A claw above the rest

The West Australian
Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) watches over young Laura (Dafne Keen), in Logan.
Camera IconWolverine (Hugh Jackman) watches over young Laura (Dafne Keen), in Logan. Credit: 20th Century Fox

MOVIE

Logan

Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart

Director James Mangold

Reviewer Ray Chan

You have to take your hat off to the producers for having the chutzpah to make this film.

Billed as the last Logan movie, it could have so easily gone awry had the premise not been treated with the respect it deserved. Can you imagine a movie about the death of Superman or the final days of the USS Enterprise?

The demise of legends never goes down well with fans, and movie studios need to tread warily when venturing into such territory.

Logan takes place in 2029, when the mutant population has shrunk significantly and the X-Men have disbanded. No new mutants have been born in more than two decades, and as their numbers dwindled, X-Men founder Charles Xavier's dreams of a new stage in evolution has slowly died.

A weary Logan, played with aplomb by Hugh Jackman, has surrendered himself to alcohol, and lives in a remote, makeshift hideout which he shares with fellow mutant Caliban, nursemaid to the ailing and infirm Xavier. In addition, Logan's power to self-heal is dwindling; fading as he has aged, with his face and body being scarred from past injuries and battles.

Logan’s path eventually crosses that of 11-year-old Laura, a product of a company named Transigen, which had been breeding children with mutant DNA samples to create their own super-powered team. He is persuaded to return Laura to her cohorts, all of whom escaped the laboratory and are now in a safe haven somewhere in North Dakota. Logan takes Xavier along on this mission as a team known as the Reavers attempt to abduct Laura back into the Transigen camp.

Jackman has claimed many times that this would be the last time he would play the Wolverine, and it is a damn fine way to go out. Director James Mangold absolutely delivers with what is a brutal film on both a violent and emotional level.

This film holds nothing back when it comes to blood, sweat and tears, with several moments that’ll leave you either recoiling in horror or bawling your eyes out. Despite the fact that the action seen in this film is probably the best and grisliest we’ve seen in an X-Men movie, where this movie succeeds most is in its character-driven story full of pathos, vulnerability and uncertainty.

Patrick Stewart is wonderful as he gives a heartbreaking final portrayal as Xavier, who’s now become something of a tragic character, yet is still trying to cling on to any shred of hope and optimism. When he meets his somewhat unexpected fate in the movie, the audience will be both shocked and saddened.

Coming close to stealing the movie from Jackman and Stewart is Dafne Keen, who excels in every scene as the frightened yet steel-willed Laura. Bred from Logan’s DNA, Laura rightly considers Logan her father, and the deeply poignant connection between the two comes to another tear-jerking head at the movie’s conclusion.

Logan succeeds on every level in delivering the Wolverine film we’ve all been waiting for, as we bid farewell to two beloved characters that were introduced at a time when superhero movies were just starting to get their foot into modern cinema.

This is, in my mind, the best super-hero ever made, and one even worthy of an Academy Award nomination.

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