His time has come.
Hugh Jackman’s Logan, aka Wolverine, has always been the most popular character in the X-Men series, yet as Jackman takes his bow as the razor-clawed mutant there’s nothing the least bit crowd-pleasing about his farewell movie. The mood here is grim, gritty and resolutely downbeat, making this the dourest superhero adventure since Christian Bale hung up Batman’s cape and cowl.
The setting is 2029 in a world where no new mutants have been born for 25 years. The X-Men are dying out. And Jackman’s weary Logan is something of a wreck, as well. Earning a living as a limo driver in dust-blown Texas, he’s boozy and battered, his healing powers in decline. But Patrick Stewart’s aged Charles, aka Professor X, is in even worse shape, subject to terrible seizures that, thanks to his psychic powers, leave tremendous collateral damage in their wake.
Logan has been caring for Charles, with help from albino mutant Caliban (Stephen Merchant, playing it straight), but he finds himself saddled with a fresh responsibility in the form of 11-year-old Laura, a mutant who has escaped from a secret facility in Mexico being run by Richard E Grant’s ruthless bioengineer, Dr Zander Rice. Logan grudgingly agrees to take Laura to North Dakota, site of a rumoured sanctuary for mutant children called Eden. But Rice and his henchmen are in hot and deadly pursuit…
A blend of road movie and Western
Director James Mangold handles the ensuing adventure as a blend of road movie and Western, with scenes from 1953 classic Shane popping up, pointedly, on TV. The action here, however, is far more bloodily violent than it was in that vintage movie – like Logan, Dafne Keen’s Laura has vicious adamantium claws and when she uses them, there’s no stinting on the gore. Yet the overall tone here is similarly elegiac.
Mangold’s film is undoubtedly overlong and some stretches do drag, but Jackman and Stewart’s superb, nuanced performances ensure that it’s not just the fight scenes but also the emotionally charged ones that really pack a punch.
Certificate 15. Runtime 132 mins. Director James Mangold
Available on Blu-ray & DVD from 10 July from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment.