Set in the not-too-distant future – 2029 to be exact – the film takes place in a world where mutants are on their way to extinction. There hasn't been a newborn mutant in over 20-years and those who remain live in seclusion. We catch up with Logan (aka Wolverine) as an aged and down-trodden man who is resided to an impoverished life. He drives a limousine to make ends meet while he supports a frail and diseased Charles Xavier (aka Professor X). When a young girl named Laura walks into his life Logan finds himself in a race against time to reach the Canadian border as a convoy of special-ops close in, intent to capture Laura and return her to a top-secret research facility. She is a mutant-child in search of a rumoured safe-haven where other gifted children are said to live.
Everything about LOGAN is different to the universe of the X-MEN that we have come to love. It is a gritty, dust-covered film that presents a harsh and brutal world. The characters who previously saved the day in the moderately family-friendly instalments now occupy a place where the violence is severe and gratuitous. Logan's vocabulary relies heavily on F-bombs, and to my surprise so does Xavier's. Hearing Professor X drop casual “Fucks” was a disorienting experience at first and I wasn't sure that I was prepared to except such a cultured character talking so crudely, however the rhythm of the story becomes all-consuming and eventually nothing feels out of the ordinary.
Hugh Jackman has assured his fans that LOGAN will be his final performance as Wolverine. It is a character that put him on the world stage and afforded him an A-list Hollywood status. His ongoing devotion to the role has been that of cinematic legend with him having appeared in 9 out of 10 instalments over the past 16-years. It has been an enduring legacy that has well and truly earned him a reprieve, and as his final turn LOGAN could not be more fitting. It is also his best performance within the series, which packs an emotion punch as well as being a physically demanding one. He is incredible in the role, with a clear affinity for the character, and he delivers a fierce performance that commands every since scene from beginning to end.
His supporting cast is strong with Patrick Steward relishing the opportunity to push the envelope. He shares the same loyalty to the franchise that Jackman does and together they make LOGAN a credible and poignant epilogue. Newcomer Dafne Keen comes to the film with a strong presence and a physical tenacity that sees her slaughter bad guys with a ferociousness that equals Jackman's. Most of her screen time is silent and she is able to convey most of her performance through expression and demeanour. Other players include Stephen Merchant, Boyd Holbrook and Richard E Grant. They comprise a respectable ensemble that further strengthens the film's integrity.
With a 137-minute running time LOGAN stumbles towards the final act and what began as a fast-paced, fever-pitched action film soon dwindled into a sluggish and meandering drama. Fortunately the narrative reinvigorates itself before storming into an outstanding climax and we are treated to some of the most outstanding action and choreography put to screen for some time (at least in comic-book movie standards).
LOGAN will play well wherever it is seen, however I recommend catching it on the big screen. It is a spectacle that deserves that level of respect, and it is all the more glorious when seen with an audience. Hugh Jackman has served the series well and he has given audiences over 15-years of dedication to the character. A laudable effort if ever there was one.