Latest posts by Oliver Ledingham-Smith (see all)
- Review: Logan – Hugh Jackman’s Swan Song Is His Best Iteration Of The Character - March 20, 2019
- ‘Hidden Figures’ tells a remarkably unheard of true story of galactic proportions - February 7, 2019
- Avengers: Infinity War Is A Success That’s Ten Years In The Making - December 10, 2018
After playing a character for nearly two decades, it was literally only a matter of time before Hugh Jackman announced that he was ending his tenure as the Wolverine, one of Marvel Comic’s most beloved characters, as well as one of the main three of the triumvirate that Fox adored so much that they pretzeled their own timeline in order to put Wolverine into as many of their X-Men films as possible. Alongside this, Wolverine had two solo outings, neither of which were particularly great in terms of storytelling (in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, they had Ryan Reynolds playing ‘Deadpool’, and I put Deadpool in quotation marks because it wasn’t faithful to the source material of Deadpool in any particularly rewarding way). Nor were the Wolverine films content with staying true to the character’s origins, instead preferring to go down the ‘safer’ route of making sure that the films had a 12A/PG-13 rating so that they could appeal to as many people as possible. And if anyone’s ever read a Wolverine comic, you’ll know it’s bloody, gruesome, full of cursing, and packed with material that wouldn’t make it into an adapted film with a 12A rating.
Because this was to essentially be the end of an era, there was pressure to get this one right, and to give Jackman a swan song befitting his dedication and commitment to the character that he had been playing all these years. After directing The Wolverine back in 2013, James Mangold took the reins for a second time, but this time was also an executive producer and co-writer along with Scott Frank and Michael Green. There was no way he wasn’t going to do the character justice. And when it became common knowledge that this third and final solo film for Jackman’s Wolverine was to have a 15/R rating, expectations went through the roof. Were fans finally going to be treated to an honest and faithful adaptation of a wildly beloved Marvel character? Or was disappointment going to strike for a third time, and Jackman was going to go out with a whimper instead of a bang? Either way, there was a level of trepidation intermingling along with the anticipation, and one which could only be averted if the film turned out to be great.
As I’ve stated in a previous review, I’m not a great fan of the Western genre films, as for me they just don’t seem to excite or entice much in the way of emotion. People may argue that superhero genre films are rubbish, and they would be entitled to their opinion. However I would argue that what makes the superhero genre so compelling is its ability to morph and change, to slot itself seamlessly into sub-genres in order to present an even more compelling and wonderful story. That is the true magic of the superhero genre: it’s the chameleon of genres and that is why superhero films are so successful, because of their inherent adaptability. I say all this because while I’m no fan of Westerns, I’m a fan of the superhero genre, and I love how they’re able to assimilate into other genres. That is what Logan did: Jackman’s final portrayal as the Wolverine was part superhero film, part Western. Overall, that worked to the film’s credit, despite my dislike of that particular genre. Coupled with this was the fact that it was gory, savage, and stayed true to the character, so that there were bloody deaths, heaps of cursing (and not just from Logan (Jackman) either), and gory fight sequences.
Set in 2029, Logan follows the titular character as he battles his own dying body and battles to save his long-time friend, Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart), who is also dying and is now a threat to people if he loses control. Logan has moved them just over the border into El Paso, Mexico, and is trying to save up enough money so that they can buy a boat and live out their remaining days on the sea, safe and far away from everyone else. These plans go awry when Logan is forced to look after Laura (Dafne Keen), a young mutant who has dark forces on her tail, led by the evil and twisted Pierce (Boyd Holbrook). Logan must choose whether to stay in hiding, or face a legacy that he has resisted for almost his entire life. It is a long, winding film, filled with shocking twists, surprising turns, and heartfelt moments that you wouldn’t expect in the midst of all the death and blood. For perhaps the first and last time, fans and general audiences alike are treated to a look at what they could have had for seventeen years. Logan goes the distance to be more than just a fitting farewell for Jackman, and finally provides us with a story that is far more than the sum of its parts. If this truly is to be Jackman’s final time as the Wolverine, then he can rest happy, because Logan is far superior to everything that came before it.
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