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Movie Review | Logan


Logan (Hugh Jackman) rests while Laura (Dafne Keen) watches over him in Logan
 

Summary: In the near future, a weary Logan cares for an ailing Professor X, somewhere on the Mexican border. However, Logan's attempts to hide from the world, and his legacy, are upended when a young mutant arrives, pursued by dark forces. (IMDb)


It’s a little difficult to truly rate how good Logan actually is, in no small part due to the meta narrative of this not only being the final stop in the journey of these versions of Charles Xavier and Logan, but also the final time they will be played by Patrick Stewart and Hugh Jackman.


Make no mistake, Logan is an excellent film from start to finish and easily up there, not just as one of the best films of last year, but one of the best comic book superhero adaptations of all time. We can only hope that studios learn the right lessons from this film, rather than trying to copy-paste it, as this story is a perfect fit for Logan and another hero wouldn’t really fit the story being told.


Saying that, this older version of Logan would absolutely object to being called a hero as he simply tries to find work that will allow him to buy a boat and take Xavier out onto the sea where the ageing mutant won’t be a threat to anyone.


Not only is there a strongly-implied backstory to this one that Xavier had a seizure that resulted in his powers wiping out most of the X-Men, but there is one fantastically-intense sequence in a casino hotel that shows how it probably happened – and why Logan was able to survive it.


Logan is supported by Caliban, a mutant capable of tracking other mutants, played by Stephen Merchant, who is a pleasant surprise as the cranky, but caring mutant. If you’re only used to seeing Merchant in comedy roles, this will be quite the eye-opener.


Then there are the villains, two of whom I’ll talk about and the other one I’ll skip over as that would head straight into spoiler territory. All I’ll say is that the final battle Logan faces is against someone very familiar to him, and it isn’t Liev Schreiber’s Sabretooth from X-Men Origins: Wolverine, although it sure as hell looks like him!


The man pulling the strings is Xander Price, played by Richard E Grant, who is unfortunately one of the weak links of the film. While Grant puts in a good performance, there isn’t much depth to the character and he ultimately proves rather forgettable.


In contrast, Boyd Holbrook as Donald Pierce is great fun to watch. He isn’t really that much of a threat to someone like Logan, even with his cyborg hand, but he’s still an entertaining adversary and a constant threat throughout the film, leading the forces chasing after Logan and Xavier.

A deteriorating Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) in Logan

Now there’s one more performance that needs to be mentioned, and her character is the reason that the two former X-Men are being chased. X-23, or Laura, played by Dafne Keen is an absolute revelation, completely stealing the film from everyone else with consummate ease.


Not only does she go toe-to-toe with Jackman and Stewart, proving her acting capability beyond any doubt, but she’s possibly even better in the action sequences. I know that stunt doubles will almost certainly have taken her place in a lot of them, but Keen’s acting sells you on the sheer ferocity Laura exhibits.


I seriously cannot overstate how good Keen is as Laura and it has come as no surprise that there has been a lot of people hoping for an X-23 film to continue her story. Oh, I also forgot to mention that pretty much the first half of her performance is silent, selling the character solely on facial expressions and body language! Okay, and screams of rage as well. Dafne Keen has serious potential.


There really is little to criticise about Logan, but you do have to go back to that initial question of just how good it is. The performances are uniformly brilliant, the story is fairly simple but perfectly-executed and incredibly relevant (seriously, a blond guy called Donald trying to hunt and imprison three immigrants? Does the director and writer, James Mangold, have a fricking time machine? Logan was made before Trump was elected!), and it simply comes down to personal opinion.


Logan was one of the films of the year for 2017 and it wasn't a surprise for it to get mentioned come Oscar season – it really deserved multiple Oscar nods for the acting performances alone, rather than the sole screenplay nomination it did receive. That’s not hyperbole - this film really is that good and, even if it is violent (and it really is), it should be watched.

[8/10]

 
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