Logan March 1, 2017 LOGAN (USA/16/137mins) Directed by James Mangold. Starring Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Dafne keen, Stephan Merchant, Boyd Holbrook THE PLOT: In 2029, no new mutants have been born for over 20 years, and Logan (Hugh Jackman) – once known as Wolverine – is working as a limo driver and trying to keep the ailing Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) away from prying eyes. All is going well until a woman appears begging for Logan’s help, and Charles announces that a new mutant has been born, and he is communicating with her. THE VERDICT: The final instalment in the Wolverine trilogy is undoubtedly the best film to focus on the titular mutant, and may well be the best X-Men film we have had to date, Gone is the glossy comic book feel of other outings, replaced by a dark, gritty and gloomy feel. This, combined with the amount of violent set pieces, blood shed and heads rolling, mean that ‘Logan’ is an entirely different beast to ‘X-Men Origins: Wolverine’, or for that matter, ‘The Wolverine’. Hugh Jackman returns for maybe the last time (or maybe not) as Logan/Wolverine, and brings a new depth to the character. Previously, Logan just seemed grumpy and petulant, but since he is ageing and his powers are deserting him, it seems that Logan truly has something to be annoyed about, and a reason to truly lay low. Patrick Stewart returns as Charles Xavier – also possibly maybe for the last time – and has a great time showing a man restricted by the thing that previously made him great. The two have great chemistry on screen, and they are a joy to watch together, Stephen Merchant takes over the role of Caliban from Tómas Lemarquis , who played the role in ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’. Although merchant does have some comedic lines, his role is mainly dramatic, and he does well at creating a character that begrudges his lot but is fiercely loyal. Dafne Keen plays the fierce and fearless Laura, the mutant who kicks off all the trouble, and she makes the character as feisty as you could hope, and has some great tender moments with Hugh Jackman as Logan. The rest of the cast features Richard E. Grant, Eriq La Salle, Elise Beal, Quincy Fouse and Elizabeth Rodriguez. Scott Frank, James Mangold and Michael Green’s screenplay takes everything that Wolverine should have been in the past, and brings it to the fore in ‘Logan’. There are the prerequisite set pieces that pepper the film, but this is really a story about fathers and children, with Charles Xavier stepping into the father role for Logan. There are some fun pieces of dialogue and revealing moments, but there are also times when the film seems to struggle under the weight of its own ambition, and runs out of steam. There is the distinct feel of a Western about ‘Logan’, and the character certainly fits the bill of the nomadic fighter, while the entire film is soaked with revenge and retribution. As director James Mangold – who has been quiet since his ill-fated 2013 film The Wolverine – seems to have learned from the mistakes of his and Wolverine’s last big screen outing, and makes ‘Logan’ the film that we have all been waiting for in the X-Men universe. There are times when the pacing wobbles, but the comedic and dramatic timing is top notch, the performances strong and the feel of this being an ending percolates through the entire film. In all, ‘Logan’ is perhaps the best ‘X-Men’ movie to date, and certainly the best solo outing for Wolverine that we have seen to date. The cast do incredibly well, the rapport between Stewart and Jackman is second to none and the story creates a new dimension in familiar characters that keeps the audience on their toes. There are times when the pacing struggles and the film certainly feels overly long, but ‘Logan’ is still a great film, and a fantastic ‘X-Men’ film too. RATING: 4/5 Review by Brogen Hayes filmbuff2011 After 17 years and 9 cinematic appearances, Hugh Jackman has hung up Wolverine’s adamantium claws with Logan. It’s an honourable decision from the talented actor and all-round nice guy. In the near future, mutants have been hunted down and destroyed by Dr. Rice (Richard E. Grant). No new mutants have been born in 25 years. Logan (Jackman) is apparently one of the last mutants alive and is being tracked by Rice’s soldier Pierce (Boyd Holbrook). Logan is living on the margins now – older, angrier, bitter and burnt out. Working as a chauffeur on the Mexican border, he cares for an ailing Charles (Patrick Stewart). A woman tasks him with taking charge of her daughter Laura (Dafne Keen) – a mute young girl who may have hidden mutant abilities. When Pierce eventually shows up, the trio go on the run through the desert. With someone other than Charles and himself to care for, Logan will have to face up to his laboratory origins and also face off against clone X-24… Logan / Wolverine’s swansong is essentially a chase movie with a pared-down-to-the-bones plot that strips out any non-essential elements. There’s far more of an apocalypse here than in last year’s X-Men: Apocalypse. Most of it is kept offscreen and is more through suggestion. What Logan is though is the quasi-Indie version of this popular superhero. It’s a more thoughtful film which asks audiences to re-evaluate what a superhero means to us now and exactly what happens when a superhero gets older and more tired – in a sense, like Ben Affleck’s recent take on Batman. This is a nod towards Mark Millar’s Old Man Logan graphic novel. The other key thing about Logan is that it finally presents the man himself as he’s meant to be – in his 16-rated gory glory. The previous need for a commercially-friendly rating ensured that the character was kept firmly in the 12A category. There are no such concerns here. Jackman and returning director James Mangold have taken the bold step forward of making a more mature, adult film. Make no mistake – Logan is not a film for children and even seems to push the boundaries of the 16 rating. Although there’s much to admire in the film, not all of it works. The plot drags in the