Logan (M18: violence and coarse language)
Starring Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Dafne Keen Directed by James Mangold
It is 2029 in Logan. A broken Logan (Hugh Jackman) bleary from booze and meds is scraping a living as a driver-for-hire on the Tex-Mex border while caring for an ailing Professor X (Patrick Stewart), whose once-brilliant mind is ravaged by seizures. The albino Caliban (Stephen Merchant) is a third mutant, keeping house with them in an abandoned smelting plant.
Logan’s attempts to hide from the world and his legacy end when he is charged with ferrying to safety an extraordinary young girl (Dafne Keen) possessing powers like his.
The reluctant hero’s one last battle, sacrificing himself for a future generation of mutants in a world where they are nearly extinct, marks Hugh Jackman’s final appearance as his longtime alter ego after nine X-Men films and three solo Wolverine installments in 17 years.
And so he comes full circle: It was Jackman’s Wolverine debut in the 2000 X-Men that launched the modern comic-book blockbuster, a genre co-writer cum director James Mangold, returning from 2013’s The Wolverine, now strips of fantasy super-heroics until the X-Men are back to being just comic books the girl reads as she goes on the run with Logan and Professor X in a bleak and gritty family road odyssey.
Mangold quotes often from the 1953 classic western Shane in mythologising Logan as a tragic outcast gunslinger, forced into violence despite himself to protect a community he can never belong to. Indeed the action is savage, what with Logan, his Wolverine berserker rage and adamantium claws unleashed, eviscerating the cybernetic army of Alkali Lake in pursuit.
But there is also genuine feeling in Logan’s father-son relationship with Professor X, and pathos in this coda on ageing and mortality. 4/5