Back in 2000, Bryan Singer's X-Men film reinvented the comic-book genre, as well as introduced us to Hugh Jackman's now-beloved portrayal of Wolverine. 17 years later and Jackman's chapter as the iconic hero comes to its close with Logan. His time has come.

The year is 2029, in a bleak, near distant future, and mutants are largely all but gone now and an old, weary Logan (Hugh Jackman) spends his time earning money as a chauffeur. When he's not busy drinking his sorrows away or driving around reckless youngsters, he finds himself ailing for an aging and ill Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) - who's poor mental stability makes him extremely dangerous. However, when the pair come across a little girl with extraordinary mutant abilities, Laura (Dafne Keen), they find themselves on the run across the country, pursued by a powerful organisation after the girl, and have to fight one more time to protect her.
I grew up with the X-Men franchise, and with Hugh Jackman's Wolverine - the adamantium-clawed hero has always been one of my favourite comic-book characters from a young age. For most, the character has always been the saving grace of the fairly overstuffed X-Men franchise - most especially during the lesser installments (here's looking to you The Last Stand and Origins). However, 17 years and 9 films later and Jackman's "time has come" in Logan - as the film's tagline promises - and he closes his chapter as the iconic hero with a bang. Last year's Deadpool raised the game for comic-book films, utilising its R-rating superbly, and thus paving the way for Logan's R-rating - the first film X-Men film to toy around with this, aside from the aforementioned Deadpool - and it's incredible to witness. Right from the opening scene, this is the Wolverine we've wanted to see on-screen for almost 2 decades now; this is the limb-shredding, face-stabbing Weapon X from the comics in all his true vicious and violent glory. Director James Mangold doesn't hold back with the blood, guts and gore either and its brilliant to watch; the action and swearing never feels excessive or merely for the sake of the R-rating though but is rather executed in a way that feels seamless and drives the film further.

Of course, the direction is remarkable. James Mangold is a genius behind-the-camera and helms the action so beautifully, with a great use of nice wide and tracking shots capturing all of the violence; again, it never feels excessive and acts in service of the story rather than the story servicing the action. There is a very bleak, sombre tone to Logan and Mangold captures it perfectly, depicting a very morbid and dark post-apocalyptic future here - this is mostly done through a much darker visual style and a fairly heavy-handed, resounding score. The cinematography is gorgeous, with a very distinctive Western-vibe going on - the tonal and visual similarities to Mangold's Western 3:10 To Yuma are certainly evident. It's a very atypical tonal and visual direction for a comic-book movie to take. In fact, Logan is as far away from typical comic-book fare as can be. And that's the biggest praise I can give this film; it isn't your typical Summer blockbuster/popcorn flick, in the vein of Guardians of the Galaxy or Civil War or even some of the other X-Men films like First Class or last Summer's Apocalypse, especially. Logan feels like an indie film in every way, from a more intimate, character-driven story to a much smaller scale and even more visceral, personal action sequences - my best way to put it is Hell or High Water meets The Wolverine. As a result, Logan definitely won't be for everyone - definitely not those expecting a popcorn flick. But, for those that love the calibre of film you'd see nominated for Best Picture, but just with some iconic characters instead, you're in for a treat.
As I mentioned, this is a film about its characters. The story is an intimate character-study, revolving around our characters and driven by them too - I think the fact that the film is titled Logan and not something with 'Wolverine' in the title says it all. For this film to really work, we'd need to care for these characters and invest in this journey. Thankfully, we do. Logan is a whirlwind of emotions that will make you laugh, cheer and cry. Of course, we've had 17 years of seeing the characters of Professor X and Logan on the big-screen so we're already rooting for them, but Mangold does an excellent job of fleshing them out further and making them feel real and, most importantly, vulnerable. There's a palpable sense of vulnerability to these characters and it really grounds the film further, and only adds to the nuance and to our investment in the proceedings. The acting is astounding too. Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart are a stellar pairing, but the addition of Dafne Keen as Laura makes this a powerhouse trio. All of the performances are so emotionally charged and nuanced and downright amazing; Keen, especially, deserves commendation for holding her own opposite Jackman and Stewart. As for those two, if this is indeed the last time we'll see them on-screen as these beloved characters, then they've gone out guns blazing - I genuinely believe both Hugh and Patrick give Awards-calibre performances here.

The X-Men franchise is fairly strong, but also fairly unpredictable and unreliable; the films were rather unforgiving towards Jackman's Wolverine, especially (again: X-Men Origins). However, if Logan is indeed Hugh Jackman's swan-song, then you can be rest assured he goes out on the highest high. This is by no means a flawless film, though, and the pacing does drag from time to time, and there are definitely moments where we're just itching to see more action but it takes its sweet time to arrive. Although, even then, it cannot detract from the fact that Logan is, simply put, one of the best comic-book films ever made - up there alongside The Dark Knight. Yes, it's that good. James Mangold listened to the fans and he has given us a film that delivers everything we would want from the final Wolverine outing in spades and thensome. Logan is unforgivingly violent and bloody (this is THE Weapon X as we've always wanted to see him) yet it's also equally as emotionally hard-hitting and witty and stylish and visually gorgeous and just as badass and also as thoroughly exciting. This is as perfect a send-off as we will ever get to one of the greats. Thank you Hugh Jackman for servicing us with this character for so long. And thank you James Mangold, for delivering the Wolverine film we've always waned to see.

VERDICT:
Logan is an emotional character piece, yet just as violent and relentless as we'd hoped, and a fitting farewell to Hugh Jackman's 17 year run in the titular role: utterly astounding.





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About the Author

Awais Irfan
Founder of Oasis Awais, and avid lover of life, Awais Irfan's love of writing and film is unequivocal. Ever since he was a little kid, he has loved the cinematic experience; so much so, he is studying Film Production in Glasgow and hopes to be the next "big thing" in directing.

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