Phil’s (Not So) Quick Capsule Review:
Logan is a violent film. If you are expecting the standard PG-13 rated X-Men franchise cartoon action and happy endings then this may not be for you. Because what you have here is a full on R rated swear fest with some pretty hardcore claws through the face, arm ripping off, Wolverine action that comic book fans have been waiting for since the character first stepped onto the big screen.
A sequel of sorts to the whole X-Men universe but without ever needing to be propped up on the weight of the series mythology, Logan takes the ball that Deadpool threw out last year and runs with it. Deadpool showed that there was a huge market for a more mature comic book adapation and whilst that film added humour to pepper it’s violence, Logan just goes all in on the blood and guts. That’s not to say the film has no laughs. It does. But usually they are dark humoured and surrounded by limbs being severed.
Logan is the Unforgiven of superhero films, a latter day John Wayne western that tracks the broken hero of old on one last quest. It’s moody, it’s full of long drawn out moments and it’s unlike any comic book adaptation you have ever seen. And this is it’s major strength. It a world where these films are generic and cookie cutter, Logan takes the format and throws it away. Yeah it keeps elements of what we expect but for the most part the film remains grounded. It feels real. Turns out director Mangold, who delivered the almost good 2013 Wolverine film, when unshackled from the grasp of the studio can deliver the film we’ve all been waiting for.
As with most X-Men films it manages to both feel part of a wider universe but also manages to have no real connection of any actual continuity, a fact that long time X-Men fans have come to accept (Fox are like the anti-marvel in this regard). It goes without saying that Jackman, always a high point of the franchise, kills it here untethered from the family friendly films of old. He relishes every cuss word, every strike of his claw, every brutal kill. Patrick Stewart is also commanding in a role that feels like a very natural progression for the character he’s played alongside Jackman for many years. But it’s newcomer Dafne Keen who manages to steal the show as X-23. She’s completely believable in a role that sees here switch from cute kid to murderous rage filled killer.
It’s not all successful. I’m still not sold on Merchant’s casting who brings his usual one note performance here and the film could easily loose 15+ minutes as several of the action scenes, whilst fun, are repetitive. It may also been seen as a bit too bleak.
But… the film is good enough for these not to matter. This is a brave film in a genre that sometimes fails to take enough chances. It’s not afraid to give conclusions, to be brutal, to show the young X-23 in full on berserker mode.
Despite it’s few faults, the film does more than enough to warrant your attention. It’s good. Really good at times. It’s finally the Wolverine movie we’ve wanted for over 15 years.
Best Bit: Beserker.
Buy, Stream, Avoid: Buy
If You Liked this Try: The Unforgiven, The Searchers, Deadpool
Author: Phil Hobden