A fitting requiem to the most recognisable X-Man, James Mangold’s Logan gives the towering Hugh Jackman a vast canvas for his swansong. In the film, Logan, better known as the hirsute, iron-clawed Wolverine, is much weakened and weathered but no less violent. This curtain call spares no punches, but it does so with an emotional undercurrent.
The year is 2029. Mutants have been all but eradicated or banished from North America. A few manage to hide out, adopting new identities and learning how to manage their powers. Logan is now a limo driver with a persistent cough, spectacles and a drinking problem. He is saving up for a life of exile on a boat while also caring for a much-depleted Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) with the help of albino Caliban (Stephen Merchant).
But Logan’s plans take a turn with the arrival of a next-generation mutant. With the introduction of Laura (Dafne Keen)—a female mini-Wolverine—the film becomes even more visceral than it already was. Laura remains mute for the most part, but when she’s enraged she screeches like a banshee and turns into a killing machine with metallic claws. Logan may have a pre-teen leading lady, but this is no film for kids.
Logan and Laura’s fates get intertwined when she convinces him to take her to a safe haven (which she’s read about in a comic book) for new age mutants. In a meta moment, Logan tells her that she shouldn’t believe all she reads. As they try to make the deadline for a meeting in North Dakota, they are hotly pursued by a private agency trying to capture the girl. The styling of Boyd Holbrook (as Donald) and Richard E Grant (as the scientist Dr. Rice) and some crazy desert chases have echoes of a dusty western much like Mad Max.
To Mangold’s credit, you don’t feel the running time of 140 minutes, and there’s something poignant about seeing an aging Logan losing his indestructibility and inching towards an inevitable end.
After playing Wolverine a staggering nine times, if Jackman is indeed done with the facial hairstyling, growling and slicing claws, he’s ensured you are left feeling the loss.