you don’t like either of them.
Have you watched Logan? Do you agree with this review? Kindly tell me in the comments section.
Thanks for reading.
Logan Trailer :
Great review! I saw this movie over the weekend – I really loved it! It was SO violent, and usually that over-the-top violence bothers me, but I couldn’t look away from the screen. I thought the acting was excellent. It was so different than what I was expecting. It was surprising and gruesome and funny and emotional. I truly loved it!
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Yes, it brought out a range of emotions in us viewers. I loved it too.
Thank you for the appreciation. 😊
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