Logan is, without a doubt, the best of the three Wolverine movies. In fairness, the previous two didn’t so much set the bar low as they did bury it underground to be headbutted by confused moles, but still, it had to be said. I would go further though: as far as I’m concerned this is the best X-Men movie full stop, beating even X-2 which up until now held the top spot for me.
It achieves this by being a different kind of movie altogether to the usual X-Men fare. If you go into this hoping for a superhero movie, you are going to be disappointed. This is a movie about people, people who just so happen to have abilities. There are fight scenes aplenty, which I’ll come to in a moment. What stands out about this film, above and beyond most superhero movies and, indeed, many films in general, is the strength of the characterisation.
And what characters. Patrick Stewart does a stunning turn as Charles Xavier, whose mind is slowly deteriorating and, as a result, can be incredibly dangerous for everyone around him when he has one of his “seizures”. You never know what he is going to be from one moment to the next: from the cantankerous old man whose sarcasm and insults got some of the biggest laughs in the cinema, to the teacher and inspiring figure of old, to someone struggling to cope with both age and the knowledge that his mind is slowly failing him at last.
Laura: a girl who at first does not talk at all, and has little understanding of the wider world or, indeed, the difference between right and wrong, struggling with the rage and savage instincts that she has been “gifted” with. Then there is Caliban: a brilliant performance from the underrated talent that is Stephen Merchant.
And finally Logan himself: his body failing, seemingly intent on drinking himself to death, seeming to care about very little. Watching his character change as they travel across America, both the presence of Laura and the words of Xavier slowly getting under his skin, was fascinating. It’s not a push to say that this is the best performance that Hugh Jackman has ever put in as the character, and one of his finest as an actor.
The fighting is not full of spectacle, but rather everything that it should be in a film about a man with adamantium claws and the power of regeneration. It is up close, extremely bloody and personal. Heads are split and severed, limbs torn apart, bellies ripped open. Yet it’s not gratuitous: this is how it would be, and the fact that the film isn’t shy about showing that makes it all the more powerful.
The conclusion is incredibly heartfelt. I’ve worked hard to avoid spoiling the film for any who haven’t seen it, but trust me: you will definitely be moved by it.
Logan is an incredible film, and perhaps a fitting end to this current run in the X-Men universe. Definitely go see it.