Director: James Mangold
Cast: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Boyd Holbrook, Richard Grant, Elizabeth Rodriguez, Dafne Keen
‘Logan’ gives Hugh ‘Wolverine’ Jackman the closure he asked for and it runs so close to home that it could well be considered autobiographical in its expanse. Writer/Director James Mangold’s curtain call for the celebrated comic-book hero riffs through real, reel and comic strip legends to fashion this wonderfully sublime finale to a celebrated super heroic life.
Wolverine has aged and is almost counting his days on earth-plagued as he is by a relentlessly foraging illness that’s eating away on the inside. But before he can call it a day (whichever way you look at it) he has to grudgingly take up one last chore – of setting a gaggle of X cubs on the path to safety. There are barely three known survivors from the X men brigade, including Wolverine – the other two, Professor X (Patrick Stewart) telepath so powerful that his brain has been classified as a weapon of mass destruction, has seizures and Caliban (Stephen Merchant) is battling his own brand of survivor guilt and health issues unique to his kind. The seizure happy Professor is being cared for by Caliban while Logan drives his 24 Chrysler as chauffeur for the rich and flamboyant. Then Gabriela (Elizabeth Rodriguez) shows up begging him to take her across the border to Canada, with her charge, a young girl with a ferocious gaze, Laura (Dafne Keen). But Logan, not perceptive enough as Professor X, as to his connection with the young girl, is not about to get bogged down with yet another responsibility. Until, of course, things get out of hand with the arrival of Donald Pierce (Boyd Holbrook) and his paramilitary cyborg Reavers, another creation of Dr. Rice (Richard E. Grant), who heads Transigen, the nefarious bioengineering program that created lab-rat mutants and cyborgs.
Mangold’s script pays homage to comic book lore even as Logan’s skepticism regarding the envisioned Eden, threatens to derail the hopes of survival for a future generation of X possibles. The escape of the X cubs doesn’t quite rate as terrific because here the director chooses to get them on the run rather than use their collective might to stop their tormentors.
Mangold and his CGI team get us close in to the action and there’s no cutting away from the devastation of each hit, pop or chop. For the most part the action comes across as organic – there are valid reasons for what’s happening out there. This one is a road show actioner where the entire movie is a sort of chase one way or another and the most vital of it all is against Time. Time is literally running out on the heroes here.
Jackman plays Logan as a man who is already counting the aches and pains that threaten to go on overload. He is more human than a superhero and shows himself as stubborn, disbelieving and as crotchety as they come. He doesn’t have any of his peers around and his purpose has now changed to that of living out the last days of his life in relative obscurity. But that’s easier said than done…even for him. This is Jackman’s best performance to date. He is intensely empathetic to his own human fragilities and that is what endears him to us.
While the thematic content and the philosophies may not be consistent throughout, the intent and execution to provide a richer deeper experience is obvious. This is a wonderfully rendered goodbye to an awe-inspiring generation of mutant superheroes who kept our cravings for justice and righteousness alive and well. Our guess is we won’t have to wait long before the young lot (featured here) move to centre stage and prove themselves cinematically worthy. It’s a given!