Director: James Mangold
Cast: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Dafne Keen and others
Rating: * * * ½
James Mangold makes 'Logan' part superhero film and part old-style Western. Hugh Jackman threatens his retirement as Wolverine, seventeen years after X-Men, but gets a possible heir.
'Logan' is as stripped down of spectacle as a superhero film can be, and what’s left is thrilling as well as a bit moving (Mangold deftly manipulates audience’s emotions).
By 2029, most of the mutants with superpowers are extinct. The ones who remain are X-Men leader Charles (Patrick Stewart), now old and feeble, being cared for by Logan—his powers much depleted--working as a limo driver, and the albino mutant Caliban (Stephen Merchant).
They live away from civilisation, by the Mexican border, but there’s one last adventure in store, involving a young girl, Laura (Dafne Keen), who turns out to have Wolverine-like powers.
The bad guys are hunting Laura- Donald Pierce (Boyd Holbrook) and his cyborg Reavers for Dr. Rice (Richard E. Grant), who heads the sinister bioengineering programme that created her and other mutant kids.
While Caliban is taken hostage, Logan, Laura and Charles go on the run to a mutant haven in Canada, which is where the classic road movie and Western elements come in, reminiscent of dozens of films. If a film with brutal violence also has moments of serenity and an emotional charge, a lot of it has to do with Patrick Stewart’s thespian skills.
There’s also the tragedy of the character (the mutton-chopped actor topped Sexiest Man Alive list many times), descending into old age and looking the worse for the wear. The ferocity and freshness are brought in by Laura, played with stunning intensity by eleven-year-old Dafne Keen.
Even if superhero fatigue can set in with audiences who are not fans of the Marvel Universe, a film with a young female version of Wolverine would be in order. Meanwhile, 'Logan' is worth a look.