mid-section, trying to find its way towards a satisfying conclusion over a long-ish running time. It eventually does get there and Mangold certainly delivers, but there’s a noticeable drag where some tightening up in the editing would help. Grant’s Dr. Rice is a little under-cooked as well, needing a bit more character development to fully sell his character and motivations. However, Jackman virtually burns a hole in the screen with all that rage and rams home the character’s blood-thirst with some astonishingly violent – and foul-mouthed – fight scenes. Old reliable Stewart brings some humanity to the proceedings. Young Keen is eye-catching, bringing back memories of The Feral Kid from Mad Max 2 (she even resembles him). While Logan doesn’t always work, it’s a mostly satisfying conclusion to the character and should please fans. With both Deadpool and Logan aiming for a harder take on the superhero film, there’s a case to be made now for making more mature superhero films. *** emerb Hard to believe it’s been 17 years since Hugh Jackman first took up his X-Men role as Wolverine. In fact, he has appeared in 9 movies as the mutant hero, not all of which were hugely successful. James Mangold directs “Logan”, in which Jackman is to bow out of the series. This film is different in that it’s a stripped down stand-alone feature, devoid of the familiar superhero bells and whistles, convoluted CGI and complex twists of the X-Men franchise. It focuses solely on its most tormented mutant, Wolverine. The plot sees our titular hero living out in rural America of the near future alongside his old friend Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart), with a young girl called Laura (Dafne Keen), the first new mutant to surface in 25 years, under his protection. It’s fair to say that Mangold has crafted a very effective yet a creatively risky superhero movie set in a dystopian future which is surprisingly entertaining, action packed, thrilling and one of the best scripts in the Marvel franchise so far. Set in 2029, the movie catches up with the slower and lazier Wolverine who has essentially become an ex-X-Man and is laying low, working incognito as a limo driver in El Paso. When his Wolverine claws are unleashed, it causes arthritic pain which eases when he drinks alcohol. He has clearly become an older and weaker man. Superhuman mutants are almost extinct and Logan is caring for his old friend and mentor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) who is now a nonagenarian and whose legendary telepathic powers are not always within his control. His brain doesn’t work as it once did, creating intense seizures and telekinetic earthquakes for those around him. Caliban (Stephen Merchant), a hypersensitive albino mutant with tracking abilities, handles the domestic chores for the trio while staying out of daylight. Into their lives comes a young, ferocious looking girl, Laura (Dafne Keen), who has all of Logan’s superpowers. It is the final desperate request of her caretaker, Gabriela (Elizabeth Rodriguez), that Logan takes her to a sanctuary for mutants in North Dakota. However, there is a private military company called the Reavers on her tail, led by the malevolent and menacing Donald Pierce (Boyd Holbrook) and his employer, the chilling Dr. Rice (Richard E. Grant). They work in Transigen, the shady bioengineering programme which created Laura along with breeding countless other children in Mexico in order to raise them as soldiers. While Caliban is taken hostage, Logan, Laura and Charles must hit the road in their enormous limousine in search of Eden, the elusive mutant safe haven. It’s from this point that “Logan” really comes into its own and becomes a sort of road movie through a cleverly imagined dystopian American landscape. Jackman has always given this role his heart, treating fans to his trademark machismo, muscles and charisma. Although visibly older with greying hair, a limp, reading glasses and scraggly beard, this film is no exception and Wolverine bows out on a high. In fact, “Logan” puts Jackman to better use than any other entry in the X-Men franchise, where he has often been limited by a poor script or huge ensemble cast. In his final turn in one of the defining roles of his career, Jackman is great here and makes Wolverine the hero we need him to be, taking us deeper into his character than ever before. Apparently Jackman conceived the basic thrust of the story and the result is a far more concise and gripping film than his previous collaboration with Mangold, 2013’s “The Wolverine”. Stewart is effective and compelling as ever and gives us his finest turn yet in the role, as the tender Charles who battles dementia with pharmaceuticals. Eleven year old Keen, who’s making her film debut, is impressive in a tricky role. She makes the mostly silent Laura – mysterious, intriguing and fierce. “Logan” is action packed, well-paced and violent but it transcends the typical comic-book genre by having a few messages about the importance of needing loved ones in life as well as exploring the ideas of age and mortality. One of the elements I liked most was the way Logan and Laura interact, both initially wary and distant but slowly beginning to connect and understand each other. In fact, the film is never emotionally stronger than when Logan, Laura and the ailing Xavier share a scene, the heart being the unexpectedly poignant relationship between Xavier and Logan. I also loved one of the terrifically staged desert car chases which reminded me of some of the best scenes in “Mad Max” with the wide-eyed Jackman even bearing a resemblance to Mel Gibson. The violence is brutal – heads are impaled, bodies are punctured, blood is sprayed liberally and limbs are lacerated but the fights are very well-choreographed and there’s minimal yet subtle use of CGI. At all times, Mangold keeps the film grounded and intimate and I found it more adult, more authentic and more meaningful than previous Wolverine outings. “Logan” is both refreshing and engaging, sure to do great at the box office and a well-deserved swansong for our titular hero.