Superhero movies need something new. The classic incarnation of cheesy lines and fights is burning itself out; audiences crave something more daring and different. We had a few glimpses of this with Kick-Ass and The Dark Knight and even Deadpool last year. The latest film to try and pivot towards a different tonal structure is Logan, Hugh Jackman’s last outing as the Wolverine.
Logan takes place in 2029. Our titular hero Logan aka Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) is a mess, he’s taking to drinking again, has a bad limp, and his self-healing powers don’t work as well as they used to. He works as a limousine chauffeur and lives across the US border in an abandoned compound in Mexico. There he’s taking care of a sickly Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart); their miserable life seems peaceful enough until a young mutant named Laura (first timer Dafne Keen) comes their way chased by dodgy government officials.
Director James Mangold chooses to have a more western feel from the desert scenery and bloody action to the rough facades and tough love between our characters. While this is certainly refreshing for a superhero movie, as an actual film this isn’t that great of a feat. Mangold chooses to splatter more blood on our screens than provide much logic with the dialogue. In fact if you were to isolate the actual interactions in the film, you would realize how mangy and preachy they really are. That’s not to say that the story doesn’t have any depth, certainly its one of the best character analyses of any of the previous X-Men films, but then again is that really saying much?
The star cast takes advantage of the layering of their respective characters and bring us very considerate performances. Jackman specifically was just the right amount of gruff, which makes his 17 year journey as the Wolverine come to a satisfying culmination.
Overall Logan was a good time, hardcore fans will certainly rave about this film, but more neutral moviegoers might simply find an ultra-violent western that maybe tries too hard to be taken seriously.