Logan is angry. Charles Xavier is unwell. A 12-year-old is being chased by violent psychopaths. It’s pretty clear from the get go that the third installment of the Wolverine franchise is not going to be a shiny, happy affair. This might be the best thing ever because in the exploration of this story, director James Mangold and screenwriters Scott Frank and Michael Green have created one of the most solid, well considered superhero movies in recent times.
When we meet Logan (Hugh Jackman), he is, as I mentioned earlier, angry. And struggling with demons – both physical and mental. Taking care of a bed-ridden Professor X (Patrick Stewart) is about all he thinks he can handle. Then comes the 12-year-old Laura (Dafne Keen)–a girl whose origins are unknown and she is thrust forcibly into his life. Close on her heels comes a motorcade of low-lives led by a rather articulate low-life named Pierce (Boyd Holbrook) who is hell bent on capturing Laura for reasons unknown.
Before we went in to watch this movie, E asked me if I thought the R-rating would make a palpable difference to the experience of the movie. I shrugged it off as being a minor detail. Boy, was I wrong. It makes all the difference. The expression of violence with the freedom that this rating brings allows for an unfiltered rage – in actions and words – that feels visceral. There is nothing polite about Logan’s anger, or Laura’s almost animal-like fighting in an effort to protect herself. There is no holding back and that makes the movie feel relentless.
Director James Mangold keeps the story moving without taking off on any tangents. This is a good thing. It keeps you locked in to the story and it never lets up. Jackman’s last turn as Wolverine is so memorable it’s hard to imagine another actor taking his place. Stewart is classic Stewart. Holbrook is excellent as the almost (I said almost) charming bad guy with his smart-ass comments and lazy drawl. British comedian Stephen Merchant is given a beautiful role as mutant-tracker Caliban and he does it full justice. The prize – if there was one – should go to Dafne Keen. She is balls-to-the-wall, fully committed and absolutely riveting. I don’t want to give plot points away so I won’t say more but she is definitely one to watch out for and I do hope we see more of her in the future.
If you’re a Wolverine fan, you cannot miss this one. If you’re a casual superhero movie watcher like me, it’s worth the effort to check this one out because it’s just a really good movie. Be warned though, it is not for the faint of heart, or the impatient. At 2 hours and 20 minutes, you’ve got to be ready for all that’s coming at you. You might need to watch some cat videos to recover afterwards, but it’s worth it. Go watch it. Logan is out now in theatres.