At A Glance
As the third and final instalment of Marvel comics’ favourite lupine mutant Wolverine comes to an end, you will be gripped as if clutched tightly between those adamantium claws, and equally on edge.
Directed by James Mangold
Written by Scott Frank, James Mangold, Michael Green
Released by 20th Century Fox
2017, 137 minutes
Currently available on Blu-ray and DVD
Hugh Jackman as Logan / X-24
Patrick Stewart as Charles
Dafne Keen as Laura
Boyd Holbrook as Pierce
Stephen Merchant as Caliban
Elizabeth Rodriguez as Gabriela
Richard E. Grant as Dr. Rice
Hugh Jackman as Logan will leave you howling
By Claire Bueno
Spoiler alert. This review contains plot details.
Anti-hero Wolverine first leaped onto our screens in 2000 with Brian Singer’s X-Men, Hugh Jackman embodied the part; in fact he owned it. Its sequel X2 followed again helmed by Singer in 2003, and latterly Brett Ratner’s X-Men: The Last Stand in 2006.
The Wolverine spinoff trilogy commenced in X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009), The Wolverine (2013) and Logan (2017). Jackman now on board as producer, would proclaimed his creative input, determining how this much loved character would evolve.
Noticeably, these films didn’t become bolder and more spectacular. These stories became bolder and more toned down, but heightened in violence.
These filmmakers were all about serving the story. Logan was is safe hands.
Taking the helm second time round with Jackman, is director James Mangold. Having directed Walk the Line and The Wolverine, this is a director who is interested in people. His trick, succeeding in humanising the beast, and allowing his leading man to do so.
The opening scenes reveal a very different Logan, a broken man. Also, a shadow of his former self, is Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart).
Logan reluctantly, is charged with driving recently orphaned (or so he’s lead to believe) Laura a mutant child, to safety. She’s being hunted down by a company called Transigen from which she has escaped. On the run, Logan, Professor X and Laura embark on what feels like a family road trip movie.
For me, this film feels like a high quality indie film. Spectacle thankfully is dispensed of, and the true drama lies within the relationships between these characters. Sublime.
In the comics, Wolverine is unapologetically violent, so brace yourself. Logan is the film, fans have been waiting for. The untempered violence, is brutal. There’s a decapitation within the first five minutes, and the iron-based alloy claws are unsheathed and ready to do their worse throughout the film.
But time has taken its toll, as Logan is no longer able to regenerate and repair as rapidly, from his injuries. His adamantium skeleton is poising him, ravaging his body like cancer.
In this film, Logan faces his biggest adversary; himself, in more ways than one.
For fear of losing those closest to him, Logan has built an impenetrable wall, love and affection are his mortal enemies.
Experimented on Laura, has undergone the same adamantium bonding, as Logan. She like he, has been created to become a weapon. She like he, have the same DNA. Laura, is Logan’s daughter. Logan, is in denial.
Professor X is suffering with a degenerative brain disease, making him a danger to himself and to others, and his seizures are getting worse. So here we see Logan not only ailing in health himself, but now adopting the role of a carer.
Our villains come in the shape of Transigen’s Dr Rice (Richard E. Grant) and Pierce (Boyd Holbrook). Dr Rice senior, was the man responsible for Logan’s own transformation, so you can imagine how Logan reacts when he meets Rice Jnr!
Laura has escaped the Mexican lab, who are mutating children to breed killing machines, and Transigen want their asset back.
Her nurse Gabriella (Elizabeth Rodriguez) pays Logan a large sum of money to ensure Laura’s safe passage to a destination called Eden, to reunite her with her mutant friends and escape to freedom. Logan reluctantly accepts.
It’s not the mutants who make this film compelling, it’s the humanity at the emotional core, that’s the key to its success.
If ever an actor has embodied a character, then Hugh Jackman has as Wolverine. However, in Logan who we really see is, James Howlett, the man.
His life has left him scarred, inside and out, and it shows. Jackman’s precision demonstrates this to perfection, in his nuanced portrayal.
Logan is angry, with himself, life, everything. Jackman isn’t just lashing out because it says so in the script, there’s a purpose, a meaning, a motivation. It would be a disservice to his character not to do so, and you feel that.
As for the aging, vulnerable Professor X, Patrick Stewart is simply outstanding, as he displays equal measures of fragility and strength. His lines are the most poignant in the film. He talks of being “pharmaceutically castrated,” well aware he’s being fed drugs to control his once brilliant mind. His condition acts as a sobering euphemism for Alzheimer's disease, again anchoring this story in reality.
And what of Laura (Dafne Keen). For the first two acts she is mute, enabling her to convincingly portray the physicality of a feral child and emote through her eyes and expressions. You totally invest and believe that she’s a young cub unleashed, raised to be more animal than human who lacks all sense of propriety. Keen delivers a remarkable performance.
Screenwriter and director, James Mangold has credibly delivered a solid super-hero story, with complex, multifaceted characters. He’s paid enough of a tribute to the comics, without compromising this trilogy in its own right.
“What a disappointment you are,” says Professor X to Logan. That not what can be said for this film. The only disappointment is Hugh Jackman has hung his adamantiums out to dry, but they’ve seen some action. And thanks to the power of film, his portrayal can regenerate, replay and live forever.
The father, son relationship between X and Logan has been alluded to in other films but never so closely explored. They triumphantly pull off exceptionally tender moments but doesn’t shy away from the frustration and burden of responsibility. Covertly reiterating Logan’s humanity.