James Mangold’s Logan, the third Wolverine solo film in the X-Men series, seems to take place after the events of Days of Future Past. Yes, so did X-Men: Apocalypse, but this one more specifically takes place after the altered version of DOFP‘s future storyline – the one with the “old” cast – where everything’s fine again, all the characters who died didn’t actually die, the Sentinels never attacked, and so on. Sadly, I’m told that this will be the final movie to ever feature the old X-Men and that it’s Young Xavier and company from here on out. As for this being Hugh Jackman‘s final time as Logan/Wolverine, I believe he deserves the break after 17 years of the same thing.
The movie is loosely based on the 2008 Wolverine storyline Old Man Logan by Mark Millar (Kick-Ass, Wanted). That comic book storyline took place in a world where supervillains actually defeated superheroes and split the United States up into territories ruled by different villains. Wolverine, now old, retired and lived with his family. When his family died, Wolverine came out of retirement and destroyed everyone who got in his way.
In a Children of Men-esque near future where mutant kind is going extinct, he hides with an infirm Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) on a remote farm, providing medicine for the aging professor so as to prevent seizures that, seeing as they’re happening to the world’s most powerful telepath, are significantly more dangerous than regular seizures. The two are kept safe by Caliban (Stephen Merchant), a mutant-tracker who may or may not be the same Caliban who runs the mutant trafficking business in X-Men: Apocalypse.
The acting in this movie is just spectacular. Patrick Stewart steals the show as Charles Xavier. He has played this role many times before but playing the character as a dementia-ridden old man who has a tragedy that his own brain has hidden from him makes for a fascinating character study. Seriously, this is Stewart’s defining moment as Charles Xavier and might be one of the best acting moments in any comic book movie.
The standout is, of course, newcomer Dafne Keen as Laura Kinney. I’ve seen some reactionary chat along the lines of “Will Logan be the first superhero movie to be nominated for Best Picture!?!?” (no), but if Keen got a surprise nod in the acting categories, it genuinely wouldn’t seem like such a terrible shout on first viewing (though it’s obviously too early to say).
What holds Logan back from being the “masterpiece” many are prematurely claiming it to be is the fact that the quality dips noticeably as the film goes on. For a start, like all superhero films clocking in at two hours and twenty minutes, it’s twenty minutes too long. The “rest and recuperation” section drags, as does its neighbouring, all-too-standard sacrificial lamb sequence.
All in all, I’d recommend Logan to any high-octane film fan. X-Men and Marvel fans I’m sure will be all over it regardless, but if an X-Men virgin and regular critic of the genre such as myself can enjoy its hard-hitting set pieces, interesting character development, and freshly dark tone, then that can only be a good sign.
Rating – 4 out of 5