Logan slices through superhero conventions by providing a gritty and violent drama that pushes its ‘15’ certificate to the max.
But while a step away from the generic will please some – which has already been seen with glowing praise in critic circles – its deviation away from the X-Men formula may prove to be galling to comic-book purists.
Set sometime in the mid-2020s (after Days of Future Past) mutants have all but been wiped out – there hasn’t been a newborn of their kind for more than twenty years – and a weary Logan/Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) cares for an ailing Professor X (Patrick Stewart), with the help of Stephen Merchant’s fellow mutant Caliban, at a hideout on the Mexican border, trying to help supress the former leader’s mind-bending powers to cause further harm to the outside world.
But Logan’s attempts to hide from his legacy are turned upside down when a woman (Elizabeth Rodriguez) brings a young mutant (newcomer Dafne Keen’s Laura/X-23), with the same adamantium skeleton and razor-sharp claws as himself into his world – being pursued by dark forces headed by Boyd Holbrook’s (soon to be seen as the lead in The Predator remake/reboot) relentless leader of the Reavers.
With the two former superpowers of the X-Men in declining health, they must muster all their inner strength for one last shot at redemption, and protect what is left of the mutant population by escorting the lethally feral Laura to a safe haven called Eden, potentially located over the Canadian border.
And for those expecting something different: a character driven story with stand-out performances from Jackman, Keen, Holbrook and particularly Stewart; bloody and brutally violent set-pieces; and thoughtful/emotive scripting not akin to the genre; then this will tick the boxes for most superhero fans aching for a little more ingenuity, and non-fans alike.
Some could argue it is a bit of slow-burner, long-winded and one-dimensional – there’s no X-Men cameos and ‘easter egg’ fluff from director James Mangold here – but it would be hard to put any blame at the movie’s makers feet for at least attempting to mix it up a bit.
It might not quite have the instant ‘wow’ factor of Deadpool, but Logan is undoubtedly a cut above the first two Wolverine films, and even if it doesn’t quite get the pacing right throughout – ‘X’ still marks the spot with this worthy shift from the norm.
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CAST: HUGH JACKMAN, PATRICK STEWART, DAFNE KEEN, BOYD HOLBROOK, STEPHEN MERCHANT, RICHARD E GRANT, ERIQ LA SALLE, ELISE NEAL, QUINCY FOUSE, ELIZABETH RODRIGUEZ & JASON GENAO
RUNNING TIME: 2 HRS 17 MINS
DIRECTOR: JAMES MANGOLD
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