James Mangold directs Hugh Jackman in one of the most Brutal, gut wrenching and bravely directed films to ever come from the Superhero genre.
Hugh Jackman returns for the final time, for a film that see’s him struggling to protect those around him from evil forces and an impending sense of mortality. It’s a story which takes the X=Man you know, and forces him to face up to a very human struggle and as a result of this the emotional weight that it carries is heavy, genuine and very tragic.
All of this is made even more painful because at the centre of it is Laura. Laura is a young girl who falls in to the care of Logan thanks to her extremely dedicated mother. She’s a vulnerable, damaged soul, who is aggressive and incredibly violent as a result of her past. She’s simultaneously an extremely emotive character and a stone cold badass. Dafne Keen deserves major respect for her creation of this character. It’s very rare that a movie leans successfully on an actor of her age, never mind an actor of her age who is given so little dialogue. More often than not Laura is saying nothing, mostly because she doesn’t need to.
This principle is applied to the films visual story telling as well. The film is shot beuatifully, with light being treated as necessity rather than used to excess. The movie’s cinematography is grounded in the old western classics. Light is always treated perfectly whether it’s harsh, soft or nonexistent it’s whatever is needed in that frame, nothing more, nothing less. The film is beautifully presented despite the content being so difficult to view.
But Dafne Keen is just one member of a truly stellar collection. something that gives serious weight to Logan’s distressing tone is the cast, their connection to these characters and their dedication to their roles. Patrick Stewart is utterly haunting in his final portrayal of Charles Xavier but Hugh Jackman steals the show, going above and beyond as Logan. His Physical dedication to the character is second to none. His raw on screen talent makes it impossible to avoid the pain of Logan’s later years and the path the story takes him down. Emotionally, mentally and physically Jackman goes to prove how perfect his casting was 18 years ago.
But of all the incredible parts of this movie the most important, by far, is it’s story. Logan is, at it’s core a very human story in a very inhumane world. Right from the beginning the film does an amazing job of establishing a time line for it’s world and the franchise that has came before it, giving an entire back story in smart, well placed moments of visual story telling or dialogue. Thus setting the stage for a seriously painful finale, whilst satisfying those who have been here from the beginning all at once.
It’s these perfect moments of tiny attention to detail that make Logan stay with you for a long time after you leave the screening. The story which is presented at face value can be a lot to take in all at once, especially with emotions running as high as they are, but the film manages to have an answer for all your questions, and a pay off for every build up. It’s a testament to James Mangold’s truly stunning craftsmanship that Logan manages to be so believable and powerful, despite it being such a different direction for a beloved Character. Calling this movie brave is one hell of an understatement.
As I was leaving the screen I was asked if I enjoyed Logan. No. You don’t enjoy Logan, you survive it, step away from it and reflect back on what you have watched. Logan is a dark, heavy, brutal, death march of a film crafted of beautiful visuals, violent sounds and an attention to detail rarely seen in this kind of movie. it’s fair to say that it transcends the super hero label in a number of ways. James Mangold deserves a huge amount of kudos for stepping out and taking this beloved franchise in such a bold brave direction and pulling it off with this much Flair, precession and emotional weight.
Logan Scored: 9.7/10