Starring: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Dafne Keen, Stephen Merchant, Boyd Holbrook, Richard E Grant,
Director: James Mangold
Logan, the man who is also known as Wolverine (Jackman), has grown old. He no longer heals so good, and he’s spending his days sleeping in his car, drinking heavily, and chauffeuring obnoxious people around near the Texas border. But we soon find out two things: he’s secretly crossing over into Mexico to take drugs and supplies to Charles Xavier (Stewart) who is fragile and having seizures, and that there’s a little girl in trouble who needs his help.
She is Laura (Keen), a girl who was born in a facility, a weaponised child with the same skills as Logan, who has a plan to get to a sanctuary called Eden where she believes she will be safe. But she can’t do it alone and worse still, the evil doctor who created her and wiped out the mutants will stop at nothing to get her back. There is little choice for Logan than to pack up Charles and the girl, and head off.
It’s kind of a weird film, really. It’s got some really great fight sequences which are very bloody, and there’s a good deal of banter between Charles and Laura and Logan. Jackman looks great as an ageing man who has lost everything and has given up on life. As a final Wolverine film, and as an action or thriller, it’s pretty functional.
But there’s something that kind of bothered me a lot. The film uses Shane (1953) as a reference quite extensively. But it doesn’t really work, as though they didn’t know what Shane was about. It’s a film which is often cited as a classic western format, about the way in which normal people can’t and shouldn’t live by the gun, so that in a community that is threatened by violence, an outsider must come, be violent, and then ultimately must leave as they cannot belong. It’s quite an insightful film about the American psyche in the 50’s. It doesn’t apply to Logan or his story, because that would then make Laura, and the children like her, the bad guys because they are weaponised, they’re not innocent or socialised. The mutants are different, and they’re the type that must be expelled in films like Shane, because they threaten the fabric of society.
I think perhaps someone just liked Shane’s speeches, and the way that he has to ride off into the sunset at the end. Because the point of Logan is that it’s Jackman’s last film as the character, so we know that something is going to happen at the end, and the film really leads up to that, sometimes to the point of being a bit odd. For example, Laura is a killing machine, and that would imply that other children like her would be also, and yet it turns out that the children are rather easily captured when it’s time for Wolverine to have his big finale battle.
OK, so it’s a flawed film. BUT, I think I’m probably the only person that cares, because action movies are all about the ride. The banter, the little moments of humour or pathos, the car chases, the big fights, and this film delivers that. And in the end, I think that’s perhaps what matters. I love that so many people love this film, I think Wolverine is such a great and enduring character, and this is a great send of to Jackman, too.
See It If: you’re a pre-sold audience, aren’t you? X-men, comic book fans and action lovers, this one is for you.