*WARNING some spoilers ahead*
Johnny Cash’s hurt plays over the trailer for Logan, a song never more fitting to represent a film. Gone are our beloved X men we have come to know and love. No more Jean Grey, no more Cyclops and certainly no more Halle Berry as Storm. Who are we left with in this movie? Professor Charles Xavier and The Wolverine. Yet these are not the Professor and Wolverine we knew – Charles is a danger to himself and others due to Alzheimer’s. Wolverine has aged considerably, something we haven’t seen him do across 9 films… This is Logan.
I’ll be honest in saying I am not as familiar with Xmen comics (I’m more of a DC girl) I am a big fan of the movies and games as well as some of the cartoon tv series (though I really didn’t care for Xmen: Days of Future Past both the film and cartoon – going back in time to save the future has been done so many times, the concept to me is just dull). But I knew of the X-23 story…. Sort of. I must reiterate how different Logan is in comparison to the other Xmen movies!
Set in the year 2029, the film opens to show Logan (The Wolverine) looking a lot older – even though in other films he hasn’t aged at all – he appears to have a lot of physical problems from simple things like getting up from laying down, breathing, and is generally looking a bit worse for wear. Even more so when he fights – not only is it obvious he finds it difficult to move but he no longer seems to be able to recover from his wounds as he did before at least not near as quick as we know The Wolverine can. His infamous claws are weak too, painful for him to extract them let alone fight with.
We learn of these traits right at the opening credits. Logan is having to fight against Mexican thugs after they attempt to steal his tyres. From a limousine!
It made me feel instantly sad to see Logan (Played by the very handsome Hugh Jackman) this way. I’ve practically grown up watching this strong, fierce character and never have I seen him so weak and so old! It felt alien to see Wolverine struggle when usually he would slice his way through enemies no problem.
Things get even worse when we see what situation Logan is now in – he works all hours as a limousine driver (?!) to pay for things like medicine to care for Professor Charles Xavier (played once again by the wonderful Patrick Stewart) who also isn’t as we know him. Despite dying in Xmen: Last Stand (not sure the explanation for him still being alive or maybe they have just skipped that part) the Professor has Alzheimer’s which is awful for anyone to have let alone a mutant with psychic abilities. He now must take special medicines or else things get bad for those around him with a sort of kinetic wave of energy slowing all down with excruciating sounds. However, sometimes Charles doesn’t want to take his medicine and can be quite problematic indeed.
Where are the other Xmen? Or even other mutants? It’s not entirely explained in the film (Charles speaks of knowing he has hurt people at one part of the film – does this mean he accidently killed Xmen?) we do know that Logan, Charles, and Caliban (played by Stephen Merchant whose character also looks after Charles) yet Charles speaks of another mutant. She is a young girl named Laura and ends up in Logan’s care after they discover a company named Transigen was using children to be engineered into mutants. After unable to control the children, Transigen decide to kill off their experiments but the children escape, bound for a haven named Eden.
It must be said the acting ability from young Laura (Played by Dafne Keen) is nothing but brilliant. Her ability to emote so much at the beginning of the movie, despite being mute, requires a lot of skill from any established actor let alone one so young. Laura’s (X23) mutant abilities are the same as Logan’s as some of his DNA is used to create her. She uses her claws (she also has some on her feet too) to kill anyone who stands in her way, regenerating her health just like Logan used to be able to. Her personality is just as sharp as her claws and she really shines throughout the film.
I also must mention that both Hugh Jackman’s and Patrick Stewart’s performance are equally as brilliant and dare I say, some of the best of their careers. Instantly I believed Logan’s struggle of caring for frail Charles which touches deeply when seeing how desperate things have come.
Not everything is perfect with this film, as I found the villains a little bit boring. Transigen has Richard E Grant as the owner and mad scientist after Logan and co with the help of his lackeys but just doesn’t cut it for me as a worthy enemy. Only when we discover X-24, a clone of The Wolverine does things get interesting.
After several chase sequences, a lot of rests in between and recuperating do Logan and Laura reach their destination. I don’t want to spoil the ending, but things get very emotional and I must reiterate the performances from all actors.
This isn’t really a film about super powers and super heroes. It feels as though their abilities are an oversight as the story focuses more on acceptance, aging and what the future may hold.
Logan is everything I didn’t expect. It is a wonderfully acted, polished and emotional piece that should have gained a lot more recognition than it got. It’s a powerful, heartful way for Hugh Jackman to bow out as The Wolverine even if he didn’t ever don the yellow spandex like we all wanted, instead what he gave us was Logan.