Logan

Logan ★★★★★

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

“The Statue of Liberty was a long time ago”. This is a reference to the first X-Men film, and in doing so, it’s not only reminding us where this film series has come from, but also of the very different perceptions people had of America back then and now.

The future America of Logan is a wasted land, an America full of broken dreams, where it uses Mexico to the best of its ability while shutting denying Mexico access to America. A world where Canada is the new land of hope and salvation - a Canada that, unlike America, welcomes refugees - one of the many timely parallels to the real world in this film.

For this America has turned its back on mutantkind - there are few mutants left, it seems - Wolverine, Xavier, and Caliban seeming to be the only three left at the start of the film. The refugee crisis and immigration seem to permeate the story in how we see the mutants’ situation. Just as Mexico is used by certain people in this film for nefarious purposes, the villains want to use and control the remaining mutants, turn them into weapons, property, but not accept them into their society.

These themes play into the importance of what Logan needs to do in this film and provide a rich backdrop, but it’s the personal story, of Wolverine, Xavier and Laura, that is the beating heart of the film.

Because ultimately, it’s a film about ageing, about life passing you by and turning its back on you, about how, in the end, you will be betrayed by yourself. This is unavoidable. But, and this is key, you still shouldn’t turn your back on the world.

Xavier’s presence adds a lot to this story. For a start, his journey reflects Logan’s. Their powers are both not only weakening, but turning into a liability, something destructive. Xavier is losing his mind. It’s not only damaging to himself, but a danger to others, as he experiences episodes where his psychic powers can cause significant damage to the world around him. In Logan’s case, his adamantium bones are slowly poisoning him. The damage he does to the world is his rage, which he doesn’t always control as much as he’d like.

The plot impetus, of course, is Laura, a young girl carrying Logan’s DNA and who’s been given the same adamantium structure and powers to him. Basically, she’s his daughter, and the theme of fatherhood, responsibility to what comes after, plays a huge part in this film. She’s the one that needs rescued Logan doesn’t want this responsibility, he’d rather just turn his back and sail away on a boat with Xavier (to the Grey Havens?), but he can’t… he has to make his sacrifices, because we can’t just let things end. Life still goes on when we’re gone…

Amazing performances by all three leads - Jackman does what he’s always done, but there’s more anger, more bitterness, more sadness to him this time, more rage of course. His claws are allowed free reign this time due to the R-rating, and it’s entirely appropriate that this is where we see him at his most violent and gory.

Stewart, well he’s not the authoritative, in-control character he’s been through most of the X-films… he’s lost it, but we can still see glimmers of his old self, his wisdom, his warmth. It may well be Patrick Stewart’s finest performance, even more than “There are four lights!”.

Dafne Keen is a revelation as Laura. She doesn’t say much, but she has an impressive intensity and presence, and easily matches the performances of Stewart and Jackman in the film.

Stephen Merchant also brought a lot to his role. I was a bit worried at first, but he fits in nicely and brings the right approach (and now we know that he didn’t just shave his head to do that Crystal Maze special last year). Richard E. Grant of course brings just what you’d expect from Richard E. Grant.

Ultimately, this was a beautiful closer to Wolverine’s story, and to the story that was started all the way back in 2000. The only thing that makes it less than perfect, in fact, is some of the previous entries in the X-Universe. Because if we’d had a more-or-less consistent and strong throughline through all of these (and a consistency in the timeline where it actually feels like they all take place in the same universe), it would have been an even stronger payoff than what it is. But that criticism is on some of the other films, not this one.

garunya liked this review