The X-Men franchise is certainly a mixed bag of films. From the sturdy original to the clichéd shambles that was Apocalypse, to the time-travelling romp Days of Future Past. James Mangold’s Logan is a departure from all of the above, as Hugh Jackman bows out in easily the finest outing in the series.
Not only caring for an ailing Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart), Logan (Jackman) finds himself protecting a young girl named Laura (Dafne Keen), the first mutant to surface in twenty-five years. The trio resemble three generations of a dysfunctional family and are the beating heart of the film. Even Boyd Holbrook’s generic (but charismatic) villain Donald Pierce can’t lessen this dynamic.
Jackman has truly grown into the skin of the character he has portrayed in nine films. Scarred inside and out, his initial reluctance to be the hero (in the vein of Mad Max) adds some needed grit to the role, all the while his charm still shines through. Only finding her voice deep into the film, Keen has an unmistakable presence, an impressive film debut from the promising young actress.
After the success of 2016’s Deadpool, the influx of adult-rated superhero films felt imminent but thankfully the story warrants it here. The violence is bloody but meaningful, Logan is tired of violence and brutality, with years of bloodshed etched on his face. Expletives are delivered with intent and fly freely as Logan and Charles are both long past pleasantries. Exchanging overblown, end-of-the-world scenarios for mature, heartfelt themes of deterioration, mortality and legacy. Boasting a grounded, emotional heft that’s often absent from superhero films.
Logan doesn’t confine itself to the superhero formula and at its core, is an intimate family drama. A welcome change of pace in an exhausted genre.