Logan ★★★★½

Blending the gritty, violent & bleak ruggedness of westerns with the silent rumination of a hard-hitting, powerfully captivating & emotionally involving drama, Hugh Jackman's swan song to his most famous role delivers a finale so fitting & memorable that fans couldn't have asked for a better conclusion, for this final instalment in the Wolverine saga isn't just the best X-Men film to date but is impressive enough to garner a spot amongst the greatest works of its genre.

Set in a dystopian future where mutants are on verge of extinction, Logan follows the eponymous mutant who is now way past his prime and spends his days working as a chauffeur while caring for the ailing Charles Xavier in an abandoned place across the border. Things are set in motion when a mysterious young girl who is being chased by an evil corporation arrives on his doorstep and, after being coerced by Xavier, Logan eventually agrees to embark on one final adventure to take her to safety.

Co-written & directed by James Mangold, the story is envisioned from a new perspective and carries a very human, personal & contemplative feel. Also admirable is the shift in tonality, pace & setting, for Logan bears more resemblance to a western, and its funeral-like quality is further enhanced by its R-rated savagery. And although Logan's own cathartic journey is undeniably compelling, it is his exquisitely handled bonding with Xavier & Laura that turns the film into a deftly layered but highly rewarding meditation on life, death & family.

Production design team contribute to its post-apocalyptic setting by keeping the set pieces & sci-fi props to its bare minimum, while the sensibly chosen locations provide more authenticity to its western iconography. Cinematography encapsulates the entire picture with a gritty ambience and methodically employs the camera as per the requirements of the scene. Editing allows the plot to unravel at its own pace & gives each character their own space to breathe freely. And last but not the least, Marco Beltrami's evocative score simply fits.

Coming to the performances, Logan finds Hugh Jackman & Patrick Stewart reprising their iconic roles of Logan/Wolverine & Charles Xavier/Professor X, respectively while Dafne Keen plays the young mutant whose arrival puts this story into motion. Jackman, in his last appearance as Logan, delivers his career-best performance and bids a perfect farewell to his signature character. Stewart chips in with a nuanced portrait of the original X-Man in what could be his final outing as well. And Keen renders her part with such ferocity that she steals all her moments with remarkable ease.

On an overall scale, Logan is an absolute rarity in modern superhero filmmaking that subverts the existing tropes & defies all conventions to deliver a finale so fresh, unique & groundbreaking that it effortlessly transcends its genre. Pitched at the very divide between poetry & entertainment, it is a thoughtful, melancholic & artfully constructed cinema that exceeds all hype & expectations. To summarise it all, Logan is what a great comic book film looks like. You should take a moment. Feel it. Cherish it. Because a cinematic experience as fulfilling as this is too rare for its genre. A perfect finale. A fitting farewell. An irrefutable masterpiece. Do not miss it.

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