In the near future, a weary Logan (Hugh Jackman) cares for an ailing Professor X (Patrick Stewart) in a hide out on the Mexican border. But Logan's attempts to hide from the world and his legacy are up-ended when Laura (Dafne Keen), a young mutant arrives being pursued by dark forces.
Review by Louise Keller:
For Hugh Jackman in his ninth outing as Marvel's most famous mutant, Logan is a triumph: a vulnerable portrayal of a tortured character coming to terms with his plight and humanity. As a gritty western about redemption, in the hands of director James Mangold, the film is also effective, the overt violence and drawn out running time used to accentuate the torment of its ailing protagonist. There will be much discussion about the extreme and gratuitous nature of the violence. But fans expecting a sophisticated, superhero final installment may be disappointed: the film bears few echoes of the earlier thrilling, comic-book style expositions from the two earlier chapter: X-men Origins: Wolverine (2009) and The Wolverine (2013).
There is no dispute however, that Johnny Cash's soulful rendition of Trent Reznor's 'Hurt' during the end credits is a perfect representation of the film's sentiment of pain. 'I hurt myself today; to see if I still feel; I focus on the pain; the only thing that's real.' Using only 6 notes, the melody is repetitious; the key is minor; the guitar strumming relentless.
It is 2029 in a dystopian future and Logan, sporting a grizzly beard and looking like hell, is driving a limo around Las Vegas and the Mexican border. In the opening scene, when he confronts the deadbeats stripping his limo around El Paso, it is clear that his Wolverine adamantium claws do not extend as easily as before, nor does he recover as quickly from the onslaught of bullets. We become sucked into Logan's dark reality. He is in a state of constant rage and pain. Physical and emotional. The enhancements that gave him his superpowers are poisoning him. We sense as though he has given up on life - and himself. There is despair in his eyes and resignation in his heart when he medicates his stricken mentor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart), whose frequent seizures detrimentally agitate the air molecules. Compounded by the intense production design, life with Logan is claustrophobic
Mutants are a thing of the past - and only the subject of comic books. Or are they? The development of the relationship between Logan and Laura (Dafne Keen), a young Mexican mutant with claws like Wolverine's (on hands and feet) is key, with twelve year old newcomer Keen impressive as the sullen mutant unable to express herself in any language other than violence. The violence is confronting: I had to look away as blades penetrate flesh and heads are decapitated.
Shot in New Mexico, Louisiana and Californian, the remote locations are barren and dusty, indicative of the smell of death that hovers throughout. This is a film about battles - internal and external. Ultimately Logan is fighting against himself; this is the battle that is the most effective.
Cinematic with an effective soundscape that wails pain, Logan is a well-made film with a dark sensibility. But I wish Mangold had used some restraint when it comes to the violence and running time. Sometimes less is more.
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X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)
X-Men 2 (2003)
X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)
X-Men: First Class (2011)
X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)
X-Men: Apocalypse (2016)
CAST: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Dafne Keen
PRODUCER: Simon Kinberg, Hutch Parker, Lauren Shuler
DIRECTOR: James Mangold
SCRIPT: Scott Frank, James Mangold, Michael Green
CINEMATOGRAPHER: John Mathieson
EDITOR: Michael McCusker, Kirk Westervelt
MUSIC: Marco Beltrami
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Francois Audouy
RUNNING TIME: 137 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: 20th Century Fox
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: March 2, 2017