In the near future, a weary Logan cares for an ailing Professor X, somewhere on the Mexican border. However, Logan's attempts to hide from the world, and his legacy, are upended when a young mutant arrives, pursued by dark forces.
In 2029 the mutant population has shrunken significantly due to genetically modified plants designed to reduce mutant powers and the X-Men have disbanded. Logan, whose power to self-heal is dwindling, has surrendered himself to alcohol and now earns a living as a chauffeur. He takes care of the ailing old Professor X whom he keeps hidden away. One day, a female stranger asks Logan to drive a girl named Laura to the Canadian border. At first he refuses, but the Professor has been waiting for a long time for her to appear. Laura possesses an extraordinary fighting prowess and is in many ways like Wolverine. She is pursued by sinister figures working for a powerful corporation; this is because they made her, with Logan's DNA. A decrepit Logan is forced to ask himself if he can or even wants to put his remaining powers to good use. It would appear that in the near-future, the times in which they were able put the world to rights with razor sharp claws and telepathic powers are now over.
SPOILER: Did we need another X-Men movie? In fact did we need another Wolverine movie? Well the result is there for all to see, with Logan not only showing itself to be undoubtedly the best Wolverine venture by far, but arguably the best X-Men picture as well. If, as expected (and surely to god it's hoped so), this is the last we see of the grumpy metal clawed superhero, then what a fitting and triumphant bow out it is.
James Mangold, the director, has managed to create an adult superhero movie without it really being a superhero pic, for he has created a film noir Western that happens to be about a superhero. Mangold's love of noir and Westerns bursts from the screen, which for those who follow those wonderful stands of cinema, will come as no surprise having seen with notice his Copland and 3:10 To Yuma redux. There's a perpetual grimness to the narrative that belies the quite often stunning surrounding locales, heavy themes such as men out of time - with destinies written (cue a deft comic book movie within a comic book chunk of metaphysics) - surrogates, mental illness, human ignorance, and on it goes, the narrative strong on intelligence as much as it is in wrought emotion. Western fans will also be buoyed by the part that the 1953 classic Western Shane has to play in things, considerably so as its importance narratively, orally and visually is mightily strong.
Ah yes, well being "adult" is all well and good, but is Logan thrilling? Do we get pumped up Wolverine action, blood brains, splatter and mucho muscle flexing and pained roars of anger? Oh yes! Action from the off is never far away, and wonderfully staged and choreographed it is. Lots of memorable set-pieces, while also some cleverly constructed sequences such as Xavier's mind seizures hold court and enthral. Yet the kicker with all that is we are clued in to the emotional baggage that the side-burn sporting protag carries with him. With each fight we sense the bigger picture, even as we watch in awe the emergence of Laura (ironic film noir name right there as it happens) - and her part in this very "human" story - the thrills and spills are propelled by a meaningful but battered heart.
Tech credits are superb. Acting honours go to Jackman, who after giving 17 years of his life to the character, gives it his all and this multi faceted performance, in a perfect world, deserves Oscar recognition. Patrick Stewart, also, is immense, playing the nonagenarian Charles Xavier with such class, gracefulness and storming emotion that one can only admire. Film debutante Dafne Keen as Laura is utterly engrossing, quite a debut indeed, whilst Stephen Merchant as albino mutant tracker Caliban is effective to the point we hanker for more. Although the villains fronted by Boyd Holbrook (rote henchman leader) and Richard E. Grant (smarmy scientist git) just about pass muster, there's nothing to damage the piece. Cinematography (John Mathieson) is "A" grade, the filters set on neo-noir, with the splendid film noir black and white version a fillip for the heart of noir lovers. All that is left is for the sound mix to boom and the director to steer with heart, brain and soul, without doubt both come up trumps.
One of 2017s best films, a genre splicer that ticks all the boxes of great film making. 10/10
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