For the somethingth or other installment in the X-men franchise in the sea of superhero films we find ourselves in, Logan manages to do something really different with the genre. This is a grittier, more western-like film that feels less fantastical and more real.
The film follows Logan (Hugh Jackman, in his final appearance as Wolverine), living – in the near future – with an elderly and ill Professor X (Patrick Stewart) and a tracker mutant (Stephen Merchant), who becomes involved in the life of Laura (Dafne Keen), a young mutant, hunted by the lab that created her.
It is Logan’s age and separation from most of the X men that creates the grounding for this to be a very different type of film. The very existence of a film centred solely around an ageing superhero is rare in itself, and provide its own predicaments and limits for the characters, especially when also dealing with Professor X’s ailments. The young and old contrast seems especially fitting for a certain cast member’s final appearance.
The natural Texan landscape takes Logan worlds away from the technological feel of a lot of superhero films of past, and is captured beautifully in the cinematography and warm colour palette. The film follows a similar trail to Deadpool, in the fact that it takes the genre into a more adult realm, albeit in a different way. Logan is extremely violent; it may be uncomfortable even for the more hardcore of viewers (we’re talking skewered heads, here), and also uses much more realistic language (read: a lot of swearing) that you might expect from people in these dangerous situations.
It takes on the more traditional revenge tale; no one is trying to save the world, instead their goal is much smaller, and thus closer and more emotional. There is an emotional and familial thread that continues through the whole film, and also shows a different side to Logan that has been portrayed before. Jackman shines here, managing to embody the character we’ve seen him as for 17 years, yet reveal him in a new light. Newcomer Keen, who, with fairly little dialogue, manages to craft great character and emotion, pairs with him brilliantly. Under assured direction from James Mangold, the two create some poignant moments and add a sentimental layer to the story.
The film’s refreshing take may entice non-superhero junkies in, and helps to elevate it slightly from its weaknesses. It is the perfect film for Jackman to go out on, and may even inspire more superhero films to take risks and try out something new.