Logan ★★★★

For some reason, this was a bit hard to write, so I apologise in advance for the torrent of ideas about to come over. I've never been a fan of the Wolverine character simply because I find other X-Men to be far more interesting and because I quickly get tired of his feral tantrums. While I've always understood the central role he played during the first three entries of the franchise, I did find the idea of the Wolverine stand-alone films to be nothing but mere cash-grabbers. This became true when X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009) premiered in such a messy way, yet the character and Jackman's potential were too strong to be thrown away like that, hence his return for 2014's X-Men: Days of Future Past and his stand-alone follow-up The Wolverine (2013), which obviously intended to continue Logan's patched-up saga. However, that instalment proved to be better than expected, mainly due to Mangold's vision focused on testing Wolverine both physically and mentally, a trait that is far more developed and interesting in this new and last entry.

With Logan, Mangold deviates from the previous films ―and most superhero films, for that matter― to deliver a Western-influenced gritty road-trip tale that does wonders for Wolverine’s persona and takes the characters into new directions, pretty much like Nolan's Batman trilogy did for the Dark Knight. While the action sequences are well shot, violent and fantastic enough to keep your eyes open, finally fitting in what a Wolverine film should be like, it is the dramatic moments where the film works best, especially during its first half. Despite being more of the same, Jackman has never been stronger: thanks to the amount of years he's been tied to the mutant, he's managed to build his own Wolverine and transform him into something flexible, vulnerable and raw that feels more human than most of the heroes we've seen on screen. Nevertheless, it’s inevitable to have all eyes on Stewart’s Xavier, who effortlessly steals every scene he appears in; and on newcomer Dafne Keen, whose intense, vicious and explosive performance is more than enough to turn the scales in her favour whenever she shares time with Jackman. And it is precisely the relationship between Logan and Laura/X-23 where the film walks a fine line: it works for the purposes of the film, yet it does feel like something is missing and it falls somewhat short towards the end, thus diminishing the emotional gut-punch that is supposed to happen. It’s a borderline subtlety, as the lack of time to develop their bond also contributes to Logan’s tragedy in finding something he might start to care about just to lose it immediately (which works both ways too).

In terms of the villains, these may be pretty standard, but they’re alright by any means if you consider where the film is heading: the heart of Logan lies in the battles he has with himself, as he comes to terms with his human condition and the fact that not everything is always about him, as Magneto would say. Yet Mangold has managed to make it all about him, as Logan definitely sets a new path for the superhero genre that Marvel, Fox and other studios will have to consider from now on, a path where it is much more about light, darkness and what's in between, than about punching some bad guys dressed in capes, boots and gowns; more about saving themselves than saving the world.

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