Logan is filling. It’s funny, sombre, saddening, brutally gory, beautiful throughout and utterly enjoyable. It is the crescendo Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine deserves to leave on but still positions itself as a continuation of the, at times frustrating, X-Men continuity.
Let’s get this out of the way to begin with. Lifelong Wolverine fans, those that collected the figures and the comics before Jackman was plucked from Australian theatre, may not get the catharsis they want from this film. Logan isn’t the definitive Wolverine film … it’s the definitive Jackman/Wolverine film. Of course there are moments and segments of a love letter to the Wolverine but this is a celebration of this one’s particular story.
At times that story has been downright confusing and unentertaining (Origins comes to mind), whilst in others it has been boring and tepid (The Wolverine). Logan is not like its predecessors. James Mangold (co-writer and director) weaves together a film that remains entertaining throughout. And despite its brutality, its ability to slow down and its penchant for tender moments, Logan benefits from seasoned, grainier, sombre and more cynical brand of filmmaking. Mangold hasn’t produced a superhero movie but rather a western, a theme that seeps through the feature.
I’d like to illustrate the beauty and cyclical structure of Logan with a few examples of its genius. The film begins with Logan on his side, scarred, tired and on his last legs when the title comes up. The rest of the film is about a monumental journey on the aforementioned ‘last legs’. This is a film that shows significant progression with subtlety from the very get-go. Nothing feels out of place because the script has already dropped a line of dialogue about it earlier.
The action isn’t like the Avengers or like any X-Men film we’ve seen yet. It’s tighter, harsh and fast. It’s bloody, gory and full force. Mangold’s thudding camera movements thrust impact into the theatre. Whilst the story and finality of the feature will weigh heavily for months to come, and years for others, the action will resurge with time. It’s unique and shocking, especially with Dafne Keen’s Laura gets involved. But the less said about her, for your own sake, the better the experience.
Logan is a thoroughly cathartic, enveloping and pounding Wolverine story. If this really is Jackman’s last Wolverine film, money talks in the end, the studio, the star and the director have saved the best till last.